The normally quiet Lake Toba in North Sumatra, burst into song and dance, and exciting sports events on the water and in the sky, as the collossal Lake Toba Festival was launched on 8 September, to continue for one week until 14 September 2013 around Samosir Island in North Sumatra; their happy music and cheers echoing over the green hills and the waters of this magnificent lake. This year, the Lake Toba Festival carried the theme: “Honoring the Land of the Ancestors”.
Partipated by communities of all the11 districts and towns surrounding this huge lake, as well as athletes from around Indonesia, the Festival started with a parade of Solu Bolon, the dragon boats of Lake Toba, who saluted and accompanied the boats of the VIP’s to the VIP pavilion and the Tuktuk Siadong Open Stage on the shores of Samosir island. Meantime Paragliders descended from the hills onto the water, while on shore a giant Sigale-gale puppet waved to the audience to this splendid occasion.
VIPs so uiniquely welcomed included Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Hatta Rajasa; Deputy Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Sapta Nirwandar; Governor of North Sumatra, Gatot Pujo Nugroho and his deputy Tengku Erry Nuradi.
Then, some 500 girls paraded down to perform the Tortor Cawan dance. This is the traditional Tor-tor dance but in this Tor-tor Cawan dance, each girl balanced 5 ceramic bowls on the head, shoulders and arms while dancing, of course, without breaking them.
The Regent of Samosir, Mangindar Simbolon, Committee Chairman of the Lake Toba Festival 2013 , in his opening speech explained that the series of performances were part of the cultural journey of the many sub-ethnic groups living around Lake Toba. Mangindar added that the festival also involved academics and cultural figures around Lake Toba to ensure authenticity of each cultural art performance. “The Lake Toba Festival is a continuation of the Pesta Danau Toba. However, if Pesta Danau Toba was a regional event, the Lake Toba Festival has now become a national event” he added as reported okezone.com
With the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Festival Lake Toba, now a national event, is developed to attract more visitors to this beatiful part of the country, said Sapta Nirwandar earlier in a press conference.For this purpose, the Ministry has earmarked Lake Toba and surroundings as a Culture cum Sports-based Tourist Destination. Some of the international sporting events envisaged are Paragliding competitions, Solo Bolu (dragon boat) races, Superswim around this huge Lake, while in the arts and culture, there will be Choir competitions (the Bataks being renowned for their wonderful strong natural voices), ulos weaving, and much more. A Destination Management Organization (DMO) that involves all shareholders around Lake Toba has already been established to ensure environmental, social and cultural Sustainable Tourism Development.
One of the main features of the festival is the Marlange or massive swimming participated by over 1000 persons from 11 regencies. There will also be an exhibition of relay swimming around the Samosir Island which will be conducted by professional athletes. Four international swimmers from Germany, Greece, Brazil and Italy will participate in a long-distance, 10-stage swimming race to circumnavigate Samosir Island.
A four-day drum festival is also scheduled with 17 percussion ensembles from America, Africa, Japan, North Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia.
“Not only tourism will grow through this event but with such exhibitions [as those at] this event will hopefully also attract investment, increase trade and empower small and medium enterprises,” North Sumatra Governor Gatot Pujo Nugroho said as reported in thejakartaglobe.com.