The parade itself did not last long. After one song the king stepped into his open top military car with handles to hold onto and got driven around to "inspect" the troops. I don't know who was more excited- the grass that got rolled over or the people. Or maybe the guests of honour. There was the french navy ship that had come from New Caledonia, and then representatives from NZ, Aussieland, Vanuatu, Kiribas, German Ambassador and so on. And representatives of the villages from all the islands. They all left again after the lunch feast.
Before lunch there was a church service. Invited guests were able to be inside, the people could sit outside on chairs and listen via speekers. But most were still busy with preparing the feast.
I have never seen so much food being eaten in such a short time. So many pigs. Ok, you find pigs on every corner in Tonga so they won't really miss them but still. Hard to describe the scene.
What else was happening during that week?
A yacht regatta (our friends won the price for the best decorated boat and the last over the line), prize giving dinner, marching band evening with a marching band from all the schools for every year for the past I don't know how many years, the agricultural fair and last but not least the "Military tattoo". A big show with marching bands and demonstrations by the navy. Very cool. All of it. I could have touched the king a couple of times, got close ups with the big camera. All very traditional, lots of fun. At the agricultural fair the best of each brand were allowed to exhibit: best fisheries, best taro, best veggies etc. As soon as the king had walked by a stand everything they had on display was for sale. They sold the fish for $10/kg! We were very fortunate to have been there when all of that was going on. Certainly a fun experience!
Here are my phone- pix.