Blast from the past

Before the advent of television, much less smartphones, life was a just a little simpler.

At the turn of the 20th century, young fairgoers were greeted with games like coconut shy, hoop and stick, and tick tac toe — a far cry from the mechanized amusement rides or roller coasters found at many modern day carnivals.

It’s a change of pace that Grove Farm Homestead and Sugar Plantation Museum officials are hoping to revive through their annual Grove Farm Old Time Games fundraiser, slated from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 28 at the museum, 4050 Nawiliwili Road in Lihue.

“It’s another way for families to spend the day together, hopefully put away their phones, iPads, or what have you, be able to enjoy what life was like 100 years ago, and really feel the calmness and joy of the day,” said Grove Farm Museum Secretary Julie McLeod, who is helping organize the event.

Bygone games that will be featured include coconut shy (throwing), tick tac toe, knock ‘em down, hoop and stick, horseshoe throwing, potato sack races, pie-eating contests, three-legged races and jump rope contests.

One of the newest additions is a 10-act vaudeville show, featuring a mixture of specialty acts like comedy, song and dance performed by adult volunteers and creative arts students from Elsie H. Wilcox Elementary School.

“They’re going to do different kinds of acts based, hopefully, on vaudeville, but we’re leaving the creative side of it up to them,” McLeod said.

The vaudeville show is slated to begin at 1 p.m. on the front porch of the original plantation main house. A puppet show, meanwhile, will be performed throughout the day underneath the big kamani tree.

Other additions to the lineup are the expansion of the Grove Farm Museum’s Sweet Shoppe, featuring crafts and food items from local artisans, and the in-house construction of a high striker, or strongman, game.

“The feel of the era is what we’re trying to recreate,” McLeod said.

Entry to the event is $2, or $8 for families of four or more. Games cost $2, and races and contests are $1. No admission is required to watch the puppet and the vaudeville shows.

Money raised will benefit The Waioli Corporation, a Lihue-based nonprofit charged with preservation, conservation and education efforts for the Grove Farm, Waioli Mission House and Mahamoku Museums on Kauai.

In all, about 400 people attended last year’s games, where Grove Farm Museum volunteers raised about $2,500 for The Waioli Corporation.

Info: McLeod, 245-3202.


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