This year’s Taste of the Marianas coincides with the first ever Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 and, along with welcoming local community members, the annual event also opened its arms to athletes, officials, and families from the 20 visiting countries and territories.
The ribbon-cutting to officially open the 23rd Taste of the Marianas last Saturday afternoon was joined by a Papua New Guinea and Tahiti delegate, along with Rep. Joseph Lee Pan T. Guerrero, acting CNMI governor Jude Hofschneider, Marianas Visitors Authority chair Viola Alepuyo, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, Rep. Joseph Flores (Ind-Saipan), and MVA executive director Priscilla M. Iakopo.
This year’s event is bigger, with a total of 29 food vendors, four beverage vendors, arts and crafts, and nonprofit groups.
Alepuyo gave a warm welcome to all off-island visitors, “especially to our Pacific Island brothers and sisters who are here for the Pacific Mini Games.”
She described the Taste as an event created to give CNMI visitors an authentic and memorable island experience. “Taste brings together the best of both worlds, tourism and our community. We are so grateful to be able to host Taste again this year, as the world continues to recover from COVID.”
In his remarks, Hofschneider finds it amazing that, after two years when the CNMI was faced with the biggest challenges it has ever had in the last decade—Super Typhoon Yutu and COVID-19—“there’s two celebrations happening here on Saipan [right now]…and none of this would be possible without that togetherness and our partnership with all the agencies, the sponsors and the people so that we can have these events.”
Iakopo said the CNMI has already come a long way as a destination. “Last year, we had only 11 international flights. And this year…we have had over 16 international flights. …We are on our way to recovery. …We are pleased to welcome our visitors from around the world, most especially those who came for the Pacific Mini Games.”
Along with the food, drinks, and arts and crafts from the different vendors, there are 30 groups lined up to perform at the festival.
Additionally, with the “Kadun Pika Cooking Contest” on the first night and the “Eskabeche Cooking Contest” last night, there will be a food demonstration at 6pm and a “Sukiyaki Eating Contest” at 8pm on Saturday, June 25.
The Marianas Jr. Chef Challenge will be held on the last day, Sunday, June 26.
There is also a contest for the best decorated booth.