ORGANIZERS of the Sinulog 2014 celebration are on their final preparation for the country’s final festival on Jan. 19.

A kick-off parade will officially open the cultural aspect of the celebration on Jan. 10.

The parade will start at the Basilica del Sto. Niño, where a mass will be held, and will end inside the Cebu City Sports Center, where the opening program will take place.

Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director Ricky Ballesteros said dance troupes of 14 schools will participate in the parade.

Theme

Ballesteros said the theme of this year’s celebration is “A celebration of faith and heritage.”

He said the concept showcases the people’s faith following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu on Oct. 15 and super typhoon Yolanda that devastated northern Cebu, Leyte and Eastern Samar on Nov. 8.

“Despite what happened, we want to show that faith withstands it all. It gives the people strength to endure the challenges,” said Ballesteros in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu.

Because of the calamities, Ballesteros said they expect fewer out-of-town contingents, or less than 10.

Four contingents from Leyte Province had to back out, Ballesteros said.

As of yesterday, construction of the stage for the grand parade was 60-percent complete.

Ballesteros said contingents will be allowed to rehearse inside the sports center.

They will also be allowed to polish their act on stage immediately after the construction, he said.

Mayor Michael Rama, along with Ballesteros, some police and traffic enforcers, had already inspected the grand parade route.

The SFI has also started selling grand parade tickets for P900, P800 and P700.