KOTA KINABALU: A kite competition is among the attractions at the Sipitang Tops and Open Market Festival or Gata Festival on July 1-3.
Locally known as the Kekek Bagulut and Lawa, the programme will be carried out at the Esplanade Sipitang, which is also to be launched during the three-day event.
Part of the programmes will also be held at the Sipitang town field.
Organising chairman Datuk Sapawi Ahmad added that thousands of people are expected to throng the district for the Gata Festival which will also see other events, namely the Sipitang Tops 2011 (National and Borneo Invitational); Tamu Besar Sipitang 2011 (exhibition by the government and private agencies); Traditional Food Carnival 2011; Silat Gata 2011; Gata Tug-of-War 2011; Sukan Rakyat Gata 2011 and the Sipitang Gala Night 2011.
“We have extended an invitation to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to launch the festival which is being held for the fifth time.
“This will be a grand celebration for Sipitang and is the most awaited event not just for the locals as it is a good business opportunity for them, but also our foreign guests,” said Sapawi, who is also the Sipitang member of parliament.
He added that they hoped to promote Sipitang as a tourist destination for both domestic and foreign visitors; besides showcasing the culture and heritage of locals from the district.
Sapawi said since the introduction of the Gata Festival in 2003, they have seen an increasing number of people attending the event.
“Most of our foreign visitors are from Brunei and Kalimantan. We have recorded nearly 60,000 visitors, both domestic and from abroad, in line with our concept Daie Sipitang Kuan Biskita, which is a combination of three languages – Kadayan, Murut Lundayeh and Brunei, meaning From Sipitang For You,” he said.
Meanwhile, some 500 people are expected to take part in a seminar on Borneo Culture and Heritage next Thursday.
Organised as part of the Sipitang Gata Festival 2011 in short, the seminar aims at promoting the district’s biggest cultural event and sharing the locals’ culture and heritage with the people.
According to Sapawi, Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim is expected to officially close the seminar at 3pm the same day at the Dewan Sri Kinabalu, Lembaga Tabung Haji.
“Participants will comprise undergraduates and the public from throughout the country, Brunei and Kalimantan,” he said, adding the one-day seminar begins at 7am.
Seven working papers will be presented during the seminar themed ‘1 Culture, 1 Heritage’, which will be organised jointly by the Sipitang Gata Festival 2011 committee and the Sabah National Cultural and Arts Department.