DCCA aims to bring back Flame Tree fest traditions

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The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs aims to revive the Flame Tree Festival’s previous status as the largest arts festival in Micronesia.

During the Rotary Club of Saipan’s weekly meeting last Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan’s Giovanni Restaurant, DCCA Secretary Robert Hunter told Rotarians that he aims to make the 37th Annual Flame Tree Arts Festival as great as it used to be.

The Flame Tree Festival used to be known as the largest festival in Micronesia, but the economic recession whittled it down and it became smaller and smaller.

Hunter said Tuesday that he and his team have been working hard to revive the festival, going as far as bumping up the number of concession booths this year to 80, which is pretty close to the targeted 110 concession booths that the festival use to have.

According to Hunter it seems the community is supportive of the changes because as of Tuesday, only three concession booths out of 80 were available, which means 77 have already been taken.

The festival will also be moved back to the Civic Center across the Guma Hustisia because that is where it was held for many years. Moving the festival back to the Civic Center is also convenient because DCCA wants to officially open its completed canoe house that was built there.

The canoe house has been under construction for a couple of months.

The festival will begin with the dedication of the canoe house on Thursday, April 26.

The festival will run from April 26 to 29 and will feature local and regional artists.

“There will be cultural performances, art exhibitions, games and free canoe rides,” Hunter said.

This year’s festival will also showcase the family of Chamorro and Carolinian canoes established in the CNMI. There will also be a fleet of canoes that will voyage from Guam to Saipan to participate.

This year’s Flame Tree Arts Festival is expected to be the biggest festival the island has seen in a long while.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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