A large banner hung outside the Queen Salote Memorial Hall proclaiming an Agriculture Show was being held on October 14 and 15 in 'Atele, which is near Tonga College. That would mean a bus ride, and since I didn't know any more about it, I didn't think we'd attend. Then on Thursday, October 13, our principal announced that we'd only have a half day on Friday so students and families could attend the Agriculture Show. Well, that got me interested. I asked about the show and what it was like. Sounded like a worthwhile trip. When I got home there was a call from Peace Corps saying we had an invitation to attend the program on Friday afternoon, and the Peace Corps driver would bring it to our house so we'd have it. Now it was a given--we were going. It's the Royal Agriculture, Fisheries and Industries Show, 2011, and hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries.
|The long view, across the field. There were 2 rows like this with displays.|
|Visitors view displays of villages' fruits and vegetables.|
As we walked onto the grounds it had the air of a county fair. Long lines of booths showed off vegetables and fruits, all beautifully displayed by the villages. There were informational booths, too, such as showing the fish of Tonga, diseases of plants, healthy eating for people, and an area for the judges to sit to make their decisions. Many of the booths displayed handicrafts to be judged. After the awarding of prizes, the food and handicrafts would be for sale.
|Some of Tonga's fish and ocean bounty.|
|Fruits of Tonga.|
|A pile of tapa and mats to the right. To be judged and sold.|
|A beautiful display of handicrafts.|
|Many root crops, bananas, squash, papaya. All being judged and later sold.|
During the program we sat in the shade and listened to speeches, the Police Band played, Queen Salote College students danced, and children from 'Atele GPS performed synchronized aerobics. While the Princess toured the exhibits, we were served refreshments (on china). Afterward she gave out the prizes and the proud recipients lined up for the congratulations. What a great idea to reward the efforts of the farmers and the weavers. It's such a wonderful (and important) part of Tonga!
|Dancing by Queen Salote College students.|
|Synchronized aerobics performed by children from GPS 'Atele. They're lining up and waiting to begin.|
|The Princess views the displays before handing out the awards.|