Powwow drums in Kapaa Friday

Approximately 500 school students will be treated to a special educational program to launch the 2016 Kauai Powwow on Friday at the Kapaa Beach Park.

The 18th Annual Kauai Powwow will be open to the public from Friday through Sunday.

“Friday is an international cultural exchange,” said Kaplan Bunce, president of the Kauai Powwow Council, host of the annual powwow. “Starting at 6 p.m. and running until 9 p.m., this is an opportunity for the community to see all of the different cultures come together and tying in with this year’s powwow theme of ‘Powwow in Paradise.’”

Bunce said the powwow will feature Native American Hoop Dance and will be joined by Tahitian dance during the cultural exchange.

“There will also be Native American drumming, taiko and African drumming,” he said.

Gates will open to the public from 4 p.m.

“Saturday and Sunday is 100 percent powwow,” Bunce said. “Gates open at 11 a.m. with the grand entry starting at 11:30 on both days. Saturday, the powwow goes until 9 p.m. and Sunday, the powwow ends at 6 p.m.”

Throughout the powwow, there will be drumming, dancing, storytelling, traditional Native American foods, a silent auction, arts and crafts featuring Native American vendors from around the country, and Kauai-made crafters and vendors.

“This is a family-friendly event,” Kaplan said. “We will have a keiki section with games and activities. We will also have a food booth featuring organic, traditional Native American foods, and free drinking water.”

The drum, a significant part of Native American traditions and culture, is one of the focal points at the Kauai Powwow, providing the pulse and heartbeat of the event. Wildhorse Singers, a group from Los Angeles, California, is the co-host drum group for the Powwow in Paradise, and will be joined by 808 NDNZ, a drum group from Oahu that will also play at the 42nd Annual Honolulu Intertribal Powwow, Oct. 1 and 2, at the Magic Island Beach Park.

Jason Lozana Jr. is the Head Dancer Man, and Valeree Benali is the Head Lady Dancer. Eric Manualito is the Arena Director, and Arlie Neskahi will handle the Master of Ceremonies duty.

The Kauai Powwow “Powwow in Paradise” is sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the County of Kauai, the Kauai Powwow Council, Native lifeway, Zero Waste Kauai, Native American Church, Great Vacation Retreats, Malama Kauai, and Poipu Realty.

Information: www.kauaipowwow.com.

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