KOLOA — The Year of the Paniolo starts at 4:30 p.m. today with the commencement of the 34th annual Koloa Plantation Days.
The rodeo bash at the CJM Country Stables in Poipu will feature high-dollar roping, plenty of rowdy bulls, pupu and country music from the Kauai band Not My First Rodeo.
“We’ve been playing at the rodeo going on six years now,” band member Jim Hollingsworth said. “We love it every time, and we love the audience, and we love the country-living folks who attend.”
The rodeo will go until 10 p.m. It’s free for those 18 and under and $10 for those over.
“We do a lot of classic country. We do some original stuff, and we do a little bit of contemporary stuff, too,” Hollingsworth said.
“The food and the rodeo,” he says with a laugh when asked what he likes best about the gig. “For us, we love playing music and we love the crowd that loves music. I grew up with rodeo and horses, so for me it is just a great opportunity to go out and enjoy the facets of Western rodeo culture and great food, too.”
The fun continues on Saturday with the gates opening at the arena at 10:30 a.m. and the action ending at 3 p.m.
The Historic Hapa Trail Walk goes at 9 a.m. from St. Raphael Church at the end of Hapa Road.
Also on Saturday will be keiki fishing at Waita Reservoir from 1 to 4 p.m. (advance registration required), the festival opening and Sunset Ho‘olaule‘a at the Poipu Beach Athletic Club starting at 5 and ending at 8:30 p.m. featuring a free concert with John Cruz.
“The opening group is going to be the kids from the Koloa School,” said Peter Baldwin, treasurer for the Koloa Plantation Days. The second act will be Beat-Lele.
“They played last year at the park and they’re awesome,” Baldwin said, adding the group only plays Beatles music. “They’re four guys from Oahu. Three guys play ukulele and one guy plays drums.”
Following Beat-Lele, headliner Cruz will take the stage.
“His dad was Ernie Cruz, and he was called the ‘Waimea Cowboy’ back in the day,” Baldwin said. “I told his son, ‘you got to throw in one of dad’s country or cowboy songs,’ so hopefully he will throw in a couple of those.”
On Sunday, the festivities start at 10 a.m. with a miniature golf tournament for ages 13 and under at the Lawai Beach Resort, with registration at 9:30. The rodeo runs from 11 a.m with 3 p.m.
Byron Fernandes will perform free live music during the Happy Koloa Plantation Days event Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Old Koloa Town courtyard.
Plantation Days activities continue daily next week, with Hawaiian games, hikes, putting contests, exhibits and fire dancing. A highlight is the Parade and Park Celebration 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday through Koloa to Anne S. Knudsen Park on Maluhia Road, and the fun run on Sunday.
Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.