The Christmas spirit now reigns at the island's busiest tourist district, with the lighting of a huge Christmas tree at the center of Paseo de Marianas in Garapan.
The celebration also saw the participation of over 350 students from private and public schools that competed in the 4th Annual Christmas Tree Decorating Contest.
Organized by the nonprofit organization PDM Promoters Inc., in collaboration with government agencies and the First Lady's Vision Foundation, the event aims to make the Paseo de Marianas and Garapan vicinity a family-oriented place that is safe and clean for tourists and the local community.
According to Misako Kamata, PDM director and chief operating officer, about 15 teams were supposed to participate in the tree decorating contest but only 14 groups showed up. Saipan Tribune learned that Saipan Seventh-Day Adventist did not make it to the competition last night.
A Christmas tree decorated by Saipan's man'amko served as a special entry for the event.
First lady Josie Fitial led the judges in last night's competition, along with Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Perry Tenorio, Women's Affairs Office's Remy Buniag, Division of Environmental Quality's Frank Rabauliman, Marianne Teregeyo of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Angelo Villagomez of Beautify CNMI!, James Nelson of Docomo Pacific, and Ruel Villacrusis of RNV Construction.
Winners of the competition will be known on Dec. 17 in time for the celebration of the annual Christmas in the Marianas Festival. Using recycled materials, each entry will judged based on creativity and originality.
The celebration was also highlighted by the “Let's Tie a Ribbon” ceremony and performances of the Saipan Awa-Odori Team.