Young float builders Stiekelstad: ‘We must ensure that carnival continues to exist’

A group of young float builders from Barger-Compascuum, also known as ‘Stiekelstad’ during carnival time, are putting the finishing touches to their carnival float. They have been working hard on it in recent months, in a large shed on the property of a helpful farmer. Tomorrow the car can be admired during the parade in the village.

“We are the youngest group,” says Iwan Bos (21), who acts as a kind of chairman. “We actually have to ensure that carnival continues to exist. If we say: ‘we are not going to build’, why would the youth among us still do it?”

The group of friends consists of 25 people. The boys know each other from football, the girls are supporters. “Those girls are very important to the details,” says Iwan. “They have a slightly finer hand than the boys, who are a bit clumsier. So we can use them well.” They call themselves ‘the Stuckists’. “Every time we do something, we get stuck. So that’s how we came up with our name.”

It is the second time in a row that the group has participated in the parade. The theme they stick to is somewhat ambiguous, according to Iwan. “We have all made Disney characters. The ghost from Aladin, Ariel, Mickey Mouse. But Disney is not a carnival. That is why our theme is: Disney carnival.”

The boys and the girls all grew up with carnival. “We used to help our parents, and since last year we started building ourselves,” says Zoe Bernsen. “That’s really great.”

Carnival is primarily fun and convivial, but also evokes a sense of solidarity. “It brings the group of friends a little closer together,” says Iwan. “In a shack you just sit there and talk stupidly, but while building you sometimes say something decent.”

The party starts on Friday, but the parade in the village is on Saturday. The cart must be ready at 12 noon. “The alarm goes off at eight o’clock, then we have to set up the cart,” says Iwan. “That is often a bit less. But when you get to the cart, the deep fryer turns on again. Then you don’t really have time for a hangover.”