Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival

Fiji is gearing up for the 2006 Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival which will coincide with Fiji Day on October 10th, the 36th anniversary of Fiji's independence in 1970. From October 2nd to October 11th, cultural groups from the Melanesian Spearhead countries - Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea - will converge on Suva. This will be the third Melanesian Arts Festival (the previous two were in Honiara in 1998 and Port Vila in 2002).

The theme of this year's festival is "Living Cultures, Living Traditions." Sukuna Park in downtown Suva will be the venue for the handicraft and cooking demonstrations, plus lunchtime entertainment. The Suva Civic Center across the street from the park will host an arts and crafts exhibition. Handicrafts will be for sale in the thatched pavilions of the Festival Village in the parking lot outside the Civic Center, where the traditional medicine presentations and fashion shows will also be held. Admission to the Festival Village and exhibitions will be free.

The Melanesian Arts Festival's combined evening performances will also be held at the Suva Civic Center. However, the most spectacular singing and dancing will be during the opening and closing ceremonies at the Fiji Post National Stadium, just beyond the University of the South Pacific campus at Laucala Bay, or at Albert Park. In addition, there will be symposiums, forums, and seminars on Melanesian arts and culture at the Civic Center, Festival Village, and university campus throughout the week. If you'll be in Fiji in early October, you won't want to miss this!

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