4th annual Fish and Seafood Festival set for Sept. 27-28

THE two-day 4th Annual Marianas Islands Fishing and Seafood Festival will kick off on Sept. 27, Friday at the Garapan Fishing Base.

A 23-hour fishing derby will highlight the seaside event which will feature good food, fun and a chance to learn more about island fisheries, said the event’s host, KKMP Radio’s Gary Sword.

He said the festival coincides with this year’s celebration of Chamorro and Carolinian Cultural Heritage Month.

Organizing the festival are the Carolinian Affairs Office, the Indigenous Affairs Office and the Office of the Governor.

Sword said the festival’s fishing derby has five categories — talaya, deep bottom, shallow bottom, trolling and spear fishing.

Fishing starts at 6 p.m. Friday and ends at 5 p.m. Saturday. Participants can enter as many categories as possible.

“All fees have been waived as Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios want to encourage community members to join the festival and celebrate our indigenous fishing practices,” Sword said.

“And just when you think you’ve seen it all, you’ll find amazing arts, fishing and environmental information and new entertainment offerings,” he added.

Entry is free. “Artists and vendors also do not have to pay a fee so they can offer the best prices to you. Games, boat rides, jumping house and fishing camp are all free,” Sword said.

“The Commonwealth is known for a lot of things. One of them is its deep seafood culture. You can be sure to find your favorite dishes in one of the food tents set up at the festival.”

As for the fish cook-off, Sword said it will “provide an opportunity to savor Marianas delicacies like you have never tasted before — not to mention that the entries are all prepared by local amateur and professional chefs who know a thing or two about how to fillet a fish.”

The cooking competition will be held on Saturday Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in three categories —poki, kelaguen and open category (any style).

First, second and third prizes will be given in each category and there will be a total of $3,000 in cash prizes. There is no cost to enter.

Sword said the festival is also a chance to support local artists. “Spectators can find wooden sculptures, paintings, handmade necklaces and more hand-made crafts from local artists.”

Best of all, he added, “the festival is alcohol and smoke, giving our young ones a chance to breathe freely and enjoy a sober festival.”

Games are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Sword would like to thank the confirmed sponsors: the Office of the Governor, the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, Tan Siu Lin Foundation, DPS-Boating Safety, NMC-CREES, DCCA-Arts Council, DCCA-Youth Services, Marianas Visitors Authority, DPS-Highway Safety-CIOT, Department of Commerce, Saipan Mayor’s Office, Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and DLNR- Fish & Wildlife.