The 28th annual Waimea Town Celebration, Kaua‘i’s oldest and largest annual festival, kicks off a two-day flurry of events on the Westside Friday, Feb. 24. The weekend event features two days of entertainment, food, crafts, games, contests and more at the old Waimea Sugar Mill. The popular beer garden will be open for business, and free music and entertainment are available both nights until 11 p.m.
Thousands of visitors and locals flock to the family-friendly event each year which celebrates the unique character of Waimea and the aloha spirit of the island’s Westside. The celebration had its beginnings as the Captain Cook Celebration in 1978, an event that commemorated the 200th anniversary of the famed British captain’s arrival on Kaua‘i. In the years since the event has grown, and today more than 10,000 visitors and locals — more than twice the town’s population — head west to take part in the fun.
“The original location in the center of town got too congested and the event was moved out of town to the old sugar mill,” says Chris Fayé, publicity chair for the event. “The parade got so big that it was finally banned because the traffic was backed up to Kalaheo.” While the parade may be a thing of the past, the history of the town lives on. Not only is Waimea the place where Cook made the first western contact with Hawaiian people, it is one of the original native Hawaiian population centers, and was the home of the island’s capital into the mid-1800s.
Today, the historic town’s annual party provides West Kaua‘i schools, clubs and non-profit organizations with the opportunity to fundraise while promoting community, unity and economic development.
For more information contact the Waimea Visitor Center at 338-1332, or visit www.wkbpa.org.