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St. Maarten Features 18 Days Of Culture, Celebrations 41ST Annual Carnival April 15 - May 2, 2010

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PRESS RELEASE #132


PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (March 17, 2010) - St. Maarten (http://www.VacationStMaarten.com) will offer added excitement for locals and visitors during its 41st Annual Carnival with 18 days and nights filled with culture, celebration, concerts and activities from April 15 - May 2, 2010. This year's theme, "Sweet Revelry Again for Carnival 2010," showcases the island's vibrant spirit.

"Carnival is a special celebration to our island," said Regina LaBega, Director of Tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. "It is a time where we celebrate our heritage and we encourage everyone to join in the festivities" she added.

Carnival is a tradition on the island of St. Maarten and the only place in the world that has two Carnivals, the first in the north in February acting as a dress rehearsal for the big celebration that takes place in the south during April.

The 18-day festival features events such as beauty pageants, concerts by local and international artists, parades, and the burning of King Momo which culminates the celebration. Residents and tourists to St. Maarten can feel the beginnings of Carnival as early as late December when many of the musical artists release songs that will be heard during Carnival - all which depict local Caribbean culture.

The celebration begins in St. Maarten Festival Center with the annual opening Jump-Up, also known as the Unity Jump Up, that showcases the harmony between the French and Dutch side of the island with everyone joining in and dancing behind the bands playing the most recent calypsonian songs. The celebration continues with the Senior Queen Show (district queen pageant) where all the districts of St. Maarten are represented. The Youth Extravaganza begins on April 23 where the children of St. Maarten showcase their talents followed by the Junior Parade on April 25 where the children celebrate by marching through the streets of Philipsburg, showing off their colorful costumes.

The 18-day event transforms Festival Center into a competition platform for "calypsonians" to compete for the title of King and Queen followed by the Jouvert Jump on April 28 which starts at 4 am where thousands of people go to the Jump Up around the pond. There are also cultural performances by local artists and seven international concerts, Reggae Night on April 28, will feature performances by Beenie Man, Jah Cure and Busy Signal, and Latin Night on May 1, includes Luis Miguel and Bachata & Miguelito, followed by the Junior Queen Show and road marches.

Carnival culminates with the Grand Carnival Parade on April 29 and Second Day Parade April 30 where the festival truly comes to life with cultural songs and dances as well as revelers in vibrant costumes that depict local heritage. The burning of King Momo symbolizes the end of Carnival. It is said that the burning of King Momo rids the island of its sins leaving it fresh and revived for the New Year.

For more information on Carnival and St. Maarten, visit http://www.VacationStMaarten.com.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten is truly a unique island in several ways. It is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. St. Maarten is also the culinary capital of the Caribbean with an eclectic array of elegantly-perfected culinary fusion to keep "food lovers" returning each year. And with more than 300 restaurants, the island has tastes to satisfy every palate and pocketbook.

Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island's 36 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions including the vastly abundant treasure of rare animal and plant species at the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical

Garden. The historically-pivotal Fort Amsterdam, the St. Maarten Museum, and the picturesque and symbolic Mount Concordia, where the Treaty of Concordia was signed to promote the island's peaceful coexistence to forged the island's uniqueness with two cultures on one island for more 350 years ago.

The Dutch capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with bustling city atmosphere in the heart of the Caribbean, while nightlife activities provide endless entertainment with 14 casinos, numerous nightclubs with various entertainment opportunities. During the day water sport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island's scuba diving and snorkeling facilities which are located throughout the island. The island boasts a wide array of marine biodiversity and unique underwater dive sites that include the H.M.S. Proselyte, a notable British frigate which sank in St. Maarten's waters since 1801.

Accommodations are varied with many facilities designed to exceed their most discerning travelers' expectations including elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous of U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

Find St. Maarten on Facebook by searching "Vacation St. Maarten" and follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StMaartenTravel. For more information, visit www.VacationStMaarten.com.

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