A late afternoon rain almost spoiled the last night of the month-long 71st Annual Liberation Day Festivities, but it stopped at around 6pm prompting a large crowd to gather at the carnival grounds at the Garapan Fishing Base.
Almost all the people that attended last Saturday’s final program was eagerly awaiting the raffle draw, where $21,500 was at stake, and the announcement of the winner of the Liberation Day parade float competition.
In the end, four employees—Chen Xiuyu, Macy Li, Ye Lifeng, and Zhou Haijuen—of longtime CNMI investor Huang Shun Corp. owned the ticket that won the grand prize of $10,000. They had a bigger chance of winning the pot after their company bought $2,500 worth of tickets.
The four moved closer to the Liberation Day stage once Skywalker Communications Group staff and Liberation Day volunteers began setting up the raffle bin. Members of the Royal Court alternated in drawing the tickets.
All drawn tickets—from sixth to top prize—were verified by Burger & Comer representative Annalé Torres before handing it to Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, Skywalker Communications managing director Dr. Hu Bo, and Liberation Day non-profit group president Louis Rodgers to check it again.
The raffle bin was turned more than five times before Liberation Day Queen Christine D. Roque, who dug her hand deeper into the thousands of tickets before finally picking the winning stub. The ticket number was 81965 without a name written on it.
The four employees said they would give the money, once they claim it within the week at the Saipan Mayor’s Office, to the company. They were carrying a blue reusable bag filled with the other 2,449 tickets but right now would guard No. 81965 with their lives.
Ticket number 104749 with only Alepuyo written won the $5,000 baby grand prize, while Pualani Palacios (96449) will be receiving $3,000. A Jomari Montoya, who holds ticket number 98101, became $2,000 richer for winning fourth prize.
F. Taimanao’s 43430 ticket stub earned him $1,000, while Kaylani Barcinas would need to present ticket stub number 19148 to claim the $500 sixth prize. You don’t need to be present to win.
Liberation Day parade committee chair Joe Palacios also announced the winners of the float competition with the Marianas Visitors Authority’s entry being chosen by the five judges that carry this year’s theme of “Our Islands. Our Heritage.” They won the $4,000 top prize.
The Papago Familian Lancheros came in second for $3,000, the United Filipino Organization was third ($2,000), and the Kkosch Refaluwasch Carolinian Affairs Office claiming the $1,000 fourth prize.
The five judges were Zenaida Borja, Kiki Marciano, Manny Sablan, Alfred Saures, and John Uys.
Apatang thanked everyone who became part of this year’s Liberation Day Festival. “I hope that all of you enjoyed the parade and all the activities of this year’s festival. We are looking forward again for a bigger and better celebration next year with the help of Skywalker.”
A more than 20-minute fireworks presentation lit up the night sky signaling the end of this year’s festivities.