Solstice Festival ushers in summer

KILAUEA — Conscientious residents attended the Hawai‘i Healing Garden Summer Solstice Festival to learn about programs working to strengthen the community yesterday in Kilauea.

“People are interested in it, they’re eager to share,” said Katherine Fisher of Hawai‘i Health Guide, which presented and sponsored the event. “They’re coming from a common interest in having a healthy family and a healthy community.”

“The goal is to empower the community with education opportunities, and to support and protect traditional knowledge that all the unique cultures in Hawai‘i carry,” said co-founder Michael Saiz.

Malama Kaua‘i, a Kilauea non-profit organization that works to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability, hosted the festivities.

“(We hope) to be self-sufficient to the point of being secure,” said Executive Director Keone Kealoha. “Right now we’re out of balance with our environment, and that can’t continue. Sustainability is coming to the center and finding balance, integrating traditional methods into our modern world.”

The festival, in its fourth year, third on Kaua‘i, featured more than 50 booths with free samples, products and information from organizations ranging from Acupuncture to Zero Waste.

“There is a saturation point when you get introduced to all these different sources of information,” Saiz said. “It can be transforming.”

“To be able to touch and taste and see and meet the farmers and practitioners can be very linking in the process,” Fisher said.

In addition to the exhibits, the festival featured speakers and presentations on a variety of topics including healthy eating and alternative medicine.

A concert starring Hawaiian recording artist Paula Fuga and others was scheduled for last night.

The festival continues with a full slate of workshops and tours at Malama Kaua‘i today, with attendees learning about subjects like organic farming, Chinese medicine and Filipino healing.

Programs are scheduled through Thursday.

“Everybody has different levels of education or interest, so we tried to put a broad spectrum of workshops together so there’s something for everybody,” Saiz said.

The Kaua‘i event is just the first of the 2008 season, with similar programs planned for August on O‘ahu, September on Maui and November on the Big Island courtesy of a state-wide grant from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

Call 638-0888 or go to www.HawaiiHealthGuide.com for more information about programs, workshops, booths and speakers.

• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or mlevine@kauaipubco.com

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