CNMI FLOAT WINS ROSE BOWL PARADE PRIZE

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By Ulysses Torres Sabuco

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 5) – The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas ’s first float entry to the Rose Bowl Parade, "Harmony of the Pacific," bested several other countries to win the Best International Float Award.

"It is hard to describe. It is really a feeling that we are now part of the international community and we have let the world know that there is a CNMI out there," Gov. Juan N. Babauta said in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

Babauta was in Pasadena, California to watch the parade.

There were over 100 entries to the 115th Rose Bowl Parade, including 48 floats, high school and college marching bands from all over the country, as well as equestrian units from different private and public organizations.

Galvin Guerrero, the governor’s special assistant for special projects, said the CNMI beat the entries from Guatemala, Mexico and China.

Press Secretary Pete A. Callaghan said the other entries for the international category were Kiwanis International, La Canada Flintridge, Optimist International and Rotary International.

"Harmony of the Pacific" was named the "most beautiful entry from outside the continental United States."

The award was announced two hours before the parade began.

"(The television) commentator explained the design of the float, told the audience where the CNMI is located, and even told viewers the meaning of a commonwealth. After the parade, tens of thousands of people flocked to the float viewing area, where Governor Babauta and the rest of the CNMI delegation handed out brochures from the Marianas Visitors Authority and the Committee for the Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian," Callaghan said in a statement.

Guerrero said the parade started at 8 a.m. and lasted for more than two hours.

An estimated 800,000 to 1 million individuals witnessed the annual event, which was broadcast by local and international television networks.

"We are just excited because winning the international trophy for our first entry is a milestone," Guerrero said.

The "Harmony of the Pacific" float is 50 feet long, and reflected this year’s theme of "Music, Music, Music." It features intricate designs that reflect the CNMI’s history and culture.

A giant Chamorita was mounted on the float’s front, and the body was covered with varied designs that included a latte stone, a Carolinian utt, an outrigger, a bird and dolphins — all covered with foliage.

Miss NMI Kimberly Nicole Reyes and six traditional stick dancers were on the float, all clad in traditional costumes.

"It was really all about volunteerism," the governor said. "There were people who came from Boston, Maine, New Hampshire, Indiana and Florida just to help out in putting flowers in our float," said Babauta. "It really makes you appreciate what it means for people to volunteer," he added.

Phoenix Design built the float designs submitted by local artists. It also designed 26 of the 48 float entries.

January 5, 2004

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

 

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