SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten - A series of colorful carnival themed mini-parades and poolside fêtes is once again being hosted by Simpson Bay Resort & Marina. Following glowing reviews of last year’s pioneering event which gave many long-time visitors their first carnival experience, this year’s ‘Royal Jump Up’ schedule will see double the number of parades and the resort is extending a welcome to the general public.
The reveling kicked off on Wednesday, with resort guests and staff chipping and dancing through the nearby inner streets, following the lead of St. Maarten’s own Generation New Status drum band and Dazzling Divas dancers.
Participants donned both genuine carnival costumes from previous Grand Parades, as well as the new option given this year: bright custom made shirts, some of which were ‘bedazzled’ and decoratively cut in workshops.
The same clothing options – costumes for rent or shirts for sale – will be available to future participants joining the remaining scheduled mini-parades from 6:00pm and happy hour extending to 8:00pm on resort grounds on April 19 and 26, and May 3.
Participants are asked to otherwise wear their own brightly colored/ neon clothes and accessories, or costumes. Residents can also join the shirt decorating workshops at the resort.
Wednesday’s group started out on the smaller side and gradually grew as resort guests joined in, with some guests also spectating from their balconies. At the poolside, the regularly scheduled happy hour was transformed by dancing, local and regional Soca numbers, and further performances by Urmain "Youmay" Dormoy and the youth of Generation New Status drum band.
The group size is expected to grow as more visitors come to the island for carnival, especially regular visitors from Aruba and Curaçao that join the Grand Parade. Festivities will culminate with a grand finale on May 3.
The Royal Jump Up is a fresh take on improving the visitor experience, showcasing local culture and talent, and making these more accessible to visitors of all ages in an interactive and fun way.