Rota gearing up for coconut Festival on Sept. 11-16

Rota, renowned among the islands of the Marianas for its untouched beauty and warm hospitality, is gearing up to welcome visitors for the weeklong Coconut Festival on Sept. 11-16, 2017.

Festivities for the weeklong celebration kick off with a proclamation signing on Sept. 11 at 9am by Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig at the Office of the Mayor.

Residents and visitors will have the opportunity to contribute to the beauty of the island by planting coconut seedlings on Sept. 12, true to the festival theme, I Niyok Para Hagu Yan Guahu (Coconut for You and Me).

On Sept. 13, government workers and others will show their festival spirit with attire or accessories made from various parts of the coconut tree.

The best Chamorro huts will be judged on Sept. 14 at Joaquin Ogo “Tun Kindo” Baseball Field in Songsong Village, where the first evening of the night market from 6pm to 10pm will feature various food vendors and live entertainment.

The night market will continue on Friday and Saturday evenings at the same time.

“Coconut Festival is a great event to promote and share with our people of the benefits and importance of the coconut, as well as the need to continue to protect it,” said Atalig. “We want to invite visitors and friends from our neighboring islands to witness and join us in our efforts to help in preserving our cultural heritage and resources.”

Sept. 15 will bring a full-day focus on the various uses and benefits of the coconut tree beginning at 9am, including its history, a display of various sizes and colors of coconut, a detailed description of tree parts, threats to the species, models of huts constructed with coconut, value-added products, a display of clothing and accessories, medicinal uses, and samples of carvings and weavings.

Special highlights will include coconut oil production, coconut frond weaving, coconut husking and grating, ayuyu (coconut crab) hunting display, furniture-making, and manha (young coconut meat) titiyas, coconut candy, and coconut juice sampling,

The final day of the Coconut Festival on Sept. 16 will open with a fashion show, followed by open competitions in coconut husking and grinding. Festival-goers will have a chance to cheer for their favorite entry in the Ayuyu Race. Saturday will also tantalize the taste buds with cooking competitions for the following dishes: manha titiyas, manha pie, apigigi (roasted young coconut), doughnuts, coconut candy, ahu (sweet, young coconut soup), miso ayuyu, soup, and other dishes.

“We’re pleased to again be partnering with the Rota Mayor’s Office for another great event highlighting the best of Rota, its natural beauty, and friendly community,” said Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Christopher A. Concepcion.

The weekend event is organized by the Rota Mayor’s Office with support from Rota Municipal Council, Rota Legislative Delegation, MVA, Department of Lands and Natural Resources, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Department of Public Works, Rota Municipal Council, Department of Public Safety, and Department of Fire & Emergency Medical Services.

For more information, contact special assistant for programs and grants Aubry Hocog of the Rota Mayor’s Office at 532-9451 or aubryhocog@gmail.com or Sandra Atalig of the MVA at 532-0327 or satalig@mymarianas.com. (MVA)

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