A WEEK-LONG festival started in Labasa yesterday to raise funds for developments in the town.
The Vodafone Festival of the Friendly North aims to improve the livelihood of the northerners.
"For the past five years, the carnival committee has continuously set aside close to $10,000 per year to see that Labasa Town is provided with the necessary projects towards beautification," said Labasa and Savusavu towns' special administrator Vijay Chand at the festival opening yesterday.
"The committee members have definitely left a legacy in terms of developments in the northern town. This is a testimony to what can be achieved through dedication, sacrifice and hard work.
"The organisers have definitely contributed towards making a difference in the lives of many ordinary and disadvantaged people. The festival is seen as leverage for the much-needed economic opportunity that puts the town on a faster track of activities."
The festival proceeded with a march through town where the 19 contestants and festival committee were greeted by thousands of people from all walks of life.
At the ground, stall holders and amusement ride operators wasted no time as people gathered in numbers to take advantage of their services.
Festival chairman Vincent Sahayam said the week-long event would be one to attend because of the activities and dynamic environment.
The festival features 10 Queen, six King and three Lady contestants.