The Marianas Visitors Authority’s monthlong signature event in December, Christmas in the Marianas, will kick off tomorrow, Dec. 5, with the annual Christmas Tree Decoration Competition at the Paseo de Marianas.
This year’s event will be led by Team PDI, local radio station KKMP, the CNMI Public School System, Paseo de Marianas Promoters, and other new stakeholders in support of MVA.
According to MVA managing director Perry Tenorio, they had “a little uncertainty” about pushing through with the project due to budget cuts but the support of their partners enabled them to go ahead.
“We want to extend our appreciation to our partners, PDI and PDM,” Tenorio said.
“Team PDI has always been a partner of MVA in the beginning. When we heard that the budget was cut, we all decided to jump in,” PDI vice president Gordon Marciano said.
The month-long festivities will begin with the annual school-wide Christmas tree decoration competition.
Aside from elementary schools decorating trees with recyclable materials, middle and high schools will also be having their own competition, according to Marciano.
“For the past four years the middle school and high school have been inquiring about having a Christmas tree competition,” Marciano said. “But we’re not providing the tree. We gave them a challenge to build a Christmas tree with recycled stuff from the ground up.”
The trees will be on display throughout the month.
Also a first this year, a perpetual trophy will be awarded to the winning school for extra bragging rights.
“After all these years, they have been requesting for a perpetual trophy. Last year they voted that they want one, so finally they’re getting one,” Marciano said.
Aside from the annual Christmas Caroling Competition of elementary and middle school students, a karaoke competition for teachers will also be held.
Upper grades on the other hand will have a dance, skit, and singing competition. These events will be held on Dec. 5, 12, and 19.
Also on Dec. 19, the Christmas Parade and Float Competition as well as the new KKMP costume contest will be held.
Marciano said eight schools will be competing in the float competition, complemented by floats from the private sector and government agencies.
“There will be a variety of illuminating floats coming down from Kristo Rai all the way to Paseo,” Marciano said.
For the costume contest, Marciano said anyone can join and compete in the 23 categories that they have.
“There’s about a thousand dollars worth of prizes for that one too,” Marciano said.
The awarding ceremony will be held on Dec. 24, coinciding with the annual Mochitsuki Festival with the traditional pounding of rice.
After what the community has been through with the devastation of Typhoon Soudelor, the Christmas celebrations is a perfect opportunity for people to come together and have something to celebrate, Marciano said.
“We are very grateful to all our partners for taking the lead in organizing this year’s Christmas in the Marianas and for coming together to see the continuation of this MVA signature event,” MVA community projects manager Martin Duenas said. “We have partnered with Team PDI on this event for several years now, and we are confident that this year’s celebration is going to be just as lively as in years past.”