Despite the pouring rain and technical glitches, the 73rd Liberation Day festivities still managed to kick off last Thursday at the Garapan Fishing Base, with Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang thanking the planning committee for pulling off the successful start of the festival that will be held daily until July 6.
This year’s theme for the festivities is “Marianas Strong.” The committee wants to emphasize how the people in the Marianas overcame the damaging effects of Super Typhoon Yutu, which hit the CNMI last October.
Hundreds of spectators attended the opening ceremony of the 2019 Liberation Day festivities. There were also performances by dance groups from around the island.
Apatang, who spoke at the opening ceremony, describes the Liberation Day festivities as a “never-miss” occasion in the CNMI. He added that it is also a time when people bump into old friends and make new ones.
Joe Ayuyu Jr., who chairs the 2019 Liberation Day Planning Committee, thanked the rest of the committee for all their hard work and hopes that the amount of spectators would continue to increase as the nine days pass.
Among those present at the kickoff were Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Rep. Luis John Castro (R-Saipan), Philippine honorary consul to the CNMI Glicerio Arago, Japan Consul Ono Kazuhiko, members of the 2019 Liberation Day Planning Committee, and the 2019 Liberation Day Royal Court candidates.
The festival grounds held a mix of 15 food and drink vendors and five shop vendors. There are also carnival games: Balloon Bust, Flinger, Ball Maze, Planko, Bank-a-Ball, Tub Toss, Wiffle Toss, and Bottle Up.
This year’s Liberation Day sponsors are: Tan Siu Lin Foundation and Skywalker Holdings (platinum sponsors); McDonald’s Saipan and Marianas Visitor’s Authority (diamond sponsors); J.C. Tenorio Enterprises Inc., NMI Museum of History and Culture, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Matson, and Coco NMI (gold sponsors); Bridge Capital LLC, Triple J, Bank of Guam, Garapan, Salty’s Grill & Café, Island Apparel, and IT&E (silver sponsors); and Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, Docomo Pacific, and National Office Supply (bronze sponsors).
The Liberation Day festivities are held in preparation of the Fourth of July Liberation Day celebration. The festivities will continue until Saturday, July 6, and will be held daily from 6pm to 10pm.