Kauai Mokihana Festival kicks off Sunday

A weeklong celebration of Hawaiian culture and values kicks off Sunday.

The 30th annual Kauai Mokihana Festival, themed the Year of Na Loea O Na Mea Hana Lima (Master Crafters), is coordinated by the nonprofit Malie Foundation and culminates with a grand finale hula competition Sept. 27.

A festival blessing begins at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Kapaa First Hawaiian Church, founded by Queen Deborah Kapule in 1879. There will be music and hula in both English and Hawaiian languages followed by refreshments after the service.

On Monday, the Kauai Composer’s Concert and Contest — the founding event of the festival — begins at 7 p.m. at the Historic Waimea Theatre, featuring music in various categories, including Hawaiian, contemporary Hawaiian, open, professional and youth. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded to the top musicians.

The free Eo, E Lili‘u Children’s/Youth Music Competition is slated for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue. This event allows students in the Hawaiian-immersion school programs to compete musically by grades with songs honoring Queen Lili’uokalani and other songs in the Hawaiian language. Admission is $10.

On Tuesday evening, the Under the Palms at Wailua Concert at the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel will feature sweet Hawaiian music and hula with Lady Ipo Kahaunaele-Ferreria and Na Hoaloha and hula performances from selected hula halau on Kauai. The event begins at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

On Wednesday, a cultural presentation begins at 5 p.m. at the Kauai Museum. Eugene Punzal will explain the wonderful benefits of the coconut fruit, with samples to share in different stages of its development. Different types of basket weaving are demonstrated. Space is limited. Call 822-2166 to reserve a spot.

A series of hula competitions runs from Sept. 25-27 at Kauai Beach Resort.

The solo and group Kahiko Nei is at 6 p.m. Sept. 25 and demonstrates the ancient style (kahiko) of hula.

The group Auana (modern) hula competition begins at 6 p.m. Sept. 26. This group competition allows the halau to use traditional, borrowed or newly created implements to add a contemporary flavor to hula. Categories include kaikamahine, keikikane, wahine, kane, kupuna and hui/ohana. Come early, as Kauai’s Aloha Festival’s Royal Court will attend this event in full regalia with a ceremonial entrance.

The hula grand finale is at noon Sept. 27. It opens with the solo competition, followed by all competing halau. Special solo awards will be offered by the Hawaii Community Foundation.

Tickets for each day of the competition cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Mokihana passes are available for $75 and good for admission to all festival events.

For more information call 652-4497 or visit www.maliefoundation.org.

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