Editorial comment – After the Hibiscus

2018 Vodafone Hibiscus Queen Jessia Fong, middle, flanked by fourth runner-up Rayshal Nath, first runner-up and Miss Charity Nikhat Khan, second runner-up Simran Nand and third runner-up Lice Yacadra, after the crowning ceremony at the Valelevu grounds last night. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE annual Hibiscus festival came to an end last night at the Valelevu Grounds in Nasinu.

Long the pride of the Capital City, this year’s event was held for the first time outside Suva.

It was a break from tradition.

Was it worth it though?

Sceptics may insist it was about time that this happened.

There may have been issues with capacity and the ability of the ground to handle the heavy foot traffic.

But were these standout features of this year’s event?

Perhaps not!

Maybe!

There can be no doubts about the fact that the annual festival is a much anticipated event over the second term school holidays.

It has been a regular feature over a number of decades since its birth in 1956.

From that early event, the festival has grown in popularity and something people around the country could relate to.

It is now more than a festival just for the people of Suva.

Fine weather over the week gave this Hibiscus a very different flavour even though the skies opened up a bit over the venue after yesterday’s float procession.

Now that we know who our queen and kings are, the question is where to from here?

Campaigns are initiated every year, yet we always close such major events with the very same issues – rubbish everywhere!

We must do the right thing. Such festivals are important for the reason of charity.

It is this element that should be raised, to inculcate a sense of appreciation of the value we must place on them.

This is much more than just a beauty pageant.

For deep within the idea for a fun-filled event that embraces families, sits the reality that there are people who are not so fortunate and need assistance — our assistance.

Being part of the event means we are able to contribute, even if it is in a little way, to the charity chest by making use of the facilities and purchase of food and drinks at the venue.

The owners of these stalls and rides pay a fee to organisers.

Then there is the very important issue of participation, ensuring there is mileage for the event, and subsequently for sponsors of the event and for the popularity of the festival.

Surely some people will now be preparing to head back home after the festival and other major events around the country.

Perhaps it is apt that we should consider road safety concerns and place them on a very high plane.

For parents and guardians, perhaps we should be asking our young charges to bring out those books and slowly prepare themselves for the start of another new school term.

We wish you a happy Sunday and safe travels if you are preparing for that.

We congratulate the 2018 Hibiscus queen Jessica Fong and king Manasa Navara and the other winners in the various categories.

We must also acknowledge all those young men and women who were brave enough to participate in this year’s event.

Taking that big step forward was the first major challenge to live your dreams.

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