Photos courtesy of Guam Visitors Bureau
Photos courtesy of Guam Visitors Bureau

GVB’s Ko’ko’ Kids Fest Provides Ultimate Kids’ Experience

by Guam Visitors Bureau
Guam Visitors Bureau

(March 27, 2019 – Tumon, Guam) — Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) welcomed about 3,000 excited children and their parents to the Ko’ko’ Kids Fest on Sunday, March 24, 2019, at the Gov. Flores Memorial Park in Tumon. The Ko’ko’ Kids Fest, in its first year, was the ultimate kids’ experience, providing tons of free activities, games and fun for children.  The reimagined Ko’ko’ event included a Trench Kids Obstacle Course Race for kids ages four to 11, Strider Bike races for kids ages two through six, and a cultural celebration by the Håfa Adai Pledge program.

“GVB is pleased with the success of our first Ko’ko’ Kids Fest. Seeing families come out to enjoy the wholesome sports and interactive fun is a testament to how tourism works for our children too,” said Pilar Laguaña, GVB President and CEO. “Seeing the children’s happy faces as they enjoyed the free activities and entertainment, competed in the races and learned about our CHamoru culture let us know that families want more of this experience.”

Kraig Camacho, GVB Destination Specialist for Sports and Events, added, “We wanted to provide a safe environment where kids can enjoy a day of active, healthy and interactive activities. In addition to the competitive events, we offered free karabao rides, rock climbing, ziplining, the biggest inflatable obstacle course on island, fun with mascots and costumed characters and lots of arts, craft and cultural experiences that we could gather in one place. We wanted to cater to our island’s children and live up to our promise of being a family friendly destination.”

Trench Kids and Strider Bikes

The Trench Kids event, now in its third year, and Strider Bike races, recently introduced to Guam, were special sports features of the Ko’ko’ Kids Fest. Trench Kids, a mini obstacle course race with distances of 1k to 1.25k, depending on the age group, included up to 11 obstacles, one of which was a scenic run through the waters of Tumon Bay. The top three female and male finishers in each age division and the top two teams of four in two age groups were awarded. Each participant received a collectible race shirt and finisher’s medal. Trench Kids welcomed 480 participants and the Strider Bike races rallied 30 of the cutest riders on two-wheel balance bikes, a few of whom traveled to Guam to compete.
 
Tom Akigami, Managing Director for Upshift Ent., organizers of the Trench Kids and Strider Racing, said, “We are honored that Trench Kids and Strider Racing were chosen to be a part of the GVB's signature event. We share the same vision for our children to stay active while promoting our beautiful island. The new venue this year at Gov. Joseph Flores Memorial Park made us realize it was definitely the best setting for kids, and we were excited to see the thousands of children and their parents having a great time.”
 
Akigami noted that the future is bright for Guam's little ones as the local events align with national and international events like the Strider World Championships scheduled in Tokyo next year. Trench Kids participants can grow with the sport and look forward to the Trench Challenge adult race, which is the only qualifier in the Asia Pacific region for the Obstacle Race World Championships and compete against the best from 67 different countries.

Håfa Adai Pledge Program celebrates 10th Anniversary

In celebration of Mes Chamorro and the Håfa Adai Pledge Program’s 10th anniversary, GVB hosted a special Håfa Adai Pledge ceremony open to all children. More than 30 children took the Håfa Adai Pledge to protect Guam’s culture and signed a larger than life HAP certificate.

GVB invited cultural teachers and practitioners to offer interactive cultural activities in the Ko’ko’ Kids Fest’s Cultural Zone. The Hurao Academy taught children in CHamoru and English how to weave coconut leaves and make coconut candy, complete with the experience of husking and grating coconuts.

Sweet Things and Lullabies, a HAP member, hosted cultural peg doll painting. The Guam Museum and Sling Guam featured the art of slinging and treated kids of all ages to live demonstrations and instruction in the Sling Guam’s practice cage. The University of Guam’s Sea Grant provided information about reef-safe activities and taught children about the sea turtles of the Pacific. The Department of Agriculture discussed the positive strides made in increasing the population of Guam’s flightless bird, the ko’ko’ bird and had a special appearance by a live ko’ko’ bird. GVB provided a fun photo booth in the Ko’ko’ Zone where kids could take photos with the ko’ko’ mascot.

“We have already set the date for next year’s event – Sunday, March 22, 2020,” said Camacho. “I think we found a great combination of sports, fun and cultural activities that kids enjoy. Next year’s event will be bigger and better, and the GVB team will be heavily marketing the Ko’ko’ Kids Fest in our source markets to draw international competitors and families to Guam. You won’t want to miss Ko’ko’ Kids Fest 2020!”

GVB would like to thank event partner Tom Akigami and his team at Upshift Ent. and all event supporters, including major sponsors KUAM Communications, the Guam Daily Post, DOCOMO PACIFIC, Little Riders, and the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa. GVB is also appreciative and impressed by the spirit of volunteerism from members of the community – Submarine Squadron 15, Naval Hospital, St. Paul Christian School’s National Honor Society and Student Council members, and the Simon Sanchez High School Automotive Club. Special thanks are extended for the valuable support received by the Visitor Safety Officers, Department of Parks and Recreation, the Guam Police Department, the Guam Fire Department, and Marianas Media Response.

Information about Ko’ko Kids Fest 2020 will be posted at visitguam.com and kokokidsfest.com. 2019 Event photos can be found on GVB’s Facebook page @visitguam.

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