Despite hiccups, cashew festival enjoys successful opening night

The “Golden Cashew Binh Phuoc – Vietnam 2010” festival impressed visitors on March 20 with a three-hour opening ceremony in the Dong Xoai town, Binh Phuoc Province. The event was full of excitement with fireworks and dynamic performances, despite a few organizational hiccups.

President Nguyen Minh Triet addresses the audience March 20 at the opening ceremony of the Golden Cashew Binh Phuoc – Vietnam 2010 festival in Binh Phuoc Province. (Photo: Truong Son)
The ceremony welcomed senior officials from Vietnam including State President Nguyen Minh Triet, and Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong and fomer Vice State President Truong My Hoa.

Dignitaries from India, Mozambique, Laos, Indonesia and Russia also attended the event along with representatives from cashew associations.

Addressing the ceremony, President Triet said, “Growing cashews may not be the most profitable enterprise for farmers, but they have enjoyed an early harvest this year. I very much support this festival.”  

Following his speech, a giant cashew model slowly emerged from behind the stage, rising into position high on the ceiling. The action was meant to symbolize the growing success of the cashew industry in the southeastern province of Binh Phuoc. Despite struggling in the past, the cashew business is now booming in the region.

The rising of the giant nut also represented the increase in local people’s living standards as a result of the profitable crops.

The ceremony took place on a 1-hectare area in front of the province’s People’s Committee office. Guests were treated to an exhibition of items made from cashew nuts, parades, fireworks show and a music concert featuring Phuong Thanh, Siu Black and Hoang Bach.

Performers dance onstage March 20 during the opening ceremony of the Golden Cashew Binh Phuoc – Vietnam 2010 festival in Binh Phuoc Province. (Photo: Truong Son)
In addition, the establishment of a cashew trading floor took place.

However, the opening of the festival was not without its problems. Crowd-control efforts were not well organized and a large mass of people rushed past security guards and police to get closer to the stage. Chaos broke out for several minutes ahead of the start of the ceremony as inexperienced organizers scrambled to contain the crowds.

Nature also refused to cooperate when festival staff was preparing to release a giant balloon into the sky as a wish of good luck and prosperity for the cashew industry and festival. Strong winds ultimately prevented the balloon from being released as planned.

Despites the unexpected troubles, however, the festival attracted over 15,000 domestic and foreign visitors. Feedback from guests was very positive and locals said they were very proud of the event.

Binh Phuoc resident Ms. Nguyen Thi Le said, “This was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen and I feel so happy for my hometown. I hope the officials will host more festivals like this in the future as a way to attract tourists and entertain locals after a busy time working with the crops. I believe the cashew business in Binh Phuoc will be promoted to other countries and gain new investments from them. Then, our people here can have more jobs, higher incomes and better living standards.”

Singer Phuong Thanh (L) helped organize the opening ceremony of the Golden Cashew Binh Phuoc – Vietnam 2010 festival in Binh Phuoc Province. (Photo: Truong Son)
The festival will continue until March 23 featuring a host of activities and conferences. Themes such as developing the cashew business in Vietnam and building and developing local and national trademarks for the cashew industry will be discussed, while a meeting on establishing the International Cashew Association will also be held.

Concerts featuring southwestern music, Gong music from the Central Highlands, and a volleyball championship will be among the cultural and sporting events held during the festival.

In addition, a “Golden Cashew” award will be given to an individual or company who has made outstanding contributions to the local cashew industry. A gift of 200,000 cashew saplings will also be donated by the Vietnamese government to the governments of Cambodia and Laos.

The “Golden Cashew Binh Phuoc – Vietnam 2010” festival is presented by officials from Binh Phuoc Province and the Phuong Thanh Media Co.

By Truong Son

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