Legendary 12th Annual East Maui Taro Festival

Scheduled for July 24 & 25

Haleakala Times
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Heavy thunderstorms and spectacular lightning caused the 12th Annual East Maui Taro Festival to be cancelled last March. Tentatively rescheduled several times, it wasn't until very recently that plans were finalized for holding the festival on the weekend of July 24th and 25th.

A group of determined Hana community residents, with help from Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa and East Maui's County Council member Robert Carroll, have now made it possible for the Taro Festival to be properly celebrated.

Saturday, July 24 and Sunday, July 25 are the dates to mark on your calendar.

On the evening of Thursday, July 22, there will be a free movie shown at Helene Hall at Hana Bay, called "The Legend of Johnny Lingo". Dinner will be available for purchase that night, beginning at 6 pm; the movie starts at 7pm. This event is sponsored by Hale Hulu Mamo, the Hana Youth Center and 'ohana Makamae.

On Saturday, July 24, at the Hana Ballpark, the Taro Festival resumes, starting at 9am and wrapping up around 5 pm.

The emcee this year is Kahikina, a popular DJ from the Big Island; following are the entertainers scheduled to appear. (Unfortunately, Keali'i Reichel, who was in Hana last March to perform at the festival, has other engagements on July 24th and 25th, and won't be able to appear.)

And, as always, there will be a wide variety of arts and crafts booths, at least 12 different food booths with Taro featured in each plate, and an information tent featuring local non-profit organizations. Taro Festival T-shirts will be available, and there'll be poi pounding demonstrations and a poi-eating contest.

On Sunday, July 24, also at Hana Ballpark, don't miss the Pancake Breakfast, from 7am to 10:30am. Rae Lindquist, of Hana Coast Realty, told me there will be "very ample servings of Taro pancakes, which are very light and fluffy, topped with butter and syrup", scrambled eggs and link sausage, fresh pineapple, steamed rice, juice and coffee.

Then, from 11am - noon, Open House Tours of Kahanu Gardens/ Hale O Pi'ilani Heiau will be given. And from 1 to 3pm, John and Tweetie Lind will lead tours of the Kipahulu Ohana's taro lo'i at Kapahu Living Farm.

According to Canoe Plants of Ancient Hawai'i, "The life of Kanaka Maoli, the indigenous Hawai'i people, is linked closely with Kalo, the Taro plant. Kalo is believed to have the greatest life force of all foods."

And Kumu Kawaikapuokalani Hewitt says, "Our existence depends on Haloa, our elder brother, the Kalo."

For more information, you can visit the following websites: tarofestival.org; canoeplants.com: kipahulu.org and for Kahanu Garden, ntbg.org/kahanu.html.

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E-mail: info@tarofestival.org