…fashion, rodeo, military air show, light-up festival plannedThe Lethem municipality is gearing up for the first-ever Lethem Town Week that promises to be a breath-taking showpiece of the town’s magnificent tourism product.Lethem Town Week is slated for October 15 through 21, 2017 and will culminate with an official ceremony to be headlined by President David Granger, who will declare the border community, one of Guyana’s newest towns.Chairman of the organising committee, Raymond Hunte disclosed that the activities were sure to thrill patrons of all ages, and plans were in place to ensure the week of events was talked about for months after staging.According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) report, the excitement is already building for the week of activities, which will commence with an interfaith service and athletics championships in the form of a road race and a cycle race as well as a fitness walk.But Hunte explained that the fitness walk would not be the norm of focusing on distance but survival and endurance.The participants will be required to trek through the savannah, climb hills, cross creeks and hike along rocky terrain.A regional agricultural and commercial exhibition will also be mounted to showcase the local and agricultural produce of the residents. According to the Chairman, this event is open to small and large-scale farmers and artisans.Hunte also touted a raffle which he revealed would have a very attractive first prize for which tickets would be sold countrywide.“We will also be having a volleyball and 10/10 cricket competition and we are thinking to incorporate some aspects of rodeo with cowboys on horseback,” the Chairman stated.The rodeo feature would be an exciting twist with the cowboys being used as escorts, tour guides, photo props and chaperones for the town’s numerous guests.“Since this is a historic event, persons must be able to capture the moment to keep the photographs as memorabilia so all photographers operating in Lethem will be given booths. We are also going to be doing town week novelties with mugs, hat, shirts, jerseys, rubber bands and stuff like that,” Hunte noted.Among the other highlights planned is a “Bold and Beautiful” fashion show that will be open to boutiques, clothing stores, local designers and businesses associated with the fashion industry. The segments will cover traditional, professional, business, casual, sport and evening categories.A spelling bee competition will also be part of the Town Week, with all the words selected having specific significance to the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo region.The high school students will not be left out as the committee is planning a special debating competition on, “The advantages and disadvantages of Lethem becoming a town”.“During that week we will be celebrating Diwali (the Festival of Lights) and in an effort to embrace our Hindu brothers and sisters, we have planned a motorcade. There will also be an illuminated building competition where residential and business entities can get involved and they will be judged for the brightest building,” Hunte explained.The event planners are hoping to attract joint business ventures with airlines, hotels and tour operators.“We will be speaking to airline and bus services and will be soliciting volunteers who are bilingual for a meet-and-greet at the points of entry to direct and guide everyone who enters Lethem,” Hunte said.The planning team has already met with the Brazilian consul who has promised to arrange a number of cultural items for the opening night.According to Hunte, the committee will also be engaging the Brazilian military to conduct a fly-over air show.Members of the Lethem Town Week planning committeeBrazilian stores have already indicated their interest in showcasing Portuguese-made construction materials.The organisers are also working closely with tour guides to provide overland daily tours to Boa Vista, waterfalls and ranches.Persons from as far as Manaus are expected to be in attendance as the committee plans to arrange for Brazilian bus operators to ferry their nationals to the border town.They are engaging Air Services Limited to ensure tours are available from Lethem to Kaieteur Falls, as well as the commercial banks so money transfers and other financial transactions can be accommodated.Hunte, a former telecommunications executive with a military background and a wide array of experience in marketing, project management and event planning, assured that Lethem Town Week would be a cultural and entertainment extravaganza.He believes that Lethem has a truly diverse combination of tourism products in the form of waterfalls, mountains, savannahs, flora and fauna, particularly the birds and fish, that can captivate the attention of every person.In an invited comment, Lethem Mayor Carlton Beckles noted that he was confident of the ability of the committee tasked with staging an event that captures the social, economic, industrial, sport, religious and educational components of the town.Mayor Beckles stated that the event was expected to be an annual feature on the town’s calendar of activities.“We intend to have a product of quality, a product of excellence to showcase the town of Lethem, and the municipality will lend its full support to this venture, but, all in all, the Council is looking forward to staging a successful town week.”The executive members of the committee are Vice Chairman Juanita Williams, Treasurer Leonard Zammett, Secretary Jennifer Moonsammy, and Vice Treasurer Sharla Hernandez. The other members are Ahrens Landry, Wendell Rohlehr, Theresa Torres and Yolanda Moffett.