THE Babasiga hot sun surely failed to keep away the hundreds of people who packed the streets of Labasa Town yesterday to witness the closing float procession of the Vodafone Festival of the Friendly North.
People from as far as Bua and Cakaudrove joined the Macuata crowd in cheering for the queens, kings and lady contestants as they processed with their floats through town.
Children joined their parents clapping and waving as the contestants passed through town.
While queens and kings threw lollies to the crowd, the Labasa Hospital contestant — Tanveen Kaur — and hospital staff distributed toothbrush, toothpaste and fruits to the crowd.
Ms Kaur said the distribution of fruits was part of the festival theme "Health Living — Healthy North".
Bua villager Kaveni Kelemailodoni said he came with other villagers from Nabouwalu to witness the procession.
"We caught the first bus this morning from Nabouwalu to come and watch the float procession and then catch the last bus back home this afternoon.
"As usual, the bus today was full of villagers so most of us will get a chance to watch the float procession and eat barbecue at the festival before going back to our village," Mr Kelemailodoni said.
A group of Cakaudrove villagers were also part of the crowd that packed the town.
Jolame Driu and Sitiveni Kalobu only smiled when asked their views of the float procession.
"Eirau marau va'alevu ni mai rawa na sarasara ena soqo levu qo i Labasa. (We are happy to be part of this big festival)," said Mr Driu, a yaqona farmer of Saqani.
As the Salvation Army band entertained the crowd in town with their fancy marching drills, women jumped onto the main street and danced with the band members.
Committee festival president Mohammed Yasin thanked the crowd for their support and for the huge turnout at Subrail Park.
He said the huge turnout was evident of how successful the festival had been this week. Hot barbecue and promotions from various stalls advertising the tasty food was a song sung throughout the day.