Koloa Plantation Days
By Caroline Wright / MidWeek
On the Garden Isle of Kauai, the sugar industry was huge in its heyday, employing multiple generations of immigrant workers and their families. Sugar workers from all over the globe brought their traditions, art, music, and cuisine to Hawaii's diverse cultural meltingpot, leaving their own indelible imprint on the islands.
Koloa Plantation, the first major agricultural property on Kauai, was founded in 1835. 150 years later, in 1985, sugar's sesquicentennial was celebrated at the same location. That was the beginning of Koloa Plantation Days, an annual celebration of Kauai's history and heritage held on the island's beautiful south shore each July.
"The great thing about this festival is that residents and visitors come together to celebrate," says event coordinator Melissa McFerrin. "You see local families having fun with families from all over the world. People come back year after year because they feel like part of our community."
This year's festival, whose theme is "Celebrating Our Plantation Roots," will take place at various locations in Koloa and Poipu over the ten-day period between July 22-31, 2011. The event will feature activities, games, tours, demonstrations and displays that showcase plantation life and the area's rich cultural and natural history.
Koloa Plantation Days
Date(s): July 22-31, 2011
Location: Various venues (most outdoors) in Poipu and Koloa
Cost: Various; most events are free
Duration: Ten days
Food Available: At some events
Next Year’s Event: July 20-29, 2012
The Plantation Days Rodeo's Preliminary Roping Contest launches the festival on Friday, July 22, followed by the American West Barrel Racing and an unforgettable Paniolo Cookout with a special appearance by slack-key guitar legend George Kahumoku.
On Saturday, July 22, the fun continues with a Charity Tennis Tournament for United Way, and a Historic Hapa Trail Walk & Lunch. Sunday's activities include a Family Fun Run/Walk, Tennis Tournament Semi-finals, a Miniature Golf Tournament, and the 12th Annual Plantation Days Rodeo at CJM Stables near the cliffs of Mahalepu.
Activities during the week include the Makawehi Sand Dune Walk, Historic Film Night, Koloa Plantation Days Craft Fair, Polynesian Review Fire Dancing in Poipu, Mahalulepu Coastal Hike, Traditional Hawaiian Games, Plantation Days Putting Contest, Historical Walk through Old Koloa Town, and Movies in the Park at Poipu Beach Park.
The festival's signature event, the Annual Park Celebration, takes place after the Koloa Town Parade on Saturday, July 30 at Anne Knudsen (Koloa) Park. The event will include a full day of music, dance, and comedy from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus food concessions by local restaurants, 70 craft vendors with Hawaii-made products, as well as rides, waterslides and activities for kids, and a silent auction. This year's big headliner: singer/songwriter Henry Kapono.
Koloa Plantation Days will wrap up with a Paddle Fest at Poipu Beach Park on Sunday, July 31 at 10:00 a.m.
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