This year’s Koloa Plantation Days is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the theme, “The Legacy Lives On.” From July 17 through 26, more than 30 events will celebrate the plantation heritage and modern-day vitality of Koloa and Po‘ipu, on Kaua‘i’s South Shore.
During this 10-day family-oriented festival, the public will be able to learn about Koloa’s multicultural history and the area’s unique ecological features and archaeological remnants. Area resorts, community groups and businesses in the Po‘ipu and Koloa will be presenting the many events.
Koloa Plantation, founded in 1835, and the other sugar plantations in Hawai‘i brought contract laborers from Asia and Europe to work in the fields and the mills. In the plantation camps, the workers from each country shared food, music, stories and traditions of their homelands.
The festival opens with the 16th annual Plantation Days Rodeo weekend featuring championship roping, bull riding, and unique Hawaii events reflecting Paniolo culture on Friday.
Multiple activities will take place daily, including guided walks and talks of the area such as the historic Hapa Trail Walk and Old Koloa Town Walk, “talk stories” on plantation life, a visit to the Koloa Mill site and a historic film night and plantation era exhibit.
Visitors will enjoy local foods, music and shopping throughout the week, including craft fairs, cooking demonstrations, a free Polynesian revue and celebration events with live local music. Parents can bring their children to enjoy special activities such as keiki fishing, outdoor Hawaiian games, mini golf and a Keiki Ukulele competition. Outdoor and sporting events include a doubles tennis tournament and a Family Fun Run along the shoreline.
This years’ parade on July 25 through Koloa Town highlights the theme “The Legacy Lives On” with floral floats, walking and equestrian units, decorated vehicles, vintage cars, and a marching band.
This year is a special year commemorating statehood, and several reunions are taking place to pay homage to this special time in Kaua‘i’s history.
After the parade, stroll to Knudsen (Koloa) Ball Park for a full day of festivities with nonstop entertainment, featuring music representing the diverse cultural mix from the sugar era. For a $3 entry fee, residents and visitors enjoy music and entertainment, local food, keiki rides and activities, a silent auction and Kaua‘i’s largest craft fair of Hawai‘i-made products.
Visit www.koloaplantationdays.com for more information and a full schedule of events, and to find ways to volunteer, join in and support.
Most events are free or minimal cost with sponsorship by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority along with other local businesses, resorts and organizations including Koloa Rum.