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This year’s Flag Day celebration is a one-day event — April 17

Flag Day Committee’s slide presentation opening shot
Performers include 3 local high schools and a group from Samoa

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 2019 Flag Day celebration, under the theme “Prepare our Youth for Future Challenges” is set for one day, Apr. 17.

The fautasi race is set for Saturday morning, Apr. 13th and race-time depends on the weather, according to the Flag Day Committee presentation at last Thursday’s cabinet meeting.

Samoa News notes that — according to the American Samoa Visitors Bureau cruise ship schedule, the cruise ship, “Star Princess”, will be calling into the Port of Pago Pago on its maiden visit at 8a.m., Apr. 13th for a one-day visit.

(The “Sea Princess” will stop by on Apr. 16, the day before Flag Day).

There was no mention of the two cruise ships during the Flag Day Committee’s presentation, which was led by Samoan Affairs deputy secretary Malemo Tausaga, who noted that there are some minor changes to this year’s event, compared to previous ones.

Lt. Gov. Lemanu Sialega Palepoi Mauga, who is also acting governor and co-chair of the Flag Day Committee, said preparations for the celebration are ongoing and asked all cabinet members for their continued support to ensure another successful Flag Day.

According to the Committee’s presentation, which lasted at least an hour and included a slide show — there are pre-Flag Day events, as in past years, starting on Friday, Apr. 12, at the Suigaula o le Atuvasa Beach Park in Utulei — the venue for the We Are One Fair (hosted by the government and local businesses) from noon to 5p.m.  Cultural performances provided by 13 groups start at 6pm.

Apr. 13 activities start in the morning with the fautasi race, and it was stressed by the Committee that the race-time all depends on weather conditions. The number of fautasi competing this year will be finalized in advance of the race, which has long been the highlight of Flag Day.

The fair continues Saturday afternoon, with 11 groups scheduled to perform in the evening. Across the street at the Samoana High School field, in the morning, a Family Fun Day will be hosted.

Around 8p.m., there will be a fireworks show, according to the Committee’s presentation.

Sunday, Apr. 14 is the Flag Day Church Service at 3p.m at the Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium.

The official Flag Day ceremony is set for April 17 at Veterans Memorial Stadium, with the usual flag raising and speeches followed by “siva and pese” provided by three local high schools - Leone, Tafuna. and Samoana.

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga will deliver special remarks while an invitation has been extended to the US Department of Interior for the keynote address.

The slide presentation showed that Saleaumua village will represent Samoa this year, but later in the cabinet meeting it was mentioned that the Prime Minister of Samoa will select the village to represent the Independent State. The Samoa group will be hosted at the DYWA Pago Pago Youth Center.

Health Department director Motusa Tuileama Nua said 13 food booths will be set up at the Suigaula o le Atuvasa for the pre-Flag Day events. Regarding the Stadium, he said there are some “challenges” - such as the bathrooms - that need to be addressed.

There will be food booths at the Stadium on April 17, and Motusa shared a request from possible vendors for the government to waive fees, with vendors saying it’s only a one-day event. There was no response from the government on whether the fees will be waived.

The governor’s chief of staff, Fiu J. Saelua said 20 invitations have been sent out for this year’s guests and so far they've received only 6 responses. He didn’t reveal the names of the invitees.

He also said awards for winners of various Flag Day games should be presented after the tournaments, instead of carrying it out as part of the closing ceremony on April 17, which should be reserved only for the fautasi race and the annual men's and women's cricket league awards presentation.

All cabinet members were informed of the island-wide clean up in preparation for Flag Day, set for Apr. 5 while the beautification project — that includes decorations along the road side — is set for Apr. 10.