Organizers of the annual “Christmas in the Marianas” celebration will kick off an expanded month of holiday cheer this Saturday, Dec. 7, with the 8th Annual Christmas Tree Decorating Contest.
Organizers have announced a final schedule of events, which includes evening entertainment at Paseo de Marianas pedestrian mall every Saturday and numerous other days throughout December.
“This year’s 12th Annual Christmas in the Marianas could possibly turn out to be the biggest and best, thanks to the wide support of many sponsors and supporters in the private sector,” said Marianas Visitors Authority community projects manager Martin Duenas. “We invite everyone to come down and enjoy the holiday festivities on our expanded celebration dates this year.”
Entertainment, games, and food sales will run from 5:30pm to 9pm each night.
The annual school-wide Christmas Tree Decoration Contest kicks offs on Saturday with Saipan Awaodori at 5:30pm, the Christmas Tree Light-up Countdown at 6:05pm, and other entertainment from 7pm to 9pm. Beginning Saturday, revelers will also be able to tie ribbons representing their holiday wishes on the main Christmas tree.
Fourteen schools are competing in this year’s contest, which requires them to use recyclable material for ornaments and other decorations. Participating schools are San Antonio Elementary, Green Meadow, Kagman Elementary, Tanapag Elementary, Golden Harvest International, William S. Reyes Elementary, Oleai Elementary, Dandan Elementary, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary, Agape Christian, San Vicente Elementary, Mt. Carmel, and Koblerville Elementary Schools and Grace Christian Academy. They are joined by special participants Commonwealth Cancer Association and Girl Scouts of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The “Christmas in the Marianas” celebration will continue every Saturday in December, offering weekly holiday entertainment. On Dec. 14, students will sing their hearts out at the annual Christmas Caroling Competition on-stage at Paseo de Marianas. On Dec. 21, the Parade of Floats will be held around sunset from the Carolinian Affairs Office in Garapan along Beach Road to Paseo de Marianas. Also on Dec. 21, Marianas Walking Association will host the 5K Christmas Health Walk.
Festivities for the month continue with the annual Mochitsuki Festival on Dec. 28, organized in collaboration with the Japanese Society. The festival marks the season preparation of mochi—a dough-like substance of glutinous rice—for the Japanese New Year.
In addition to the Saturday events, entertainment will be provided nightly on Dec. 22, 27, 29, and 30.
“Christmas in the Marianas” is also sponsored by PDM Promoters, Inc., Team PDI, Tan Siu Lin Foundation, Docomo Pacific, DFS Galleria, and Kinpachi Restaurant. Event sponsors are Office of the Governor, DCCA-Commonwealth Council for Arts & Culture, Division of Environmental Quality, departments of Public Safety, Public Works, and Lands and Natural Resources; Division of Parks and Recreation, Koblerville Youth Learning Center, CNMI Public School System, MINA, Japan Saipan Travel Association, KKMP, Power 99, KZMI, KCNM, Magic 100, Chamolinian Cultural Village Inc., IT&E, RNV Construction, Country House Restaurant, Moby Dick Restaurant, S.P.E. Saipan, Inc., Hafadai Production, Misa Enterprises, and Kinpachi Convenience.
Food and drink vendors are Java Joe’s, Okadaya, Hula Girl, Lyn’s BBQ, Country House Restaurant, Furusato Restaurant, Kinpachi Restaurant, and various schools conducting fundraisers. (MVA)