Shark sighted in Hanapepe

HANAPEPE — The sight behind the Hanapepe Pop Warner Association cheerleaders was too much for the group of young girls Friday night.

They abandoned their station of redeeming tickets for one-pound containers of kalua pig to get a closer look at the 40-foot inflatable tiger shark which came to life at Hanapepe town’s Friday Night Art.

“This is the first time we’re inflating the shark outside the studio,” said Mark Jeffers of The Storybook Theater. “It’s so new, we just finished putting in the teeth this afternoon.”

The creation was done by Australian inflatable artist Evelyn Roth who left for Vancouver, Canada, Monday.

“This is No. 50,” Roth said. “I have been doing inflatable classrooms for a while, now. This is the latest, and I like how the colors have come together. It’s dark on the outside, but bright on the inside.”

More recently, Roth worked on the inflatable Living Reef which toured the Kukui Grove Center during the Father’s Day weekend. She had the reef inflated as a backdrop to the shark, the combination attracting the attention of a number of young keiki strolling the main street through Hanapepe town.

Originally, the shark was going to be a whale shark, Jeffers said. But as the sketches and preliminary work was being done, plans changed to make it a tiger shark because of the skeletal structure of the animal.

“What sets this apart is the stripes which give it the name tiger shark,” Jeffers said. “Its name is Francis, which does not sound so intimidating. I’m going to have to learn a lot more about sharks now.”

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