31 Dec 2018
- By Junhan B. Todiño – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
THE Awaodori Team’s performance opened the annual Mochitsuki festival on Saturday, highlighting this year’s Marianas Strong Year-End celebration and Yutu 5K Holiday Fun Run.
“This is the first time we had a holiday fun run and because of its success we may hold it again next year,” Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Chris Concepcion said.
He said the five-hour festival at the Paseo de Marianas, which started at 5 p.m., had a big turnout.
He said MVA also appreciates the support of the festival sponsors: IT&E, DFS Saipan and Coca-Cola & Foremost/Quench; vendors Ina Kitchen, Kinpachi Restaurant and Furosato Restaurant; and volunteers from PDM Promoters, the Japanese Society of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Japan-Northern Marianas Descent Association.
Event coordinator and MVA community project officer Jack Aranda said they gave holiday hats to the first 100 registrants in the fun run, and t-shirts to those who finished the race, which started from the pedestrian mall flagpole on Beach Road, proceeding to the Cabrera Center before returning to the starting point.
Aranda said the $1 registration fee will go to the ongoing fundraising efforts for Typhoon Yutu victims.
“It was a great success,” he added.
MVA chief financial officer Joan Paraiso and MVA staff member Jadel Ignacio distributed free Saipanda bags to children and sold raffle tickets. The prize was a Samsung Note 9 from IT&E. All proceeds will be donated to the Karidat Social Services.
The entertainment for children included a free bouncy castle, and a free round of yoyo play.
The performers were the Awaodori Team led by organizer Misako Kamata and coordinator Sonia G. Siwa; the Saipan Music and Dance Studio led by its president, Ester Sablan; Donato Santiago Jr. and Donna Rose Santiago; Marianas Ukulele led by Larry Lee; Neil Fama; Alana Ia; Man Antigu; and SuSan Band.
PDM Promoters, the organizer of the Awaodori Team, and Kinpachi Restaurant joined the demonstration of the traditional pounding of rice as part of the Mochitsuki festival.
Volunteers from the Japanese Society of the Northern Mariana Islands assisted in the free mochi-tasting in the activity area where coco chips and other Japanese delicacies were also served.
Japanese society board member Sean Shonishii said the event drew more than 500 people including local residents, tourists and children.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/109741-huge-crowd-joins-marianas-strong-year-end-celebration