The 11th Annual Tinian Pika Festival kicks off this Saturday in celebration of the island’s donni sali, a small but potent hot pepper that is indigenous to the islands.
Vida Borja of the Marianas Visitors Authority on Tinian said that festivities will officially start at 2pm.
Before that, the Tinian Turquoise Blue Triathlon and Reef Swim would take place in the morning at 7:30am, with Kammer Beach as the start and finish line.
The triathlon starts with a 1.5K, 3.0K, and 4.5K swim. A 40-kilometer bike race follows starting at Kammer Beach and a two-lap run from the Tinian Suicide Cliff to the airport intersection road and then down to Kammer Beach. Next is a 10-kilometer run to Suicide Cliff and back to Kammer Beach. The triathlon usually ends at 1pm.
The judging of the Tinian Pika Festival booths will take place starting at 1pm and festivities last from 2pm to 10am. The second day of the festival on Sunday, Feb. 15, will be from 11am to 11pm.
There will be plenty of entertainment and competitions after the opening ceremony on Saturday, including a beach volleyball tournament, an umang (coconut crab) race for boys and girls, a hot pepper eating contest for women, a demonstration by Junior Reserve Officers Corps cadets, and the awarding of certificates to the triathlon winners.
Performers include Tinian Elementary School students, Danny Laniyo band, St. Joseph School students, Jianna Cruz, Tom Hoshi’s group, Taotao Taga Dance Academy, Kuradang kids dance group, David Diaz, Melia Kiilani Dance Group, HD Crew dance, and Joshua Castro.
The following day, Sunday, will feature the championship round for beach volleyball, the Estofao Pika cooking contest, a dragon boat race, a sack race, tug of war for adults and kids, hot pepper eating contest for men, and a chacha dance contest.
Entertainment will be provided by Heavenly Kids, Erich Manalo and Chad Acollador, YMB Dance, Nikita and Anthony, HD Crew Dance, Shake It Up, Melia Kiilani, Mary J. Manuel, Taotao Taga Dance Academy, Amanda Jumao-as and brother, Dynamic Youth Group, BD Boys, and Kuradan Dance Troupe.
The annual festival is sponsored by the MVA, the Tinian Mayor’s Office, Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, and other MVA members.
Visitors can go down to Tinian via Star Marianas and the ferry Super Emerald. Hotels on Tinian include the Tinian Dynasty, Fleming Hotel, Lorilynn’s Hotel, Tinian Street Motel, and the Greenfield Lion House.