By Léo Azambuja
The 2nd annual Music & Mango Festival at the Waipa Foundation will showcase all that is good about mango and island music on Aug. 17.
The festival’s seed was a mango-grafting class taught by Jossi Johnson at Waipa several years ago, according to Waipa special programs manager Kalen Kelekoma.
Johnson, described by Kelekoma as a “mango expert and aficionado,” wanted to teach a second class, and came up with the idea of doing it together with a festival. So in 2010, the first mango festival at Waipa attracted about 200 people and offered a grafting workshop, cooking demonstrations, a couple food vendors, a few farmers and a mango dessert contest.
“It was just really low key,” Kelekoma said.
“Last year we tried to do a music festival in the spring, and we had to cancel it because of a storm,” said Kelekoma, adding they decided to postpone the music festival to the summer.
Meanwhile, the mango festival was scheduled for the summer.
“Because we had the momentum going, we combined them and made the Music and Mango Festival,” Kelekoma said.
The two festivals together attracted nearly 1,400 people in its first year, he said.
The festival will have several mango contests, including biggest mango contest, best dessert, best entrée, best pickled mango and best mango jelly/jam/preserve.
There will be activities for the keiki, 12 food vendors, 20 artists, a silent auction, cultural displays, several nonprofit organizations with information about their work and, of course, a day-long concert showcasing local talent as well as musicians from other islands.
Kelekoma said some of the musicians already committed include John Osorio, Mike Keale, Na Pali (Carlos Andrade, Pancho Graham, Pat Cockett) Waipa Serenaders.
If anything, the festival gives people a reason to come out to the North Shore, Kelekoma said.
“The location is terrific, it’s right along the ocean and by our fish pond,” he said. “We encourage people to bring their beach chairs, bring blankets and just relax and listen to island music and enjoy the day right here in Waipa.”
Waipa is about a mile and a half past Hanalei Town. The Aug. 17 festival is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $10 for adults and $1 for children ages 3 to 18.
Visit www.waipafoundation.org or call 826-9969 for more information.