Some 40 participants sign up for Boardwalk Mas

In terms of sheer numbers, the 6th Annual Boardwalk Mas is shaping up to be the biggest and best ever, with about 40 registered groups and individual artists.

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Some of the performers, like reigning Miss Caraibes Hibiscus, Yolly Hawley, would be taking part for the first time. Miss Hibiscus will be leading a royal court of the District queen, also making her debut, and a number of former Carnival senior and junior queens in the parade which starts at 5 PM, Saturday, May 15 – from the Passanggrahan Royal Guest House right up to the Sea Palace Hotel and back to the Square.

Also making their first appearance at this year’s Boardwalk Mas are the Gunslingers from Grand Case, the island’s oldest steelband, as well as El Baby y Laila, traditional bachateros, accompanied by Leroy Vlaun.

Other first-timers include Penny-Farthing cyclist and Dexter the Clown, as well as Lucinda Audain, the face mask painter. The Generation New Status Drum Band will return for the second year, eager to prove that the drum band tradition is alive and well.

There will be moko jumbies from Anguilla as well as St. Kitts-Nevis, and many of the now "seasoned" participants will be returning to delight spectators up and down the Great Bay Beach Promenade (the Boardwalk) and on stage at the Square in front of the Court House.

"The list of participants is very varied, catering primarily to the family," noted Regina LaBega, Director of Tourism, whose department, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau conceived the Boardwalk Mas as a heritage event originating from the Tourism Master Plan (TourMap).

From steel pan to string band, from traditional songs to rap, and from folkloric dance to modern, avant-garde presentations, the Boardwalk Mas brings them all together under one festive banner, exalting and showcasing the very best in our culture.

"The idea from the very start was to create a St. Martin experience that everyone would be able to enjoy together and that would continue to enhance the creativity of our people," LaBega further explained.

"That is how you can have the young Shabba Djembe drummers alongside the more mature An-la-ri-la or the young dancers of Grain d’Or performing with the elegant ladies of Nature Valley Foundation," said Urmain Dormoy, parade manager. "This is truly a St. Martin celebration that brings us together from North and South, young and not-so-young."

Cable TV Channel 15 will air highlights of previous editions of the Boardwalk Mas on Wednesday, May 12 at 10:30 PM, and on Friday, May 14 at 6:30 PM. The highlights of past Boardwalk Mas can also be viewed on Youtube at the following links:

The Boardwalk Mas is coordinated on behalf of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, by Offshore Editing Services, a division of House of Nehesi Publishers Foundation. The parade manager Urmain Dormoy can be contacted at 542-2337, for groups and individual artists wishing to participate in the parade or concert of the Boardwalk Mas.