Section Costumes--the Glamorous Showstoppers of the Parades
Magic Mango Carnival Spotlight Section Costumes--the Glamorous Showstoppers of the Parades

Aruba’s Carnival 70 Grand Parades in San Nicolas and Oranjestad are expected to be some of the most colorful and spectacular the island has seen.  Some ten Carnival groups are participating, each with a chosen theme that is represented broadly with their massa section, and more intricately within their featured floor-piece sections. And while the massa section—the largest section numbering hundreds of participants—is the foundation of the group, the featured sections—usually with a dozen to two dozen participants—are the icing and cherry on top!

Planning and designing these detailed showpiece costumes begins up to a year in advance. Once the group organizers have selected a theme for the next Carnival, they leave it to the section designers to create their own collection of interpretive costumes. Section designers work from a collection of sketches that show the scope and detail of the costumes.

Showpieces/floor pieces generally consist of a costume, shoulder piece, and headpiece.  Experienced designers know what stones, gems, crystals, beads, and feathers are easily sourced on the island and which items need to be ordered in advance from places like New York City and Brazil.  While a massa costume is mostly mass-produced, section pieces are customized to each participant.  Head pieces are molded or constructed to fit each participant’s head, while shoulder pieces are often constructed by local welders to comfortably fit each participant’s individual body shape.  A well-thought and -constructed shoulder piece is key, as these participants will be carrying them on their shoulders and back while dancing for hours for both parades.

Magic Mango is Aruba’s craft beer, brewed locally at Balashi Brewery.  Magic’s sister beer, Chill, is a proud sponsor of Champagne Carnival Group, hitting the road for Carnival 70 with “Hidden Gems,” a theme that is sure to dazzle parade-goers with numerous glittery sections.  Chill is also keeping Empire Carnival Group refreshed with the island’s favorite festival beer as they celebrate the sun’s magical golden hour, also known as “Tardezinha,” which will be creatively expressed in a variety of sections.  Pictured here is costume designer Raomar Gomes, hard at work on his section pieces for Empire—be sure to look for him and his section on the road!

Cheers to Aruba’s Carnival 70—let’s all stay safe and drink responsibly, and don’t forget to collect your trash and recycle all your Magic Mango, Balashi, and Chill bottles for cash back.