By Léo Azambuja
Starting on the third week of this month, more than 25 family events over the course of 10 days will celebrate the plantation heritage and the liveliness of one the most charming towns on Kaua‘i.
“Koloa Plantation Days is unique in that it brings visitors and residents together each year to commemorate and celebrate Kaua‘i’s plantation roots,” said Melissa McFerrin, the event’s coordinator.
This year’s theme, she said, is Lessons of Aloha, in commemoration of the late Aunty Stella Burgess.
McFerrin said Burgess, who died in February, helped to demonstrate how a festival such as this could be an invitation to share, “not only our history and culture that make Kaua‘i unique, but also our efforts and our laughter to come together and create something special for our community and visitors.”
The 29th Annual Koloa Plantation Days, from July 18 through 27, will offer rodeo, live music, talk stories about life in old plantation days, cultural performances, movie nights, culinary demonstrations, street fairs, guided tours, keiki activities and games, sports events and, of course, the famous parade and park festival.
Year after year, Koloa Plantation Days attracts local residents and visitors for a taste of aloha. They learn about Koloa’s multiethnic history, try a range of local foods, participate in cultural activities, and discover the South Shore’s unique ecology and archaeology.
Koloa is the site of Kaua‘i’s first sugar plantation, established in 1835. Several ethnic groups came to Kaua‘i over the years to work on the fields, and each group added to the cultural diversity of the Garden Isle.
The Annual Historic Koloa Plantation Days Parade kicks off July 26 at 10 a.m. at Koloa Elementary School, and ends at Anne Knudsen Ballpark, where the Annual Park Celebration will be taking place with live music, food, a craft fair and keiki activities.
The event climaxes on the following day with a Family Fun Run/Walk at 7 a.m., and then with Keoki’s Ukes in Paradise Keiki Ukulele Competition.
“This kind of event would not be possible without the enthusiastic participation of members of the community, along with our visitor industry and area businesses and associations,” McFerrin said.
Visit www.koloaplantationdays.com for more information and full list of events.