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Tisa’s Tattoo Festival ends with a big bang, a big storm

The 13th Annual Tisa’s Tattoo Festival ended Sunday, Oct. 29 with the usual awards ceremony. Pictured is former Miss American Samoa, Antonina Lilomaiava, who won the award for Best Malu this year. Congratulations to Tufuga Li'aifaiva Imo Levi of Apia, Samoa. Samoa News has been a core sponsor of Tisa’s Tattoo Festival since its inception, and once again welcomed this year’s festival participants. [courtesy photo]
Source: media release, Tisa’s Tattoo Fest

ALEGA BEACH— What a weekend! Rain or shine, the 13th annual Tisa’s Tattoo Festival ended with a big bang and downpour to the delight of fest goers who experienced the wild side of Alega village — stormy weather. Nature knows when to shine, and this weekend was the ultimate experience for all of us.

Fest goers gathered over the weekend where award winning tufuga  — Su’a Fitiao Wilson, Duffy Hudson, Niko and Otto, showed off their ink. Several visiting guests departed American Samoa with memorable souvenirs of Tatau ink and bragging rights of their awesome experience at the World Famous Barefoot Bar and the Tatau Festival 2017. The festive celebration attracted people from all over the globe, including St. Martin, Portugal, Canada, East and West Coast of United States, Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand Fiji, China, and Australia.

“We were honored to have the presence and support of our popular faipule, an Congresswoman Aumua Amata. Samoa News, our long time major sponsor, was on hand to capture the magic of Tisa’s Tattoo Festival this year and the pristine venue, Alega Bay. KHJ, another longtime sponsor with Monica Miller and Joey Cummings were also there to witness the event for your listening pleasure. It was great to have my new favorite actor Uelese of 1000 Ropes, on hand, to kick off the exciting weekend of activities in American Samoa. Todd of Harbor Maritime and Starstruck welcomed guests and sponsors who made it out to the fest this year,” Festival founder Tisa Faamuli said.

A new and most exciting addition to the fest was the arrival of the sailing 'alia canoe to the Tatau Festival. Sailing for Apaula’s first voyage to the Tattoo Fest venue was well received by residents of Alega village. The host and hostess of the fest, Tisa and Candyman and fellow tattoo artists welcomed their honored guests on this past Saturday. With the vessel were Su’a Fitiao Wilson, his artist wife Reggie Meredith Fitiao, and their au Malaga. Cheers to Apaula and her designer/ builder, Tufuga Afioga, Su'a Fitiao Wilson.

The newly crowned Ms. American Samoa, Ms. To’omalatai did the honor of serving the 'Ava and was well received by everyone at the fest. All extended their emotional goodbyes as Ms. American Samoa 2016-2017, Antonina Lilomaiava who performed her Siva Samoa and an awesome farewell speech on the tattoo fest stage. She won The Best Malu of the year at the Tattoo Fest 2017. Her Tufuga Lia’ifaiva Levi, was an honored guest tufuga artist of the fest last year, when she got her Malu.

 The Best Pe'a of the Year was awarded to the popular Pe'a Fa'akaupaki, Maki Viliamu. The crowd roared with laughter and were well entertained by the Soga’ímiti from Alega and Leone.

The beautiful weather that followed the arrival of Apaula on Saturday, was a big hit with fest goers on the first two days of the fest. The ink and the incredible crowd added to the ambiance of the ‘green and environ’ conscious Barefoot Bar operators and stewards of Alega Marine Preserve. Family picnics were in order for a serene event.

The biggest success of this year’s event was reducing and applying the Barefoot Bar’s mission of low impact on our precious resources, for all who came. Food Security 4 U offered a variety of local organically grown fruits and vegetables prepared and cooked on a campfire. Engaging the guests is the best way to experience a culture and this was the case at the Tatau Festival.

Local entrepreneurs and well known Coconut Jam producers, Evoga and Rodney of Nu’uuli finally surfaced to the delight of customers who crave this locally made Siamu popo. The Coconut Jam taste demonstration was a big hit! Koko Samoa rice, roasted breadfruit and special soa’a (banana) dipped in coconut cream sauce, a local favorite, kept the hungry fest goers happy.

Business sponsors are much appreciated in the Tattoo Fest efforts to celebrate and maintain the indigenous art in American Samoa. The partnerships have brought about a revival of our lost arts and to pass them on to future generations of our beautiful island culture.

While looking forward to advancing the mission with everyone’s continued support, Tisa quoted the late Governor Tauese Sunia. When times were challenging during his 8th year as governor of American Samoa, he used to say, “soso'o tau'au e ma ma ai le avega.”

Manuia le Folauga a le Tatau and Fa’afetai American Samoa