Mochitsuki Festival at Christmas in the Marianas on Dec. 28

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(MVA) — Christmas in the Marianas will celebrate its final night with a Mochitsuki Festival on Saturday, Dec. 28 at Paseo de Marianas in Garapan. The Mochitsuki Festival is an annual celebration in Japan marked by the pounding of “mochi” or glutinous rice in preparation for the new year.

The festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. at Paseo de Marianas in Garapan with a traditional Japanese dance by the Saipan Awaodori Team and the official opening of the festival at 6 p.m. Other entertainment will be Holiday Rockin’ in American Sign Language at 6:30 p.m., Hopwood Middle School Glee Club at 7 p.m., Marianas High School Rhythm N’ Harmony at 7:30 p.m., more “mochi” pounding at 8 p.m., Wolfgang Christian School at 8:30 p.m., Pacific Flowers dance group at 9 p.m., and Refaluwasch Warriors dance group at 9:30 p.m.

Christmas in the Marianas is celebrated every Saturday in December and is organized by the Marianas Visitors Authority, PDM Promoters, Pacific Development Inc. and other travel partners.

“It has really been a phenomenal Christmas in the Marianas celebration this year…you can just feel the excitement and holiday spirit every night at Paseo de Marianas!” said MVA Managing Director Priscilla M. Iakopo. “MVA is so pleased to work with our many sponsors and supporters to make this annual signature event possible for visitors and our residents every year, and we invite everyone to come out for our final night of Christmas in the Marianas this Saturday.”

Saturday, Dec. 21, featured Skymark Night, celebrating the recent commencement of direct, daily service by Skymark Airlines between Tokyo, Japan, and Saipan. Three lucky individuals won roundtrip tickets for two. Also, winners of the Skymark Night Plane Contest were awarded for their plane sculptures. Winning 1st place and $500 from among 17 entries was Mario K. Espeleta, followed by Vladimr S. Palma winning $300 in 2nd place, and Kenjirho Matias winning $200 cash in 3rd place. Winners also received MVA giveaways.

Participating food and drink vendors are Kinpachi, Furusato, Lyn’s BBQ and Java Joe’s.

The event is sponsored by Island Image & Motion, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Kensington hotel Saipan, Pacific Islands Club Saipan, Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority, and Chamolinian Cultural Village Inc. Additional support is provided by the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, the Department of Public Lands, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Fire & Emergency Medical Services, Lollipop’s, Hard Rock Café Saipan, Furusato, Century Tours/iShop, and McDonald’s of Saipan.

COTA shuttle service is provided from American Memorial Park parking lot to Paseo de Marianas beginning at 5 p.m. (last shuttle at 9:30 p.m.) and from Paseo de Marianas crosswalk across from Fiesta Resort & Spa to American Memorial Park beginning at 5:10 p.m. (last shuttle at 9:40 p.m.) every 15 minutes.

For more information, contact lead event coordinator and MVA community projects specialist Ray Villagomez at [email protected] or 664-3200/1.

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