Plans in top gear for Lamu festival - Daily Nation

Preparations underway for annual Lamu Cultural Festival

Wednesday October 10 2018

Competitors prepare for a donkey race during

Competitors prepare for a donkey race during the 2017 Lamu Cultural Festival. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KALUME KAZUNGU
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Preparations for this year’s 18th edition of the Lamu Cultural Festival are on course with Sh13 million set to be used for the event.

The weekend long event will be marked from November 22 to 25.

The Lamu Cultural Festival is an annual event normally celebrated in Old Town, a historical city which is also listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. The festival is majorly marked to showcase the rich culture and heritage of Lamu’s Swahili people.

50,000 VISITORS

Speaking to the Nation in his office on Wednesday, Lamu Cultural Promotional Group Chairman Ghalib Alwy said at least 50,000 visitors both local and foreign are expected to attend the event.

The theme of this year’s Lamu Cultural Festival is Tembea Lamu (visit Lamu).

According to Mr Alwy, such a theme will greatly boost Lamu's image and encourage people to visit the county to witness an array of cultural celebrations. “We are on course with the preparations. We encourage people to come in large numbers to experience the beauty of Lamu,” said Mr Alwy.

The main sponsor of the event is the Lamu County government with other donors including the Kenya Tourism Board, Magical Kenya, Kenya Ports Authority, European Union, National Museums of Kenya, among others expected to support this year’s festival.

The county's Tourism minister Dismas Mwasambu said he was confident this year’s event will generally boost trade as well as tourism.

SHABAAB CRACKDOWN

Mr Mwasambu said the event is also crucial since it helps to build confidence among tourists and visitors in a county that has previously witnessed cases of Al-Shabaab attacks.

He thanked the national government for the ongoing crackdown on Al-Shabaab in Boni forest, which has restored peace and stability in the county. “Lamu is now among the safest destinations,” said Mr Mwasambu.

Lamu Old Town boasts a rich reservoir of culture that depicts the lives of Africans, Arabs and Indians who occupied the region in past decades and also showcases the types of trade they engaged in.

Apart from culture, the visitors will also enjoy swimming, the famous donkey race, traditional dances, dhow races and heena painting.