SUGAR Festival organisers had to turn down requests from a number of schools that had expressed keen interest in participating in the Miss Sugar Princess pageant.
Chairman of the organising committee Pusp Raj said overwhelming response from schools in Lautoka was a pleasant surprise.
"Fiji has a lot of talented young people who all have very important messages for our youth and this is pleasing to see," he said. "It is unfortunate that we could not accommodate all the schools that requested to take part in the Teen Princess competition this year but those that will participate are absolutely outstanding. I urge all the people of Lautoka to come out and witness what these girls have put together."
Mr Raj added the Teen Princess competition had historically drawn record numbers in the past because of the support of schoolchildren, teachers and parents and this year's contest promised to exceed expectations.
"Because the pageant is being held at Carnival Park instead of Churchill Park and is free of charge — audience numbers should be quite phenomenal this year," he said.
"The contestants are very excited and looking forward to letting Lautoka know what they are all about and to showcase their individual talents."