PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (April 2, 2013) - The idyllic, Dutch-influenced nation of St. Maarten is gearing up for its 44th Annual Carnival, which will take place April 18 - May 2, 2013.
Themed "Come, experience life!" the 2013 carnival is the island's largest celebration featuring colorful parades, pageants, musical performances and other activities culminating with the traditional "Burning of King Momo." St. Maarten's Carnival stands out among other regional celebrations due to the length of the carnival celebration and the way locals embrace participating vacationers who get swept away in the revelry.
The April Carnival Season is one of the most exciting times to be in the Caribbean as residents and visitors to St. Maarten can invoke their Carnival spirit long before the two-week festival officially begins with events and competitions held as early as April 17 including the Jr. Queen Show, Junior Road March & Calypso, Fete to Fitness Around Town Jump-Up, Teen & Senior Queen Cultural & Speech Competition, Rio Productions "Lightin' Up De Road" Parade and the Survivors Elementary School "Balloon Parade."
The official celebration begins on April 18 with the Opening of Carnival Village with festivities in high-gear until the Grand Carnival Parade on April 30 - one of the most exciting events of the season. But things will not slow down on May 1 as revelry carries over into the Second Day Parade, where participants will don vibrant costumes that depict local heritage as they move their feet to the rhythms of cultural songs. The Carnival Season culminates with the Closing Jump-Up and Burning of King Momo on May 2. It is said that the Burning of King Momo rids the island of its sins leaving it fresh and revived until next year's Carnival celebrations.
Musical performances for Carnival in St. Maarten include: Night of The Hit Makers - Friday, April 19 with Burning Flames & Onyan (performing in St. Maarten for the first time), Le Groove (2013 Aruba Soca Monarch), Oswald (St. Maarten's Prince of Zouk), Gio Fuertisimo (Curacao Ritmo Kombina & 2013 Tumba King), and Control Band (renowned as St. Maarten's #1 Party Band); Latin Night - Friday, April 26 with Daddy Yankee; RiddimBox Presents - Saturday, April 27 with performances by Busta Rhymes, Terri Lyons, Nadia Batsom, Tallpree, Lady Saw, and RDX;and Reggae Explosion 3 - Monday, April 29 featuring Miguel, Damian Marley and Busy Signal.
The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau is encouraging travelers planning a visit to St. Maarten coinciding with Carnival 2013 to book flights and accommodations early as rooms are expected to sell out, especially in the Philipsburg capital where the Carnival Village will be located.
"We look forward to welcoming visitors not just to the beautiful shores of St. Maarten but to participate in St. Maarten's Carnival, our largest cultural event and what is essentially the North Eastern Caribbean's longest food and musical festival," said Edward Dest, interim director of tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.
St. Maarten is the only place in the world that has two Carnivals - the first in February on the French side of the island (St. Martin) which could be seen as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the bigger celebration that takes place in April on the Dutch side of the island.
St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. As "the culinary capital of the Caribbean," St. Maarten offers an eclectic array of cuisine fusion for food lovers with more than 365 restaurants, one for each day of the year to satisfy the tastes of every palate and pocketbook.
Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island's 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions. During the day, watersport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island's scuba diving and snorkeling facilities. The capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with a bustling city atmosphere, while 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs provide endless entertainment.
Accommodations are varied and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.
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