SIMPSON BAY – A colorful and unexpected Carnival troupe chipped and danced its way through Simpson Bay Resort on Tuesday, April 19, led by the energetic rhythms of drum band Generation New Status.
The participants, guests at the resort, have been coming to the island for 10 to 30 years, and had never taken part in a Carnival Parade. All reveled in the experience.
Janice Young, who also celebrated her 74th birthday on Tuesday, was dubbed “Ms. Simpson Bay” as the parade’s queen. Young broke her hip last year and suffers from a back condition, but said she would not let any health issues stop her from actively enjoying her vacation. With the use of a walker, she kept up with the other revelers and said that she really enjoyed it. Young considers St. Maarten her “home away from home” and has been visiting with her husband Ronald since 1989.
Guests were invited to take part, and more than expected signed up, according to organizers. Even more watched from their balconies or actively trailed behind the dozen or so donning full costumes. The costumes were authentic, used in the Grand Parades of previous years. The jumble of using what was available to suit the participants meant that no two costumes were remotely the same.
Aside from viewing local parades before, participants said they did not fully know what to expect. They were matched with costumes on the same day, had face paint done by staff, and happily followed their lead from that point on.
Geared up, hotel staff set the mood and showed all the need-to-know dance moves, led off by Funtopia stilt-walkers.
The shorter stint accommodated guests of all ages and was followed by happy hour at the poolside, hosted by Activities and Events Supervisor Raynaida Fleming. There, the celebration continued with Soca hits, more dancing, and performances by Funtopia living statues and Fire Artiste Elle Smit.
Urmain “Youmay” Dormoy and Generation New Status also took center stage again with a powerful display, which showcased the youth giving more individual pieces.
Fleming, a proud carnival lover with roots on both sides of the island, said that this was a way to bring Jouvert morning to the guests. Organizers were pleased with the turnout, calling it “fantastic.”
Hotel Directors commented that their guests thoroughly enjoyed experiencing Caribbean culture. This is the first time that Simpson Bay Resort organized such an event, but based on the turnout and feedback, it will not be the last, they said.
A second parade is also planned for next Tuesday, April 25, and is set to be even bigger, as groups from Aruba and Curaçao that normally visit St. Maarten for Carnival Season, will also be joining.