By Eranga Isaac

BENIN CITY –  The Edo Festival of Arts, Culture and Tourism (EDOFEST) begins tomorrow Saturday 13th December, 2014 and ends, Saturday 20th December, 2014.
Briefing newsmen in Benin City on preparation for the Festival, the Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Hon. (Mrs.) Anena Jemitola said it will begin with a bonfire/Variety night at the Oba Akenzua II Cultural Centre, she said the personality of the year will be revealed who will light the bonfire. Sunday 14th December, 2014, there will be a Food Fair/Arts & Culture exhibition, including drama presentation and highlife musical night.  Mrs. Anena Jemitola added that a number of companies have indicated their willingness to take part in the food festival.  She also stressed that local government will also be showcasing their array of food in the course of the food festival.
According to the commissioner, there will be Heritage Street Parade which will take off from Oba Ovonramwen Square, Ring Road, Benin City on Friday 19th December.
The Arts, Cultural and Tourism Commissioner said the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago will also be showcasing their culture in the course of the festival, saying the
carnival started with Trinidad and Tobago 150 years ago. “They are partnering with Edo State,” she said.
Speaking about the benefits of the festival, Amena Jemitola reiterated that when the culture of a people is promoted, it will help in promoting tourism.
“We are the biggest promoter of tourism which is the biggest earner for any country after oil. To do this, we must have a game plan, which is our ultimate plan,” she said.
She added that promoting the culture of a people and celebrating it also means one don’t lose important aspect of it.
“Our culture is being eroded these days by the importation of foreign culture. If we don’t put a stop to it now, the next generation will not speak our language, not dress in our costumes and will not know anything about our culture. It is our own way of keeping it alive. It is shame that we don’t have interest in our culture,” she stressed.
The aims and objectives of EDOFEST include promoting the revival, resurgence, reinvigoration and propagation of Edo cultural relics and heritage; presenting Edo culture and heritage in its highest and widest conception and form; promoting Edo artistes, performers and writers and facilitate the widest acceptance and access to world arts facts; and providing a platform for periodic relics to roots.