KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Dec. 24) — The construction of facilities for the 9th Festival of Pacific Arts in Palau has begun, according to festival director and Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs Alexander Merep.

The 9th Festival of Pacific Arts will be held here from July 22 to 31, 2004.

About 26 countries and territories have confirmed their attendance and over 2,500 delegates are expected to attend.

Construction has started at the National Track and Field for the 3,000-seat grandstand.

A giant television screen measuring about 20 by 30 feet will be put up in the oval field to allow the public and guests to view a special video program prepared by the festival committee on ceremonies.

Merep said they will also do minor repair work on the oval surface.

The ministry, he said, will renovate the oval surface right after the festival in preparation for another major event, the South Pacific Mini-Games, scheduled to be held here in July 2005.

Refurbishing and renovation at the Asahi Ballfield will also start soon with members of the U.S. Navy’s Civic Action Team building an eight-foot fence. The stadium will undergo major repairs such as construction of a big stage that can accommodate at least 60 dancers and new benches.

The grandstand roof will be repaired and rest rooms will be renovated. The electronic score board will be fixed.

In addition, Merep said two giant screens will be put up on each side of the stage at the stadium.

The Belau National Museum, which is another festival venue, is almost 80 percent complete, Merep said.

The new museum is expected to be finished in March or April.

The Ngara Amayong Cultural Center project is also on schedule.

These facilities, Merep said, will all be ready before the festival.

December 26, 2003

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