PHILIPSBURG--Searching to instilling a sense of tradition, pride and unity in the community, the organising committee has decided to host the 2015 St. Maarten Day celebrations under the theme “Though culturally diverse, St. Maarten’s unity comes first.”
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs Rita Bourne-Gumbs said during Tuesday’s press conference that the November 11 celebrations will have a traditional and cultural character.
This year’s celebrations will start as early as Sunday, November 8, with the 10th annual Harbour to Pier Swim Meet, to be organised by L.A.B. Sports Academy. A classical steel pan concert will be hosted by Dow Musical Foundation on the eve of St. Maarten Day, on Tuesday, November 10.
St. Maarten Day itself will be a full-packed day of events for all ages from 8:00am to 9:00pm, starting with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony, followed by the official church service hosted at Philipsburg Methodist Church at 9:00am.
After the service, uniformed troupes will be parading through Front Street. Dignitaries from St. Maarten/St. Martin will be delivering speeches in front of the Courthouse at Cyrus Wathey Square from 11:15am.
A fancy fair with lots of entertainment will be held at Clem Labega Square. Artists, crafters and local vendors will be selling their products. Cultural food and drinks will also go on sale, as well as St. Maarten clothing and merchandise. Registration forms for vendors are available at Artemia event planners in the Fouress Building on Emmaplein.
Source: the daily herald
Simultaneously with the fancy fair, traditional games and sports for the entire family will be played on Boardwalk Boulevard.
A cultural parade with more than 30 groups will be starting from the Vineyard Building on Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard at 3:00pm. Dressed in folkloric St. Maarten wear, the parade will lead participants to the Festival Village.
Salt pickers, coal workers, market vendors, cultivators and other members of the traditional St. Maarten labour force will be taking part in the parade. “It will be a fantastic display,” said committee member and director of Philipsburg Cultural and Community Centre Urmain Dormoy. A traditional kite-making contest will be held along the Ring Road.
Head of the Culture Department Neville York explained that the St. Maarten Day celebrations are financed from the budget for national festivities, which also includes Emancipation Day, Constitution Day and Thanksgiving Day. Most of the budget is, however, dedicated to St. Maarten Day as the biggest event, York said.
Even though NAf. 250,000 has been allocated to the event, Minister Bourne-Gumbs stressed this would not mean that every guilder would be spent. “We are carefully looking at all areas where we can cut cost,” the Minister said.
The St. Maarten Day festivities will be closed off at Festival Village. The Village will be open from 9:00am until 9:00pm, with local entertainment provided. Vendors interested in opening a booth on St. Maarten Day are invited to register at the Festival Village during office hours until Friday, October 30.
In closing, the Minister urged residents to “purchase St. Maarten flags…and come out to enjoy what the Ministry and the committee have put together for your benefit and appreciation.” The official and full St. Maarten Day programme will be launched by the end of this week.