HANAPEPE — Have you ever wondered what life was like in a plantation camp on Kauai?
Did you grow up in a plantation camp and would like to share your stories and reflections of those by-gone days.
This year’s Hanapepe History Day is the right place for you to be on 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 as Storybook Theatre and Kauai Soto Zen Temple presents “Plantation Camps of West Kauai,” a morning and early afternoon of sharing the sights and sounds of camp life.
Part of the history day event is to celebrate the cultural, social, and historical aspects of the community, centering on Hanapepe town and its environs.
As an open town, Hanapepe was the hub that served the plantation communities on the Westside of the island.
This year we are focusing on the plantation camps of McBryde and Olokele. We have identified and mapped all of Olokele’s 10 camps and 13 of McBryde’s 18 camps.
The morning agenda includes speaker Chris Cook, who will provide historical background information, a panel of residents to share their own knowledge of growing up and living in those camps, and solicit information from other segments of the public to give a wider perspective of life during that plantation era.
An important part of the event is to make an excursion to these camps, visiting specific areas of what remains, such as camp houses, mill sites, monuments or landmarks that can shed some light on a past that is disappearing rapidly.
Two years ago, an excursion to McBryde’s Wahiawa Camp Two unveiled old railroad trestles, a camp store, remnants of old homes, community structures, pedestrian pathways, and sewer ditches.
The event will be held at the Storybook Theatre of Hawaii, 3814 Hanapepe Road, and it includes a luncheon provided by area restaurants and a guided tour of one of the old plantation camp sights.