Chamorro Optimist Club San Diego Information on
Mes Chamorro 2017
Provided by Sandy Uslander, Columnist for the Pacific Daily News
Many of us in San Diego are looking forward to a wealth of activities that will celebrate Chamorro month, or mes Chamorro in March as it is observed on Guam. The celebrations will be an opportunity for the community to come together to enjoy our cultural arts, our food and our traditions. In San Diego, they additionally provide a way to educate the larger community about the way of life that we hold so dear.
To kick off the events will be the first Hafa Adai Arts and Culture Festival in San Diego’s famous Balboa Park. March 5th from 11am to 5pm will be the first time the House of Chamorros will be featured on the park’s cottage campus. Executive Director, JR So has planned a day to highlight the culture for the many regular visitors. Front and center will be cultural displays including a presentation on the galaide, coconut leaf weaving and coconut grating. Throughout the day there will be Chamorro dance and Chamorro music, food and crafts. All of this will be broadcast live on Lomok Radio via internet radio. “We are here to educate in this center of art and culture in San Diego,” says JR So, “especially for our youth.”
“The Balboa Park venue gives us the opportunity to bring our culture to people of San Diego and visitors from around the world,” added House of Chamorros president, Greg Camacho.
It’s a unique opportunity to reach a new demographic; a great place to bring friends for an introduction to the Chamorro culture. The Hafa Adai Festival is a free event.
For citizens of the Northern Mariana Islands, March 24 is a public holiday known as Commonwealth Covenant Day.
“It commemorates the anniversary of the enactment of the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America in 1976,” According to CNMI San Diego president, David Atalig.
In San Diego on March 24, several musical artists will be coming from the CNMI to perform at the Sons of the Marianas Concert to be held at the World Beat Center near Balboa Park. The World Beat is not only centrally located in the city, it is known as a resource for the city’s widely diverse cultural communities. Having use of the state of the art stage and sound system, the Sons of the Marianas concert will offer music and comedy from the CNMI, as not seen in recent memory. Food, drink and regular and VIP admission is available.
Finally, on March 25, thousands of guests will return to enjoy the 8th annual Chamorro Cultural Fest held on the campus of Cal State University San Marcos in north San Diego County. From 10am to 5pm, the amphitheater and lawns will host Chamorro artists and vendors and food. The entertainment stage will offer Chamorro dance and music throughout the day.
“Chamorro Month in San Diego is a very special time for us,” says Danny Blas, Chairman of the sponsoring Che’lu organization. “We love and value Chamorro culture here, and we want to show and teach our state-side Chamorros why we hold on to it dearly.”
Many have made this large event a meeting place for family reunions or gatherings. Chance reunions also happen. I have personally had unexpected meetings with former schoolteachers and long lost classmates coming from as far away as Guam or Washington D.C. It’s great fun. Entrance for the Chamorro Cultural Fest is free. There is a fee for parking.
Thanks to all the hard working volunteers in San Diego who put together these cultural events that educate and bring such enjoyment. Biba mes Chamorro!