Hawaii will host the 13th Festival of the Pacific Arts and Culture next year and organizers have set a 100-person limit on each of the 27 participating nations and territories.
Competition for selection to the delegation is expected to be intense. In 2016, when Guam hosted the 12th FestPac celebration the Guam delegation was 500 strong.
Members of the Guam FestPac Planning Task Force joined acting Gov. Josh Tenorio for a press conference Monday morning to encourage everyone who wants to participate to turn in their applications and supporting materials by the submission deadline, which is 4 p.m. June 28.
"There is an overwhelming number of people that want to go," said Tenorio, who will lead the Guam delegation at the event.
The 100-person limit is "real tight" and he said he has already suggested to the Hawaii organizing committee that they increase the number of allowable delegates.
The delegate selection will be made by a panel of reviewers named by the planning task force, which is co-chaired by Department of Chamorro Affairs President Anna Marie Arceo and Sen. Kelly Marsh.
"It's going to be a very fair process," Arceo said. The names of the 100 selected for the Guam delegation is expected to be announced by late August or early September.
Marsh has introduced Bill 158-35 to appropriate $400,000 from the Tourist Attraction Fund to pay for travel and lodging arrangements for the Guam delegation. The Guam Visitors Bureau, which controls the TAF, has not yet weighed in on the use of its funds.
"The bill was just introduced last week," said Retta Hamilton, a member of Marsh's staff. "Now it's going to committee and we'll be in touch with GVB this week."
Tenorio said, "I think that GVB is going to be protective of their funding source, but I think this is a very appropriate ... funding source."
Spokeswoman Yolanda Bordallo said GVB management "is working with our board on this issue, and will be bringing this up at our next board meeting this Thursday."
In addition to the $400,000 from the TAF proposed by Marsh, Hamilton said 25% of the proceeds from the Guam Micronesia Island Fair and the Guam Ko'ko' Road Race will be set aside for the trip.
Arceo said there would be fundraising efforts throughout the year to "augment any additional funds that we may need."
The acting governor said there are no plans "at this time" to tap into the General Fund for additional funding.
The applications are available for download at the Guam Council of the Arts and Humanities website at guamcaha.org.
The 13th FestPac is scheduled for June 10 to June 21, 2020, and will be held at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.