Saddle up for Koloa plantation days

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TGIFR!DAY file

    Kauai All Girl Rodeo Association members demonstrate patriotism during the Koloa Plantation Days parade before announcer BB Choi at Koloa Missionary Church on Poipu Road.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TGIFR!DAY file

    Plantation garb with real dirt smeared on some of the aprons graces walkers from Lawai Beach Resort during a previous Koloa Plantation Days parade.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Jacob Vogelgesang of the Sheraton Kauai Resort helps a youngster get a look at the live chicken in its cage atop the vegetable cart of the Lawai Beach Resort unit during a previous Koloa Plantation Days parade.

Evening outdoor movies at Poipu Beach Park kick off almost three weeks of celebration on Kauai’s Southside for Koloa Plantation Days.

Every year in July, the Southside is stacked with workshops and trail walks, volunteer opportunities and music, fishing, mini golf and storytelling — all celebrating the area’s history as the birthplace of sugar plantations in Hawaii and Hawaiian culture.

This year’s theme is Year of the Paniolo (cowboy).

Technically spanning July 19-28, the 2019.

Before the festival kicks off, the Rotary Club of Poipu will be hosting a July 12 showing of family-friendly movies by the ocean at Poipu Beach Park. A volunteer cleanup opportunity at the Tree Tunnel is set for the next day at 6 a.m.

The Friday Night Rodeo Bash provides the official kickoff for Koloa Plantation Days, where paniolo compete in events like team roping, bull riding and barrel racing. Also in the arena at CJM Country Stables is the keiki sheep-riding competition.

Dancing and live music from Not My First Rodeo, a beer garden and plenty of food follow the rodeo on Friday night, and rodeo activities continue on July 20 and 21.

That first weekend also provides opportunities for a walk through the St. Raphael Church campus and onto the adjacent, historic Hapa Trail, as well as fishing at Waita Reservoir.

A free concert featuring John Cruz and Beat Lele sets the stage for the 2019 Koloa Plantation Days opening celebration at Poipu Beach Athletic Club on Saturday. The event also features games, food trucks, and food from the Poipu Beach Athletic Club restaurant.

Mini golf and live music follows on Sunday, as well as the finals of the rodeo.

That kicks off a full week of opportunities to learn about the history, culture and ecology of Kauai’s Southside. Peruse craft fairs and take a tour of the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s McBryde Garden and take in a Polynesian revue and fire dancing.

Hike and learn how to do watercolor painting along the Maha‘ulepu coastline, learn plantation-style cooking, and try your hand in the Plantation Days Putting Contest at the Poipu Bay Resort Golf Club.

Saturday, July 27 brings the centerpiece event of Koloa Plantation Days, with the annual parade, set to start at 10 a.m. The route is set from Koloa School on Poipu Road to Anne S. Knudsen Park (Koloa ball park) on Maluhia Road, and ends with the annual day-long celebration of crafts, food, games, live entertainment, and much more, at the ball park following the conclusion of the parade.

During and after the parade, see decked-out cars and flower-covered floats and people dressed in historically accurate clothing on horseback and walking through the crowd, along with musicians and dancers.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit koloaplantationdays.com and watch for an insert in an upcoming edition of The Garden Island with a full schedule of the events and more stories and photographs.

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