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Country St. Maarten Fettin' For Carnival 2011 April 25 - May 3, 2011

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PRESS RELEASE #172


PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (March 30, 2011) - The island of St. Maarten will host its largest cultural event, the 42nd Annual Carnival, from April 25 - May 3, 2011. The 10-day celebration shares the island's culture through parades, pageants, musical performances, and other activities designed to generate excitement among locals and visitors alike.

This year's slogan, "Country St. Maarten Fettin' for Carnival 2011," represents the island's significant history and 42-year dedication to "Carnival fete."

"We find so much joy in our unique region and its heritage," said Regina LaBega, Director of Tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. "'Fete' is the perfect way to describe this year's carnival as it represents our island's devotion to the past 42 years of celebrating its rich and colorful culture," 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 February on the French side of the island which could be seen a as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the big celebration that takes place in April on the Dutch side of the island.

The 10-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 visitors to St. Maarten can enjoy the carnival before it officially begins as other events and competitions are held in March such as the first Unity Jump-Up from the French to Dutch side on March 19, the Junior Road March Calypso Show and Junior Carnival Queen Pageant on March 27, and the Senior Road March Competition and Band-O-Rama on April 2.

The official celebration begins on April 25 with the opening of the Carnival Village followed by the Jump-Up, also known as the Unity Jump Up, which showcases the harmony between the French and Dutch side of the island with everyone joining in and dancing behind the bands playing traditional calypso songs. The celebration continues with the Senior Queen Pageant on April 26 where all the districts of St. Maarten are represented followed by the Youth Extravaganza where the youth of St. Maarten showcase their talents. The Road March Calypso Finals will be held on April 28.

Festival Center is transformed into a platform for "calypsonians" to compete for the title of King and Queen followed by the Jouvert Jump on April 29. In addition, there are also cultural performances by local artists and several international concerts including Reggae Night on April 27 and Latin Night on April 29.

Carnival culminates with the Grand Carnival Parade on April 30 and the Second Day Parade on May 1 where the festival comes to life with cultural songs and dances as well as revelers in vibrant costumes that depict local heritage. The One Love Soca Xplosion Concert on May 2 will take place the night before the burning of King Momo, which symbolizes the official 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.

A Carnival season pass can be purchased for $105 per person which provides access to every show in Carnival Village from April 25 to May 3. Passes can be purchased every Saturday at the St. Maarten Festival Village from 10 am - 2 pm.

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

St. Maarten

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.

Find St. Maarten on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VacationStMaarten and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StMaartenTravel. For more information, visit www.VacationStMaarten.com.

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