Keiki Fest this weekend

Storybook Theatre’s annual Princess Kaiulani Keiki Fest will be today and Saturday in Historic downtown Hanapepe.

The theme is “Honoring the Alii of Old” and will feature children’s artwork and stories about Hawaii’s past. The events are free and open to the public, and children of all ages are invited to celebrate with the princess.

“It promises to be the most colorful and culturally exciting event on Kauai for young people and their families this year,” said Mark Jeffers, director of Storybook Theatre in Hanapepe.

The event begins at 7 p.m. Friday with a screening of the film “In the Footsteps of our Princess” at Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church, 3815 Hanapepe Road. A reception will follow with live hula and music from the students of Kula Aupuni Ni’ihau a Kahelelani Aloha Public Charter School. DVD copies of the movie will be for sale.

The 40-minute documentary features the young women who portrayed the princess during the annual Princess Kaiulani Festival since 2002.  Each year, they portray the spirit of Princess Victoria Kaiulani to her story as the heir apparent of the throne of the Hawaiian Kingdom during and after the overthrow and the annexation of Hawaii.

Victoria Kaiulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawekiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn (1875–1899) held the title of Crown Princess following the death of King Kalakaua in 1891. The coronation of Queen Lydia Liliuokalani led to the appointment Kaiulani as her heir. While Princess Kaiulani attended school in England, the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown and the new government attempted to become a part of the United States in 1893. Kaiulani visited the United States to publicly denounce the injustices brought to the Hawaiian people. She passed away of illness at the age of 23.

“The Princess Kaiulani Keiki Fest is among the most colorful and culturally exciting events on Kauai for young people and their families this year,” Jeffers said. “The family friendly event features local food, with fun and enriching activities that are sponsored by schools and local nonprofit organizations.”

This year’s princess is 9-year-old Wailenalena Andrea Kaohi. She is the daughter of Galen and Andrea Kaohi of Waimea.

Wailenalena is a fourth-grade student at Eleele Elementary School and a member of the Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church Sunday School.

The festival continues on Saturday with cultural events such as hula, Hawaiian music and a costumed children’s parade down Main Street from noon to 4 p.m.

The “Children’s Unity Parade” invites everyone to dress up in costume and march down main street with the princess. The event concludes at her birthday party. Sports teams, dance troupes, musicians and parade units are invited to participate.

After the parade, the princess will read at Storybook Theatre before attending her commemorative birthday party at 3 p.m. in the Sparky’s Garden behind Storybook Theatre. This year’s birthday party is sponsored by Party Wonderland in Lihue. The princess will be reading a story in the theatre before leading the children to her birthday party for cake and party games.

Princess Kaiulani 2013 McKenna Kamalani Lee Pascua will serve as emcee for the Saturday afternoon stage entertainment. There will be taiko drumming by Aki Conquest and Joyful Noise; slack key guitar by Cindy Combs and John Emery, and a Hawaiian sing-along with Elwood Machado.

There will also be multi-cultural children’s crafts, storytelling and activities. The Kauai Children’s Authors Guild will provide stories, local children’s books, coloring activities and mask-making. Nicole Sakurai will offer Japanese crafts for children.

On Sunday, the Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church will hold a special service dedicated to Princess Kaiulani at 10 a.m.

Info: 335-0712, email director@storybook.org, and visit www.storybook.org.

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