Despite Super Typhoon Yutu’s destruction in the CNMI, the three-phase 2018 Holiday Fair saw over 1,000 children participating, with peak participation in Koblerville.
Governor’s Office Youth Affairs special assistant Shelane Borja told Saipan Tribune over the weekend that at least 1,100 children participated in the three-day 2018 Holiday Fair in Kagman, Koblerville, and Chalan Kanoa.
She noted that Kagman had about 300 participants, while Chalan Kanoa had 204. She noted that at least 600 children participated in Koblerville, which was highly unexpected due to the destruction of Super Typhoon Yutu. Participants, according to Borja, were counted through a gifting system that required participants to obtain signatures from each booth in exchange for a gift.
“We are just glad the community came out. …We got [some] participation from Garapan and other villages,” she said, emphasizing the struggle to set up a fair in all of the villages.
Without focusing on the obvious dip in participants, Borja noted that their goal was not to rake in a lot of participants but rather to “support” families through the holiday season.
“There are a lot of reasons why [some villages saw dips in participation],” she said. “We are just here to support them and make [residents] feel the holiday spirit.”
For the first time in its history, the Holiday Fair, according to Borja, was split into three separate dates and venues, with Kagman kicking off first on Dec. 15 at the Kagman Community Center from 6pm to 9pm. The fair continued on Dec. 20 in Koblerville, and on Dec. 22 in Chalan Kanoa at their respective community centers from 6pm to 9pm as well.
“We had a lot of children around the neighborhood that we saw,” she said, referring to Chalan Kanoa’s turn to host the fair. “We saw a lot of youth around Chalan Kanoa come out that we have not seen since the typhoon,” Borja said.
As for Tinian and Rota, Borja declined to state a specific date and type of celebration for the holiday season but noted that one is currently being eyed before the New Year.
Exhibitors during the Chalan Kanoa Holiday Fair included the Lady Diann Torres Foundation, which featured a whole tent committed toward donating away clothes, toiletries, and other hygiene products; Division of Youth Services; Community Guidance Center; the Garrett Lee Smith Program; Grace Christian Academy; Commonwealth Office on Transit Authority; Department of Commerce; Marianas High School Interact Club; and more participants in the fair at Chalan Kanoa. Borja noted that there were about 11 booths set up.