Wednesday nights are all about fire, food and family at Anaina Hou Community Park in Kilauea.
It’s the new fire show at Anaina Hou — “Ahi Lele” — presented by veteran performer Coppin Coburn and his ohana.
The show starts just before sunset, with Coburn setting the stage with storytelling.
As the sun goes down, he and his crewmembers start a fire the traditional way, with sticks and kindling. That kicks off an evening of Polynesian revue, with several styles of dancing from both men and women, including a segment that challenges dancers to walk barefoot through real flames.
Everyone on stage is part of the Coburn ohana, whether they’re technically family members or hanai, and the performance is professional and thrilling. It’s also lighthearted and familial, with Coburn and the crew joking with and jostling the audience members — and each other.
Be ready to join the crew on stage, too, as they’ll pull audience members out for challenges.
It’s also close quarters, with moments in the show bringing flaming torches just inches from audience members. At one point, Coburn and a couple other dancers demonstrate fire-eating in the middle of the crowd.
The juxtaposition of graceful movements and scorching fire come to life on the stage, situated in breezy darkness on the Porter Pavilion lawn.
And that atmosphere, combined with the style of the show, makes “Ahi Lele” (it means “fire dancing”) one of the more relaxed of the Polynesian revue shows on the island.
With plenty of space for kids to run around on the lawn fronting the Porter Pavilion and a home-style buffet dinner, this Polynesian fire show is separated from the rest of Kauai’s fire shows by its backyard, barbecue-type vibe.
That’s because Anaina Hou is evolving into one of the North Shore’s prime community centers, hosting events like Pau Hana Fridays and trivia nights, live music and farmers’ markets.
Start the day with a walk through mahogany groves on the Wai Koa Loop Trail, or play a round of mini golf in the botanical garden. Then, as Wednesday dinner time rolls around, Anaina Hou opens up the back wall of the Porter Pavilion and lays out a buffet spread of classic Hawaiian dishes.
As the Ahi Lele show starts, grab one of the chairs set up in the auditorium-style seating, or snag one of the tables set up around the edges, where you can still see the show and have a place to put your plate.
If you want alcohol, snacks or popcorn — made with coconut oil, salt on the side — you can buy them at a concession stand.
Admission is $69 per adult, $35 per child. There are a select few VIP front row seats available for $84 a person and kamaaina rates are available.
The show is held every Wednesday. Gates open at 6 p.m., and tickets are available online at anainahou.org/ahi-lele-fire-show.
Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or email@example.com.