The National, Thursday July 19th, 2012
By GRACE AUKA
THE Solomon Islands farewelled delegations from Papua New and 23 Pacific Island nations at the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts last Friday.
The Melanesian nation formally handed over the task to the 2016 host, Guam.
The festival saw a memorable show of culture and unity that defined the theme “culture in harmony with nature.”
Lawson Tama stadium in Honiara, was packed to the brim as early as 11am as thousands of people flocked to farewell their Pacific friends.
Like the opening ceremony, it was a record crowd seen at the main sporting venue in the country.
Governor-General Sir Frank Kabui praised all the participating countries that had shared their culture and traditions with the Solomon Islands.
Sir Frank said the event had depicted unity and harmony among Pacific island nations.
“Most importantly, the festival has brought back the true image of the Solomon Islands, which was once described as the Happy Isles,” Kabui said.
Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo formally handed over the festival flag to Guam, which hosts the next festival in 2016.
The local organising committee was commended for the successful two-week event.
After two-weeks of festivity, the cultural extravaganza came to a close last Friday.
Delegations from the 23 Pacific countries, territories and from the nine provinces of the host country donned their national regalia for last official lap of the event last Friday night.
For overseas visitors, the open spirit and cultural heritage of the Solomon Islands made a lasting impression.