Kalo celebrated at the fishpond

HANALEI — Carla Dusenberry said she had to come to Waipa from the Westside to demonstrate her support of kalo and kalo farming.

“We have to show support from the Westside taro growers,” Dusenberry said Sunday at the 5th annual Kalo Festival held at the Halulu Fishpond across from the Waipa Foundation.

The event featured an array of activities, including traditional Hawaiian games, educational exhibits and hands-on activities, including making poi.

Vendors spread out among the tall ironwoods on the shores of Hanalei Bay, and participants were seranaded by a parade of entertainers guided by Stacy Sproat-Beck, the Waipa Foundation executive director.

Daphne and John McClure of Moloaa Bay Coffee were first-time vendors at the event hosted by the Waipa Foundation.

“They’ve had this for five years,” John said. “I can’t believe this is our first time here.”

The celebration of the Waipa Foundation and its many programs — which are aimed at restoring balanced stewardship, maximizing sustainability and inspiring a thriving community — opened with a pair of oli from the Waipa Keiki, who celebrated Waipa and spoke of a new day.

“Working in the loi is my favorite part,” said Jayda Candlaria, a Waipa Keiki who was busy squeezing citrus from the Waipa farms at the country store.

“We work, and learn Hawaiian culture and learn to respect the aina. We take hikes, but I like working in the loi.”

Visitors to the fundraising event could patronize the country store which featured Waipa poi and many other items from the farm.

There was also a silent auction and a logo shop featuring Waipa logowear and other unique North Shore fashions.

Food vendors, many featuring items inspired by kalo, filled the air with appetizing aroma.

Among those tempted was Chef Lee Anne Wong, one of the last four contestants of the first season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” television show, who was enjoying her fourth bagel at Jam On Kauai before heading to the judging of the largest kalo.

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