Where's the party? Interestingly, social networking like facebook has been promoting Pesta Nenas 2011 and it went viral as friends told their friends. The event (20th-24th July) was scaled down compared to last year's mega event but it still garnered a respectable 400 stalls.
The venue moved to the end of Central Road this year. Many Sarikieans did not know where the new Central Market was. The Central Market was built in 2010 at the former army barracks next to Nyelong River (behind the police station).
The festival was jam packed with activities to dial up the excitement to attract mainly local tourists and deninzens. There's the Pesta Ria featuring stage shows from local artistes and ethnic groups - ngajat (Iban dance), bertabuh (Malay drums) and Chinese lion dance. The Battle of the Bands pit local bands against each other for the grand prize.
No festival can be complete without the local food and drinks. This year was no exception with multi coloured natural drinks like corn and bandung at the Sarikei Kitchen showcase.
Delicacies like satay (meat skewers), kuih (steamed and fried cakes), keropok (crackers) and even new boy, iGlool (shaved flavoured ice) made an appearance.
There were plants for those with green fingers at the Agricultural exhibition. Other exhibitions included Building and Construction for growth. One memorable display came from the former Rajang Teacher's College with its old photos.
Sarikei is the food basket of Sarawak so naturally there was an agricultural showcase of crops and fruits to promote agro-tourism.
Hail, the king of Sarikei's crops, the pineapple. This eye catching display had become a favourite every year. There's a fruit decoration contest, a pineapple eating contest and a pineapple recipe competition.
With flora, there has to be fauna. You can also buy different varieties of goats and cows if you want to start your own farm.
The auto show at the Nyelong Esplanade displayed cars and motorbikes that had won prizes in many auto shows with their modifications like hifi and paint job. The motorbikes even brought along their own mascots like SpongeBob and Monster Inc's monster.
For sports lovers, there were a street soccer contest, a street basket fiesta and a fishing competition along the Nyelong Esplanade. For those who like some retail therapy, you could fish out your money for handicrafts and apparels.
For aspiring singers who could not make it to the Malaysian Idol, you could belt out songs in the Songs of the Sixties contest and twist the night away. For those who liked to ogle, there's the Miss Pesta Sarikei contest with ladies donning ethnic costumes.
With so much fun and consumer spending to stimulate the economy, it makes you wonder why Sarikei does not have a big night market (pasar malam) like Sibu to inject vibrancy into the night life. Food for thought.