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ASG schedules lead-up events prior to the April 17 Flag Day celebration

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government formalized its calendar for Flag Day 2023 celebrations, which includes lead up events to the actual one-day event — it is no longer a 2-day event as planned earlier.

According to the Deputy director of Samoan Affairs, Tauese Va’a Sunia, the Flag Day celebration begins with a church service on Sunday, Apr. 15, followed by a one-day celebration on Monday, Apr. 17.

He explained on KVZK that the celebration has been cut back to one day after the Samoa delegation, including their pese & siva group were not able to attend. However, there will be a Samoa government representative attending the Flag Day celebrations as a special guest.

Other special guests expected are the Governor of Hawai’i, Josh Green, Department of Interior officials, U.S. Navy officials from Hawai’i, representatives from the U.S. Embassy- Samoa, and the Australian High Commissioner- Samoa. Special entertainment is being offered this year by three military marching bands — they are the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy bands.

Along with the other changes, the Fautasi Regatta has been moved to Saturday, Apr. 15 at 7a.m. in the morning — barring any unforeseen weather. There are 7 longboats competing, and lanes have been drawn for the race. Let’s hope for a safe race and one that starts well.

Lead up events prior to Flag Day include the Atoa O Samoa Talks for Apr 12 and 13, hosted at the ASCC Multipurpose Center in Malaeimi. Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa will be attending the Atoa o Samoa talk, but will not be attending the Flag Day events. She is expected to arrive today, Tuesday, April 11, 2023.

On Thursday, Apr. 13th, the Arts Council Annual Flag Day Cultural Performance (hosted by the Arts Council of American Samoa) is scheduled to begin, along with the Department of Agriculture (DoA) Farm Fair — both events will be held at the Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tafuna, with the farm fair set to begin at 6a.m.

On Friday, Apr. 14th, two other events are set to begin: the Atoa o Samoa Tradeshow (hosted by the Department of Commerce) and the Fishing Tournament (hosted by the Department of Marine Wildlife Resources), both are to be held at the Department of Youth and Women’s Affair Center in Pago Pago from 5a.m. to 3p.m. — and will continue on to the next day, at the same location.

Saturday, Apr. 15 will be a high energy day beginning with the Flag Day Fautasi Regatta.

Of note: During the cabinet meeting, Paramount Builders presented a check for $100,000 to sponsor the 2023 Flag Day Fautasi Regatta. Prizes for the participating fautasi are most likely to be drawn from these funds. Only the 1st prize so far has been announced — it’s U.S.$ 20,000.00 — and Tauese mentioned it during his presentation on TV.

The Arts Council cultural performances, the DoA Farm Fair, the Atoa o Samoa- DOC Tradeshow and the DMWR fishing tournament will  all wrap-up on Saturday.

On the Westside at 3p.m. — Le Solo ma Savaliga o le Fu’a — a parade comprising participants from government departments, different churches and high schools will happen. This event will include floats, and will feature the marching bands from all three military branches.

During the Cabinet meeting on Monday, the American Red Cross- American Samoa, Starkist Samoa and SOFIAS were identified the sponsor of floats that will be a part of Saturday’s Le Solo ma Savaliga o le Fu’a.

The parade will start from the airport and continue to the Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The empty lot next to the stadium has been designated for special guests to view and enjoy the parade.

Concession stands will also be available to buy food, snacks and drinks inside the Veterans Memorial Stadium during the lead-up events and the Flag Day event on Monday.  

On Sunday, Apr 16, a church service — Sauniga Lotu Amerika Samoa will be held at Kanana Fou Theological Seminary Church in Petesa at 3p.m., with a state dinner to follow at 6p.m. that will be held at the Tradewinds Hotel in Tafuna.

And on Monday, Apr 17, the official 2023 Flag Day Celebration will take place at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.

It begins with the Fa’afiafiaga program, which is slated to start at 6:30 a.m. and to continue through to 12p.m., break for lunch and return to complete performances at 2p.m.

The program will feature pese & siva performances starting with the Catholic church; then the Methodist church; and ending with the EFKAS church.

It was also mentioned during the Cabinet meeting that there will be a total of 15 performers, who have been invited to participate, and they will be compensated at $1,000 each.

After the performances, the awards ceremony, fa’aaloaloga will follow, closing out the 2023 Flag Day celebrations.

It was also announced that all ASG employees will be released at 2p.m. on Friday, Apr. 14 in order to prepare for Flag Day celebrations , with all employees receiving their full 8 hours pay.

In the meantime, decorations and preparations for the lead up events as well as for Flag Day celebrations began in earnest yesterday, Monday, with beautification very much a part of the prep.

Let’s do our bit — the public — and try to keep our littering down to zero, and be kind to one another. Don’t drink & drive. And let’s keep each other safe.

An aside: Samoa News understands government workers are expected to be back at work on Tuesday, Apr. 18 — unless the governor announces otherwise during Monday’s festivities.