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Mangilao Donne’ Festival brings the heat | News

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A night of rain showers could not stop the heat of the Mangilao Donne’ Festival.

The celebration kicked off Friday night with a festive atmosphere, from island music to decorative lights and hundreds of residents lining up for vendors’ denanche, seasonings, pickles, and other hot and spicy foods.

The festival in honor of the spicy chile or donne’ continues from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Fun, games and competitions drew in the crowd, including a greased pig chase, which tested the participants’ ability to hang on to a greased pig for a certain amount of time.

There is something for everyone besides the food and drinks. Children enjoyed the carnival rides and games, while adults set their sights on the arts and crafts, clothing and even plants.

Drew Apatang, a small business owner who founded Chamorro Spice, said he wanted to bring his family down for the heat of the Mangilao festival and for the first time, sell their hot pepper merchandise.

“This is our first year selling at the Mangilao festival, and it is the official physical launch of our products,” said Apatang, of Dededo. “Once we got our business license, we satisfied online orders first through our website.”

Despite the competition, he said he knew they had their special bonds to stand out.

“A lot of people indicated the market is saturated, but we bonded our joy for making our products to build memories,” Apatang said. “This is also home-grown within the family, so this gave my family something to do together and bond as a unit.”

Chalan Pago-Ordot resident Shaeleen Salas, winner of the 2023 National Miss Curvy Pageant, came out in full support of the Mangilao Donne’ Festival.

“I’m so excited for this weekend because this event continues to bring all of us together as an island and keeps us in touch with the ‘pika’ side of our culture,” Salas said. “Come down for all three days and have a blast.”

Mangilao Mayor Allan Ungacta shared the joy of the festival after several weeks of preparation.

“We are very fortunate to pull it off with a lot of us getting involved, including the planning council, the staff and all the people that contributed one way or another,” the mayor said. “Please come. We have a lot of family-oriented activities going on. The vibe is nice, welcoming and comfortable.”

Asan-Maina resident Riki Johnson shared his support for the festival while practicing for his slinging tournament.

“It’s pretty cool to see how nice the vendors are selling all their goods to make a living,” Johnson said. “We’re all here to enjoy, especially with the kids, teenagers and adults all being able to compete in trying to catch a pig.”

Here are some of the Donne’ Festival events and activities for Sunday:

  • Slinging competition, 11 a.m.
  • Pika dessert competition and awards, 12 p.m.
  • Contemporary dance performance by Talent Box, 1 p.m.
  • Donne’ dinanche competition and awards, 2 p.m.
  • Magic show with Anthony Reed, 3 p.m.
  • George Washington High School JROTC exhibition, 4:30 p.m.
  • Live band performance by Taj, 5:30 p.m.
  • Cultural dance by Guma I Mane’lu, 7 p.m.
  • Live band performance by the Radiants, 7:45 p.m.

Mangilao Vice Mayor Kevin Delgado shared his appreciation for the dozens of vendors and staff that helped set up the festival after a two-year pandemic hiatus.

“We tried our very best to incorporate everything and everyone as best we can. We’re so grateful to the vendors for having faith in the festival, giving people options and sharing their talents and specialties,” Delgado said. “This took weeks to set up, so everyone has been going above and beyond. We cannot thank them enough.”

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