TACHOGNA BEACH, Tinian—The 14th Annual Pika Festival drew not just island residents but also tourists from Saipan, Rota, Guam, and far-flung areas like California and Alaska.
The Pika Festival has always garnered the participation of CNMI residents, but this year, the festival was graced by the participation of Corona Councilman Randy Fox of California.
According to Fox, this was the first year he was able to visit the island and to join the festival and he was amazed by the island’s beauty and the kindness of the island’s residents.
The festival also brought in Agat representatives. During the festival’s opening ceremony, Agat Mayor Kevin Sucuico and Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas signed a sisterhood agreement.
Another highlight was the Pikalicious Burger eating competition. The enormous burgers were laced with a couple of Tinian hot peppers, making it nearly impossible to consume the entire burger, but Deborja Dela Cruz accomplished it. The eating contest had 12 competitors, the biggest batch of competitors in the festival’s history.
Throughout the two-day festival, entertainers from Saipan and Tinian provided live entertainment.
For the entirety of the festival, everyone was encouraged to join the many activities. There a hot pepper/soba eating contest, a beach volleyball competition, a “Kadun Pika” cooking contest, a canoe race, an arm wrestling competition, an umang race, a tug-of-war, a sack race, and more.
According to San Nicolas, this year’s Pika Festival is special because it celebrates the memory of the festival’s originator, Ellen Fleming Ikehara.
Lailani Ikehara, Ikehara’s daughter, said it was beautiful to see that the festival only continues to grow and continues to unite people of different ethnic backgrounds. Ikehara said it was what her mother always wanted and what she foresaw when she brought the idea of the Pika Festival to life.