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16 February 2005, 09:20 am
Birthday Celebrations Gearing Up For Shoreside Action
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St Maarten Heineken Regatta 2005
St Maarten

Twenty fifth birthday celebrations for the St Maarten Heineken regatta will not just be confined to some of the best sailing in the Caribbean, but the shore programme promises something for every taste too.
For the energetic - if there is any energy left after a full day's racing on those blue waters - Budget Marine and Harken join forces with the regatta organizers to present a grinding competition each evening. With the usual big boat winch gorillas and America's Cup experts on hand, the pace should be hot and hard. Daily prizes will up for grabs for the strongest and the fastest.

On Friday 4 March a Caribbean Carnival Parade will open the festivities in style on the Boardwalk in Philipsburg. Brenda WATHEY's famous troop will liven up the audience for what is bound to be an evening full of surprises, music and fun. Eight bands share four stages along the Boardwalk and entertain everyone, locals, holidaymakers and regatta competitors alike, with music varying from Jazz, to Soca, to Rock.

Saturday's traditional party, favoured by locals and participants alike, will as usual take over the Waterfront in Marigot on the French side of this polyglot island. Here to bring some typical St.Maarten culture to the Regatta celebrations will be the dancers of En la Ri la, performing the Ponum dance, a traditional slavery dance. To ensure that the dance vibe continues, the rest of the night will be filled with the driving beat of some great Caribbean music from perennial favourites Youth Waves and the Mussington Brothers. Local street vendors selling food and drinks, the Waterfront's many restaurants and bars; all ensure a party night to remember - but don't forget there's racing in the morning.

On Sunday the regatta day on shore starts off with a Youth Sailing Demonstration by the young sailors of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club at 1430 hours right off Kim Sha Beach. Sharp at 1800, Jukebox Heroes start the evening by conducting the crowds to the Prize Giving ceremony where the regatta prize winners will be called to the stage to receive their awards. The winner of the Most Worthy Performance this year, a prize that combines all round performance with the severity of the class racing to select a winner, will get an oil painting from famous local artist Antoine Chapon as well as the usual trophy. Scores of prizes for the full range of classes will as always be handed out by MC Robbie FERRON - THE MAN where the Heineken regatta is concerned.

Bringing the birthday party to a close - unless, of course, you still have the stamina to keep partying on till dawn, and why not? - will be Reggae legend Jimmy CLIFF.

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