GUAM Governor Eddie Calvo said he is feeling a positive vibe as the island community “comes together” to ensure that the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts is a success.
Calvo Wednesday assembled a team of island officials and others for a media blitz about happenings leading up to the 14-day event.
Beginning May 22, and for two weeks thereafter, Guam will host a centralized gathering of more than 2,500 persons including artisans and craftsmen – practitioners of the traditional arts of their respective homes.
All will share the spirit of goodwill as they share, exchange and compare traditional knowledge and culture from some 25 island entities.
The event is expected to draw more than 10,000 additional visitors to the island.
The Guam Visitors Bureau predicts that several million dollars will be pumped into the island economy as a result.
The list of participating island entities sending representatives includes American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, New Caledonia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Tonga, Hawaii and Guam.
Even Taiwan will be present, though it is not a FestPac council member.
Speaker Judith Won Pat spoke of the excitement in the air as FestPac nears.
She said she’s learned that many Chamorros, some who have not been home for years since first leaving their island home, will be returning for “this once in a lifetime event.”
She said the next opportunity for Guam to host FestPac will be in the 2100s.
“We would also be able to meet and greet our Pacific Islanders – our brothers and sisters throughout the Pacific – sharing their language, their culture, their arts, their traditions.
And I think that’s really great,” Won Pat said.
She encouraged the island’s schoolchildren to attend.
Calvo listed a slew of upcoming activities and ribbon cuttings related to FestPac including that of a viewing platform at Paseo, the newly constructed festival village huts located at Paseo adjacent to the Chamorro Village and a restroom, a crosswalk across from the Chamorro Village and other improvements around the island.
“I think it’s important to note as we’ve focused on this festival of arts.
“Once it’s over, the work that would have been done, will be there for the rest of our community moving forward,” Calvo said.
The FestPac 2016 coordinating committee is headed by first lady Christine Calvo as honorary chairwoman, Rose Ramsey as the festival director and Nate Denight who serves as the chairman.
As the island readies to host FestPac, the first lady acknowledged the upkeep visible islandwide and encouraged island residents to put their best foot forward and spruce up their respective homes.
Christine Calvo asked the group gathered yesterday, with just 10 days left, “Kao man listo ham? (Are we ready?)”
The question garnered an enthusiastic “Hunggan! (Yes!)” from the crowd gathered in the large conference room at the Governor’s Complex at Adelup.
The right to host the 2016 FestPac celebration began as a bid by Guam some eight years ago in 2008. The bid was awarded to the island in 2012.
At the onset of agreeing to host FestPac, an initial budget by the organising committee called for some $13 million in cash and in-kind contributions.
The FestPac organising committee has raised $5 million with commitments from the government as well, including an additional $2.64 million injection last week.
The additional money will be used for overtime expenses of the various agencies including public safety agencies and the Department of Public Works and other expenses related to hosting the event.
Senator Tina Muña-Barnes thanked the sponsors who helped the government of Guam secure the funding for the event.
“Team Guam comes together. With all the things that are happening, Guam comes together to give its very best,” Muña-Barnes said.
Information on the happenings that come with FestPac can be found online at guamfestpac2016.com.
The administration will also utilize news outlets to disseminate information and schedules on a regular basis, said officials.
Solomon Islands is sending about 170 performers to the festival.
– Source: Guam Daily Post