The 2016 International Festival of Cultures is one of the newest attractions at the Paseo de Marianas in Garapan and started since Aug. 20.
The event is hosted by the Marianas Visitors Authority and it aims to highlight all the different cultures that are present in the CNMI.
MVA Community Project specialists Ryan Calvo said that besides giving free samples of traditionally roasted pig, the International Festival of Cultures also wants to showcase the different cultures of the CNMI while giving locals and tourists something in return.
“When we started in 2014 we wanted to get all the diverse cultural groups in the CNMI together to promote the diversity of the CNMI for two targets: our local community; something for them to do too, and mainly for our tourists from abroad,” said Calvo.
A lot of pride comes with being able to participate in the festival. “I feel proud and honored to be asked to perform and promote our culture to tourists and as well as to our local community. We need to revive it by showcasing our culture heritage through songs and dances,” said Annale Sablan-Torres, one of the group leaders of the Manantigu Cultural Production Petlas Marianas Simiya Lina’la’s.
Although the festival started in 2014, the International Festival of Cultures wasn’t held in 2015 due to Typhoon Soudelor’s rampage. In 2016, the International Festival of Cultures continued. “in 2014 that was our first annual. In 2015 we wanted to do it again but unfortunately Typhoon Soudelor hit so we put everything off because everyone was busy recovering. This year we marked it as the second, a continuation,” said Calvo.
“We have majority of the same group as the first but this year we decided to have six Saturdays in order to add more to the event. The first and second Saturday is like a soft opening, where the CNMI hosts the opening.”
Calvo says more are in store for the International Festival of Cultures. With the following weeks to come, the eventwould be even more festive. “Come September 3rd, that’s where we’re going to have all the groups come in. So we’re looking at everybody coming in and it’s going to be more active; more participation and activities for everybody,” shared Calvo.
The International Festival of Cultures would be going on every Saturday at the Paseo de Marianas in Garapan from 5pm to 10pm. Starting Sept. 3, more cultural groups would be joining the International Festival of Cultures. Marshall Islands, Philippines, Tahiti, Marquesas, Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Japan, China, Hawaii, and Korea would be added into the list of presenters.