THE Sugar Fstival remains an annual event the people of Lautoka look forward to every year.
And this year is no exception as the Sugar City celebrated 52 years of the festival's existence.
Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said the fete always brought a sense of unity and togetherness to the people of the Sugar City.
The commissioner made these comments while opening the festival on Saturday night.
He said festivals bridged racial, religious and cultural divides and it was important for all members of the community to contribute positively to this year's event.
Cdr Cawaki said the onus was on the people and business communities to make the carnival a success for the benefit of the underprivileged members of society.
"This festival is unique to the people of Lautoka and it is significant for everyone to contribute positively to the success of the carnival," he said.
"We are also celebrating the 52 years success of this unique festival and we thank all those people who have contributed to this worthy cause.
"It is also important to continue the tradition and the legacy of the carnival," he said.
Lautoka resident Aporosa Langi Macu, 29, said the festival was a much-anticipated occasion for his family.
"My children always look forward to the Sugar Festival because of the many types of entertainment provided," said Mr Macu.
"We thank the hardworking officials for making the people of Lautoka happy." Organising committee vice-president Pusph Raj said the carnival had provided education assistance to many less fortunate members of the community.
He said about $600,000 had been spent for educational, health and infrastructure developments for the poor in the community.
Nine contestants are vying for this year's crown that will be announced on Saturday night.