Tip: A week-long cultural festival that honors King David Kalakaua in Hilo.

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11th Annual Windward Hoolaulea (Oahu)

By Caroline Wright

In Hawaii, hoolaulea—defined as "celebration or festival"--is a magical word that conjures up different images for different people.

Kids hear it and think with excitement of games and activities and fun. Teenagers anticipate music and dancing (and socializing

with other teenagers). For adults, it means a relaxing day of good food and "talking story" with old friends.

A typical hoolaulea includes hula, music, food, and games. The Windward Community College Hoolaulea, scheduled for Saturday, October 1, 2011, has all of that and a whole lot more!

WCC's campus, nestled against the verdant Koolau Mountains, provides a fantastically beautiful location for the festival. The event has grown exponentially over the years, and now features a dizzying array of some of Hawaii's finest local entertainers, cultural and educational displays. With so much going on, it's impossible to do and see everything here, but you can certainly have fun trying!

Highlights include local crafts offered by 60 vendors; kids' activities like face painting and free play-in-clay (sign your keiki up for 15-minute slots between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.); delicious ethnic food from a dozen concessions; a silent auction; Hawaiian cultural demonstrations including poi pounding, laau lapaau (medicinal herbs), and fiber arts; a ceramic sale and raku firing; gyotaku fish printing; and an orchid sale.

Hula is the theme of this year's event. Several Windward-area hula halau (schools) will offer performances of Hawaii's beloved native dance, which will also be showcased in a free screening of two award-winning documentaries: "American Aloha" and "Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula," with filmmaker Lisette Flanary on hand to talk about her work. Also, Hawaiian cultural expert Dr. Ishmael Stagner will talk about his recent book, "Kumu Hula: Roots and Branches" and autographed copies will be available for sale.

Live entertainment will include local favorites Maunalua, Kapena, the Waimanalo Sunset Band, and the Kahaluu Ukulele Band, plus other bands and hula halau, almost non-stop from 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

For art lovers, the college's Gallery 'Iolani will feature a new exhibit, "Matalii," with works by 20 artists from New Zealand and the Pacific.     

Proceeds from the Hoolaulea support scholarships and other programs for students of Windward Community College. This year, event organizers are anticipating a crowd of more than 15,000 people. Hoolaulea is a word that has become synonymous with great food, music, dance, friendship, and fun. Come early, stay late, and see for yourself!

11th Annual Windward Hoolaulea (Oahu)

Date/Time:  Saturday, October 1, 2011, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Windward Community College, 45-720 Keaahala Rd., Kaneohe; on the Great Lawn and around the campus

Cost:  Free to the public

Who Will Love This: Families, couples, students; musicians and music lovers; artists and art lovers; hula and Hawaiian culture fans

Website: http://windward.hawaii.edu/hoolaulea/


2010 Hoolaulea commercial: http://youtu.be/uQLJ9RnzKz4

Scenes from the 2008 Hoolaulea: http://youtu.be/2hgACzw6igI

Slack-key guitar master Ledward Kaapana at the 2009 Hoolaulea: http://youtu.be/Qs81X5SxB70

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