Here’s a quick report from the Pacific Daily News that the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts kicked off in grand style earlier this week.
On Sunday at dawn hundreds of people stood in awe as a dozen hand-crafted vessels slowly made their way to shore. The traditional navigators (those who voyage without modern instruments) were greeted by a cheering, grateful audience that stood five people deep, lining the Hagåtña shore from the boat basin all the way to the last rock near the channel.
Though the Festival of Pacific Arts hadn’t yet had their opening ceremonies — scheduled for 10 hours later — the dawn arrival of the seafarers brought the festival to life. The throng of islanders stood in eager anticipation as the Guam canoes landed first, representing Guam’s various seafaring groups: TASI, TASA, Fa’ulosna, Ulitao and even Chelu Sakman from San Diego.
They welcomed visitors from Chuuk, Yap and Palau and as the last of the voyagers finally stood on solid ground, the crowd couldn’t wait — they erupted in unabashed cheers. Many smiles were also punctuated with tears of personal joy and island pride.
Sunday evening the Paseo Stadium was filled to capacity as thousands gathered to witness the official opening ceremony of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts.
Here’s the program for the opening ceremony:
The Guam flag was dropped down by parachute by Maj. Tim Ohno with loud cheers from the crowd. The parade of Nations saw each group present their cultural dance and chants for the opening. Each nation also gave a gift to Governor Eddie Calvo representative of their culture.
Attendees continually cheered on the cultural exchange as each nation made their way to the front of the main stage.
Reminder: check out the Festival of the Pacific Arts Guam 2016 (Guam FestPac 2016) Facebook page for photos, videos and current information.