December 30, 2020: The serene Asau Bay was the picture perfect backdrop to a host of festive activities that took place last week during Vaimoana Seaside Lodge’s Christmas in the Bay (CTB) end of year event.
The normally peaceful and sleepy village township got a boost this year as the “commercial” centre of Asau was transformed into a festive hub, decked out in colourful Christmas decorations and featured a pop up flea market and Kids play corner.
CTB Committee member, Michelle Smith Mcfall, said that the free event was geared towards lifting the spirits of their community after a year of relentless challenges.
“Usually this time of the year is when we see returning friends and families who come to spend Christmas holiday with their families in Samoa. However with ongoing border closures, this year will be an exception which means a lot of families will be spending christmas holidays apart after what has already been difficult year.” said Ms Mcfall
She added. “We think our community deserves a boost which is why we came up with an event that will bring everyone together in the spirit of Christmas and end this year on a high note with renewed sense of hope and faith”
The tranquil sounds of the blue lagoon were temporarily replaced by the soulful voice of Asau songstress, Emme Eteru who belted out Christmas tunes and pop hits while local star search finalists from Auala Village provided supporting singing acts.
Vendors from around the district took advantage of the free space available at the pop up flea market to sell their items and enjoyed the live performances while children were occupied in the Kids Corner, lining up to spin the wheel of fortune for a chance to win a variety of spot prizes provided by Digicel or jumping on the giant bouncy castles.
Area executive for Digicel in Savaii, Laupama Fuiava said the community event in Asau was in line with Digicel’s GO BIG for community campaign goals and they welcomed the opportunity to extend their support to the most western area of Samoa.
“It was a privilege to come out with my team to support likeminded businesses like the Vaimoana Seaside Lodge whose values and goals are in line with the spirit of our GO BIG campaign” Said Fuiava “Christmas in the Bay is a great initiative to positively impact this community by lifting their spirits after going through a tough year and we are only too happy to be a part of it.”
Christmas in the Bay was initially scheduled to open on December 18 with a community outreach activity involving a Crown of Thorns Workshop and cleanup of the lagoon however the extreme weather and flash floods forced it’s cancellation with CTB organisers saying it will be rescheduled to a later date.
“Despite the uncertainty of the weather, we decided to go ahead with the rest of the programme” said Ms Mcfall “It was rewarding to see the smiles of the kid’s faces and having parents come up to us to say they are so happy to have something different and fun for families to enjoy together at this time of the year”
Managing Director for the Vaimoana Seaside Lodge, Tupai Saleimoa Vaai said that he challenged his team to think “outside the bay” and bring the entire Asau district together in a fun and engaging community event.
“CTB involved a lot of planning and praying to navigate us through something we’ve never done before because our dreams are a lot bigger than our pockets” said Tupa’i” This year the Samoa Tourism Authority have really come through for Savaii tourism operators, showing their support by collaborating with the industry and that’s made a difference.”
“We’re also very fortunate that grassroots champion sponsors like Samoa Commercial Bank, Pacific Ezy, Digicel, Taula Beverages, Millas Sky High Fun, and Lafaialii Store believed in us and have come out to bat for our communities in this remote part of Samoa, making this a Christmas to remember for residents of the Asau District.”