(MVA) —  Covid-19 safety protocols and other mitigation measures have been set for the 17th Tinian Hot Pepper Festival on Feb. 13-14, 2021.

Despite five months of no community transmission of Covid-19 in the Marianas, the Marianas Visitors Authority will implement a series of measures recommended by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and Covid-19 Task Force at the festival.

pika dance

An indigenous Chamorro dance is performed at the 15th  Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival on Feb. 16, 2019.  The Marianas Visitors Authority and co-sponsor Tinian Mayor’s Office will hold the 17th Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival on Feb. 13-14, 2021, at the Fiesta Grounds in San Jose on Tinian, adjacent to Kammer Beach.

MVA photo

“Public health and safety remains a top priority at this year’s Tinian Hot Pepper Festival,” said MVA Managing Director Priscilla M. Iakopo.   “In cooperation with the Tinian Mayor’s Office and the various agencies in Tinian, we are working to make this year’s festival a safe and successful one.”

The Department of Public Safety will manage the entry of and take the temperature of all attendees at the festival site.  Handwashing stations will be installed around the event area, and attendees are required to wear face masks. Clear shields will be installed at all booths to prevent direct contact between vendors and customers.

This  year’s  event  will  also  include  the  Pika  50K  Bike  Race,  funded  by the  Tinian Mayor’s Office, with cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd  place in several categories.   Bikers may contact Dawn Sarmiento at 287-3667 to register.

The festival, affectionately knowns as “Pika Fest” among locals (“pika” means spicy), pays homage to Tinian’s small but famous “donne sali” hot pepper. Activities will include food sales, live entertainment, competitions, arts and crafts sales, and more.  The festival will be held from 4-10 p.m. on Feb. 13 and from 4-10 p.m. on Feb. 14.  The 18th Tinian Municipal Council will co-sponsor prizes for the male and female categories of the crowd-favorite hot pepper eating contest.  Other competitions will include “kadun pika” (spicy stew) cooking, cha-cha, tug-of-war, “umang” (hermit crab) race, and a home-made canoe race.

Ferry service  between  Saipan  and  Tinian  is  still  under  consideration  due  to  budget constraints.

The Tinian Hot Pepper Festival will be held at the Fiesta Grounds in San Jose, Tinian, adjacent to Kammer Beach.  Limited hotel accommodations are available at Tinian Ocean View, Lorilynn’s Hotel, Tinian Street Motel, Fleming Hotel, Green Lion House Hotel, and the Marpo Valley Inn.  Free camping is available at Kammer Beach, Taga Beach (toilets, barbecue pits, and outdoor showers available) and at the adjacent Tachogna Beach (toilets, barbecue pits, and indoor showers available).

For  more  information,  contact  Tinian  field  operations  supervisor  Vida  Borja  at 433-9365 or e-mail  vborja@mymarianas.com

You may also contact MVA community projects manager Martin Duenas at 664-3200 or email  mduenas@mymarianas.com

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