A steady stream of people flowed down the path along Halulu Fishpond at the Waipa Music and Mango Festival, held Sunday in the ahupuaa of Waipa near Hanalei.
Visitors to the festival, which benefited the Waipa Foundation, were able to savor the picturesque water of the pond which reflected tents housing crafters and culinary people working with mango.
“I can weave, even if everyone is talking mango,” said Lahela Correa who lounged under an ironwood tree with her lauhala strips. “This is such a beautiful place, and I’m glad they have events like this where we can come and enjoy. It’s a good place to see family and friends.”
Laced with music from home-grown groups such as Na Pali, Mike Keale, Hoa, The Kamaainas, Waipuna and Lady Ipo, visitors were guided through a myriad of crafters and information stations offering a variety of educational topics from invasive species to the watershed.
“This bowl has a pattern of Kauai,” said Bruce Orth, a woodworker. “This came from a mango tree which was felled outside the thrift store in Kilauea and has a natural pattern resembling the island. I like working with mango wood, but it’s not very common.”
Keiki could beat the muggy weather created by the passage of Tropical Storm Guillermo by indulging in the water features, while others engaged in canoe rides, stand-up paddling and even pony rides donated by community groups.
Others milled about trying to determine which mango-themed dish to try from the different food vendors.
“Mike Mitchell said he would watch my booth so I could have lunch,” said Jean Souza, the Kauai programs manager for the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “I got some Thai chicken with mango, and a green papaya salad with mango.”
Les Gushiken had no mango in the poi cinnamon raisin bread that he was offering at the information tent, but it was still popular.
“This is the complimentary bread I baked today while we’re waiting on the certified kitchen,” Gushiken said. “When we get the certified kitchen, we can bake things to help the kids when they have to travel.”
Other mango-related activities included the Best Mango Recipe contest, the Biggest Mango contest, and a silent auction to benefit the Waipa Foundation.
Kalen Kelekoma, the event coordinator for the Waipa Foundation, said the Music and Mango Festival is similar to the Kalo Festival which is coming up in December, except this is one was all about mango.