The 2016 International Festival of Cultures has really started to pick up as the performers representing various other countries came in to showcase their cultural heritage last Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Paseo de Marianas.
The International Festival of Cultures is an event hosted by the Marianas Visitors Authority with the goal of showcasing the various international cultures that are present in the CNMI.
The event started last Aug. 20 and has been picking up in popularity ever since, especially the most recent Saturday, where the various performers started coming in for the presentation of their respective cultures.
Martin Duenas, the Community Projects manager for the MVA, shared that the first two Saturdays of the event were somewhat like a soft opening. Starting the third Saturday (Sept. 3), is when the International Festival of Cultures really picks up.
“The first two nights we didn’t really have the entire group coming. There were several that wanted to participate in only the last four nights of the festival,” said Duenas. “Tonight is the first of the four nights, that’s why you see a lot more cultures represented.”
Duenas also shared that despite the bad weather on the first Saturday of the event, he is happy with the turnout. “Last year we had the typhoon, so we weren’t able to go through with it. This year, we are happy that the weather is cooperating. Even though the first night it rained, after that, the weather was great,” said Duenas.
He also thanked the many different nationalities that reached out to the community of the CNMI with presentations of their cultural heritage. “The event is picking up fairly quickly and I’m really happy that different cultures came out this year again to help us make this year’s event successful.”
The aim of the International Festival of Cultures is to raise awareness of the different cultures in the CNMI, which will also shed some new light about the way others behave around the island.
“Diversity is there, and that’s what we want to offer to our visitors. Not only our visitors, we also want our locals to come in and witness the event every year. We’re happy that they’re cooperating with us and supporting us,” said Duenas.
Ryan Calvo, MVA’s Community Project specialist, was satisfied with the event that evening. He even shared that on the last night of the International Festival of Cultures, there would be a luau from Hawaii, a fashion show, and a parade.
“Tonight was a really good turnout, because almost all the cultural groups were present, there’s going to be a cultural fashion show on the last night, which is another highlight of the festival besides the parade, so we’re looking forward to that,” said Calvo.
The International Festival of Cultures is open to the public with traditional food, performances, and items that are unique to each culture. It is open from 6pm to 10pm and will continue every Saturday until Sept, 24 at the Paseo de Marianas in Garapan.