Tents, tables, and family picnics became a common sight along Beach Road, Garapan over the weekend, as a number of families on Saipan temporarily left their homes and camped out by the beach in preparation for the 2005 Liberation Parade today.
Some families slept on tables under pavilions as early as Friday to reserve the space of their choice in watching the parade, which usually attracts hundreds of spectators—residents and tourists alike.
Forty-nine-year-old Ric Cabrera of As Terlaje put up sleeping tents Saturday night, together with his family and those of his in-laws.
“It’s been so long since we camped out. It’s close to the beach, close to the road to watch the parade,” said Cabrera, who said the activity used to be a common one when he was still actively involved in the military in the United States mainland.
“We just want to celebrate with the family. It’s vacation for the kids,” his wife, Terry Guerrero, added.
Although Cabrera’s family came late to reserve one of the pavilions, it brought its own tables, lined them and housed them under tents to provide shade or shelter in case of rain.
In another portion of Beach Road, Louie Pelisamen and his able-bodied children, nephew, and son-in-law kept themselves busy constructing a temporary wooden structure that would hold their tent and serve as their pavilion during the parade.
The 53-year-old Chalan Laulau resident said he spent less than a hundred dollars to purchase nails and lumber. He said his family would also camp out beginning last night.
Pelisamen’s son, 12-year-old Jonathan, said he was already excited to watch today’s parade. “Monsters and dragons,” he said smiling, when asked about what he expected to see in the parade.
Beginning at 6am today, a portion of Beach Road from Quartermaster Road to the Kristo Rai Church would be closed to motorists for the parade. Traditionally, the parade showcases colorful floats from different organizations, races, and ethnicities on Saipan.
While the nation celebrates Independence Day today, the Commonwealth concurrently commemorates its 59th Liberation Day, which began in 1946 after World War II. Liberation Day marks the opening of the gates of Camp Susupe, which symbolized the end of Japanese occupation of Saipan.
With the theme “Celebrating Liberty, Peace and Freedom,” this year’s celebrations actually kicked off some weeks ago. A carnival has stood on the ground of the Garapan Fishing Base since then.
The Liberation Day committee chaired by Eloy S. Inos slated activities during the period, such as the 2005 Liberation Royal Court Coronation and the King of the Grill barbeque competition at the carnival grounds, which would also be the site of spectators who would watch the fireworks show set for tonight.