The Miss Samoa contestants meeting the village chiefs of Lalomalava village who welcomed the beauties in the traditional ava ceremony
By Lagi Keresoma
SAVAII ISLAND – MONDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2018: Savaii Island turned out the biggest and colourful welcome this morning for the nine contestants of the Miss Samoa beauty pageant at the end of this week. A fine and lovely day on the island, flying flags, painted coconuts, and happy faces signaled the spirit shared by the islanders as they came together to welcome the contestants for the first time in the pageants 35 years.
From the Salelologa wharf and township to Lalomalava, the villages competed in decorating their villages and the decorations with flags of various countries such as America, New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, American Samoa, Zimbawe, South Africa and the flag of Israel.
Trees were decorated with coconut leaves, flowers, colorful papers and clothes wrapped around them, car tyres and coconuts painted with bright colours, and people of all ages stood alongside the road singing, dancing and waving as the entourage escorting the girls went by.
And not wanting to be left without memories of today, almost everyone along the road were filming with mobile phones with one hand and waving out with the other.
Talamua was told that this morning’s showcase was only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of what’s in store for the girls in the next few days.
As noted by members of the Samoa Events Incorporate (SEI) organizing the pageant, Savaii was having a competition of its own by way of upgrading and decorating their villages.
When the Lady Samoa 11 ferry docked at Salelologa wharf 0900 this morning, people could not wait to get a glimpse of the girls they only see on television.
Security at the wharf was tight and only a few managed to take pictures with the girls, and after a brief welcomed at the wharf, an entourage led by the police took the girls to Lalomalava village where the welcoming Ava ceremony took place.
Some people were disappointed as they did not have a chance to meet the girls because they were not allowed to.
That didn’t stop the contestants from reaching out through closed gates and shook hands with some of the people.
This is a very proud moment for Savai’i to be able to host such an event, said the President of the Samoa Savaii Tourism Association, Va’aelua Lealiie’e Fa’apoipoi Gidlow.
The Miss Samoa pageant is the final event of this year’s Teuila Festival.