Heiva this weekend in Kapaa

Sydney White of Urahutia Productions was nervous about the 16th annual Heiva I Kauai Saturday and Sunday at Kapaa Beach Park.

“I did dance in the Heiva before,” said White, a dancer with the Anahola-based halau. “But it’s been a while.”

White, who performed during the Koloa Plantation Days polynesian revue, will be in the youth individual dance competition, a highlight of Heiva I Kauai, a Tahitian dance and drumming competition.

“Sydney should do well,” said Minei Oliver Martin, kumu for Urahutia. “She’s performed on Maui and at other events and won several awards for her performances.”

The dance competition has attracted groups and soloists from California, Kona, Honolulu, and Kauai, said Pat Finberg, Heiva spokesperson. “We have added an amateur youth category giving the younger generation, and less experienced performers a venue and opportunity to compete among their peers.”

Galilea Mercado of Hula Halau o Leilani is another participant in the solo competition, being entered for the first time.

She will be joined by her hula sister Mahia Lum who has been dancing for three years. The girls were part of the halau that performed during the Sunset Hoolaulea at the Koloa Plantation Days celebration.

“Mahia is nervous now,” said Leilani Low, kumu for Hula Halau o Leilani. “But she should do well because she’s won awards at other Polynesian festivals. My daughter, Ariel Leilani Bond, is helping teach and coach these girls. We haven’t had much time to work on the Heiva because of Koloa Plantation Days, but now, it’s time to really get ready.”

Between the exhibition and competition, patrons to Heiva I Kauai can enjoy offerings from more than 40 vendors. There will be demonstrations in coconut frond weaving, lauhala weaving, Polynesian carving and lei making.

Admission is $7 for adults. Children 12 and under are free.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

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