KDCA Kaamatan festival still a crowd puller despite scorching heat

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s annual Harvest Festival, which peaks on Tuesday (May 30) and Wednesday (May 31), started off with a moderate crowd comprising locals and foreign visitors due to the scorching weather.

This is a slightly smaller crowd compared with last year, which saw the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) grounds here fill up with throngs of people.

However, the hot weather did not stop visitors from visiting the stalls at the site.

Australians Perry and Harper together with their university friends, who have just arrived in the state for a study tour, said that they knew about the KDCA Kaamatan festival from their studies.

“We are doing a group study on cultures and diversity and we have chosen to be in Sabah because of how unique we find it through our studies in university,” said Perry.

He said while the KDCA celebrations gives him an overly commercial vibe, it is still a great experience for him as it is his first time, and first day in the state.

“I am excited to see and experience the dances of the various ethnic groups here because they are so different from what we know back in Melbourne,” he said.

Harper said she is excited to watch the cultural performances in the traditional houses and hopes that she gets to dance to a tune or two later.

She said although the weather is super hot, she is intrigued by the food as well, the handicrafts and other unique cultural aspects displayed that bring the people of Sabah together in this Kaamatan celebration.

Helene, 34, from France is glad that her guesthouse owner introduced this programme to her as she gets to experience a ‘truly local feel”.

“I don’t want to be at all the touristy places where all I see are tourists. I want to be with the locals and experience what the locals do,” she said, adding she might stay on for an hour or two if she can stand under blazing sun and heat.

The first-timer to Sabah also feels that the “Land below the Wind" is a place worth visiting and hopes her fellow Frenchmen would consider coming to this state for their visits and travels in future.

The two-day event is the highlight of Sabah’s month-long harvest festival.

Guests can visit the KDCA in Penampang where they can buy and taste traditional beverages and local cuisines, visit the various traditional houses, and enjoy the cultural performances.

They can also watch the finale of the Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant that culminates on May 31 when the fairest of them is crowned the state Unduk Ngadau.

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