July 2005

The Travel Bug - Issue 2

Vanuatu Celebrates 25 years of Independence!

This year, 2005, is Vanuatu’s 25th year of Independence – its “Silver Jubilee”! Many class the annual July Independence celebrations as starting as early as the 10th of July and various events around the country taking place each week. Through until the main event at Independence Park in Port Vila (the nation’s capital), on the 30th of July, each year.

This year there was a special event that happened prior to the 10th of July, when 10 couples got married on the 8th of July, in the nation’s largest village, “Mele”, outside of Port Vila on Efate Island.

Other events that are happening during July 2005 are France’s National Day celebration on the 14th of July and Vanuatu’s Charity Horse Race on Saturday the 16th of July, at the “Abattoir Area” near to the Port Vila Golf and Country Club. On the 24th of July is the annual “Children’s Day” celebrations. There will be also Down-town march, Concerts, and Special Events held at some schools, and of course the children receiving gifts from their parents and Godparents, along with orphans getting special gifts from community members.

These various events and general jubilations culminate in the main event of the month, the actual Independence Day Celebrations held at major towns and villages throughout the country. Naturally the biggest excitement and series of events for the day are to be seen at “Independence Park” in Port Vila’s central area. Various events commence on the 22nd and go through to the 31st July, with the 30th being the main day of celebrations at Independence Park.

Coinciding with Vanuatu’s Jubilee year, 2005 is also the National Year for Tourism. And those keen on golfing can participate in the Vanuatu Golf Open held this year in the first week of August.

Silver Jubilee Round Island Relay – July 2005

One main event that will happen on the 30th July in Efate, is Vanuatu’s “Round Island Relay” run. The Round Island Relay was first staged as one of the sports events organized to celebrate Vanuatu’s Independence in July 1980. Three teams of 10 runners raced around the island of Efate, a feat that many locals at the time thought impossible, symbolically linking the villages en route. There are 10 sections of the race with the shortest leg 11.7kms and the longest 16kms. The race goes through traditional villages and past mountain rainforests, along the many rugged gravel roads. Ten member relay teams compete for the grand prize of 100,000 Vatu. Local teams already have many kilometeres of training behind them and the competition between the top teams is going to be fierce.

Overseas interest is also growing with five teams already confirmed form New Caledonia and interest from Teams in Australia and New Zealand. Many teams though enter for the challenge and sense of achievement in merely finishing this gruelling team event. This being such a special year, there's bound to be some extra special effort in the race from local teams and some extra special entertainment in the Villages along the way. (Source: VTO)

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