BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
THOUSANDS of locals and Melanesian visitors took part in the closing ceremony of the 6th Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival 2018 at the Panatina Melanesian village on Tuesday.
The grand closing ceremony was a colourful finale to what has been a memorable 10 days of sharing, promoting and preserving the different cultures which were represented by the participants.
Fireworks heralded the final minutes of the 6th MACFest last night as the diversity in Melanesian culture bade farewell to this year’s event.
The colours of the fireworks equalled that of the attires worn by the participants from the five MSG member countries; Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and PNG, and those from the friends of Melanesia; Taiwan, Torres Strait Islands and Timor Leste.
Tuesday’s event started with speeches, exchange of gifts, handover of MSG flag to Vanuatu as the next host country followed by entertainment including cultural and contemporary dancing.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Treasury Mr Manasseh Sogavare in his keynote address acknowledged and praised the success of the event despite being faced with many challenges.
He said Solomon Islands is proud to host this festival twice. He said it is a remarkable success that officially concludes in magnificent performances.
“I’m delighted because it is for the second time in 20 years that Solomon Islands has successfully host this regional event.
“I always proud to see us Melanesian culture play, and we must be always proud about Melanesian heritage and show it to the world,” Sogavare said.
He thanked the participating countries and looks forward for the next Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival in 2022 which will be hosted by Vanuatu.
Honiara City Mayor Andrew Mua also shared his excitement for the successful hosting of the regional event in Honiara city.
He acknowledged participants for the remarkable cooperation seen throughout the 10 days which has led to a peacefully, enjoyable, informative and successful MACFest 2018.
The ceremony ended with fireworks which made the event more interesting and recorded in the country’s history.