Lots of new events, surprises at Taste of the Marianas

THE 20th Taste of the Marianas will highlight the first ever J’s Fried Chicken Eating Competition on May 19, Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Chris Concepcion said.

This new event will feature Japanese celebrity Sachiyo Masubuchi who is famous in Japan for eating enormous amounts of food at food challenges.

Masubuchi has a big YouTube following, and MVA wants to use her celebrity power to promote the CNMI, Concepcion said.

He said they partnered with J’s Restaurant which is their title sponsor because they want to highlight a local restaurant that serves great food 24 hours a day.

“Sachiyo Masubuchi is a petite Japanese lady who can put the biggest eaters in the CNMI to shame, or at least she thinks she can.  So we’re calling on those who think they are able to eat more than she can  to participate in the first ever J’s Fried Chicken Eating Competition for a chance to win up to $1,000 in cash,” Concepcion said.

The Taste of the Marianas, which happens every Saturday night starting May 5, will be held at  American Memorial Park.

 “We’ve seen this festival evolve from an indoor event at the former Diamond Hotel, now World Resort, to an outdoor one that has grown larger and larger every year,” Concepcion said.

It is held in May as part of the annual Tourism Month celebration.

Concepcion said they expect international media coverage from Japan, China, Korea and Hong Kong.

This year’s festival will feature 19 food vendors, three beverage vendors and 10 arts and crafts booths. The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation and the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality will have informational booths.

The Micronesian Islands Nature Alliance, for its part, will display recycling bins to encourage guests to recycle and reduce waste.

For the first time, Concepcion said the Consular Office of Japan will have a booth and distribute free sake samples to those 21 years old or older.

“We commend Consul Kinji Shinoda and his team for their efforts to promote Japanese culture through one of the most popular Japanese beverages known worldwide.  The free sake will be available on a limited time basis while supplies last,” he said.

Concepcion said they also asked the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority to provide transportation if it is within COTA’s operational means.

“I think with the popularity of Taste and with the high levels of anticipation and excitement this event createss annually, people in other villages will find a way to make it to Garapan.  American Memorial Park offers ample parking space for everyone,” added said.

Concepcion asked community members to continue supporting MVA programs and events.

“We’ve seen a huge resurgence in arrivals over the past few years, and we’ve now plateaued which is a good thing in my opinion.  We cannot keep growing for the sake of growing.  We must have controlled growth, and I believe now is the time for everyone to take stock of what’s happening, allow for renovations of existing properties, allow for infrastructure upgrades and improvements to take place, and allow for our environment to take a deep breath before we welcome more visitors to our islands,” he said.

Concepcion said they have no firm commitment from American Memorial Park regarding the continued use of the park grounds for future events.

“I think this is done on an annual basis as needed, which is expected.  There are still onerous permitting requirements from local and federal government agencies whenever MVA hosts events which I think needs to be revisited because we are a government agency and not a for-profit company.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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