Despite rain showers over the weekend, the 34th Annual Flame Tree Arts Festival picked up where it left of. Over 25 artists and entertainers graced the festival’s stage during the four-night, two-day event. About 50 vendors participated, selling art and food.
Hundreds visited the festival over the weekend. As the festival closed late Sunday night, a sizeable crowd was still gathered around the stage area.
Festival committee chair Parker Yobei called the festival “successful.”
“I’m glad we had a good turnout even if the weather wasn’t cooperating. I’m glad to see the community come out and enjoy themselves,” he said in an interview around 10:30pm Sunday.
“The whole event itself was a highlight,” he added. “All the artists came up with new designs. It’s a pleasure for me to help [Commonwealth Council of Arts and Culture] executive director Angel Hocog with the festival.”
Hocog, Yobei, and other council members said it was great to learn about each other’s culture, noting how the community seemed to enjoy it too.
Hocog, Yobei, and other CCAC staff facilitated the event that saw major sponsors Delta Air Lines, Best Sunshine, Marianas Visitors Authority, Bridge Capital, Bank of Guam, IT&E, and Coca-Cola contribute.
Refaluwasch and Chamorro performances closed the festival’s last night.
Simiyan Manainata performers gave the crowd something “eternal” with their dance, drawing from “pre-contact” and “before Western civilization,” said Simiyan Manainata’s LJ Castro.
“Flowers bloom, flowers wilt… but culture is eternal,” Castro said.
Carolinian dancers from Tanapag and then dancers from the south of the island performed near 11pm to a cheering crowd of family and friends and other community members.
Throughout the weekend, the festival featured entertainment from Out of the Ordinary Band, Flame Tree Angel, Flores Sinser, Blue Dream BAND, Baby PJ, Rising Tide, Rhythm and Harmony, Blue Drling, Saipan Manta Ray Band, Poksai Guma Chamorro, Hopwood Junior High School, CAB Dancers, Uncle Ben’s Music and Dance, Blue Dragon, Anna Glushko’s Academy, Te Kanehau Nui, Saipan Music and Dance School, Sumiya Manainata, Luis Laforte, JJ Concepcion and the TRU Marianas, Pua Hinano, Awaodori CNMI Team, Alana Ia, Blue Dream Band, Pacific Flower, Refaluwasch Warriors, Big J Selepeo, and Parker