Koloa Plantation Days goes virtual

  • Courtesy of Koloa Plantation Days

    The Koloa Plantation Days’ vice president Bertram Almeida and president Arryl Kaneshiro visit the Kaneshiro Farms during a taping for this year’s Koloa Plantation Days celebration.

  • Courtesy of Koloa Plantation Days

    Dr. Robert Zelkovsky rolls video as a Kaneshiro Farm horse interrupts Val Kaneshiro’s remarks about the Kaneshiro family.

  • Courtesy of Koloa Plantation Days

    Mamo Kaneshiro and Ada Koene wait and watch as Dr. Robert Zelkovsky tapes Val Kaneshiro for the Koloa Plantation Days tribute to the Kaneshiro Farms, this year’s Grand Marshal.

KOLOA — Whenever you eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner, think about the farmer, Mamo Kaneshiro told the Koloa Plantation Days committee.

Mamo, one of the generational members of Kaneshiro Farms, will be featured in a virtual setting on the day the Koloa Plantation Days parade and day-long Ho‘olaule‘a was going to take place in downtown Koloa, July 25.

“Please note that this year’s festival has been canceled due to COVID-19,” states a notice on the Koloa Plantation Days website. “Instead, follow us for a virtual event on July 25 to get together, plantation style.”

The Kaneshiro ‘ohana, including Mamo, Val Kaneshiro, Darryl Kaneshiro, and Arryl Kaneshiro and their families represent Kaneshiro Farms that is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year as the parade’s Grand Marshal.

“Kaneshiro Farms represent agriculture and its influence during the plantation days era,” said Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, the event coordinator for the 10-day Koloa Plantation Days festivities. “Every plantation house had a backyard garden, and the Kaneshiro family, starting with hogs and moving through sheep, livestock, and now the budding hemp growing, represents the advancement of agriculture through the farm’s 100 years.”

The video of the interview with the Kaneshiro ‘ohana takes place on their farm, and will be joined by previous Koloa Plantation Days celebrities, many of whom are gone, during the virtual get-together. Links to the presentation can be found on the Koloa Plantation Days website at www.koloaplantationdays.com, or through the Facebook social media site.

“How fitting that it was 100 years ago that, in 1920, ‘Ojiji,’ our Kaneshiro grandfather, started selling his fresh pork around Banana Camp in Koloa Town to supplement his sugar plantation income for his 11 children,” said Val Kaneshiro. “The farm grew, and in the 1940s, Uncle Seiso, Uncle Sugar, and Uncle Sei moved the family out to the country and the current location here in Omao.”

Local author Ada Koene developed a deep friendship with the Kaneshiro family, and the ‘ohana will be one of the features in the Koloa Plantation Days book that is scheduled to print later.

“I can’t put it in your hands at this moment,” McFerrin-Warrack said. “But it will be available when it’s printed later. The book will feature the many stories of Plantation Days past, including the personalities that were responsible for building Koloa and the Kaua‘i south shore to what it is, today.”

Koloa Plantation Days is traditionally held on Kaua‘i’s south shore during the month of July to celebrate the contributions the many ethnic groups had on the sugar industry and the development of communities such as Koloa town.

“However, times change,” Val said. “Things change, and after 100 years of Kaneshiro fresh island pork, we can’t continue the pigs. Some good things must come to an end. The Kaneshiro family members will be expanding into other agricultural ventures like sheep and hemp.”

This celebration is presented through music, dance, costuming, and food throughout ten days, ending with the virtual get-together, July 25.

“This is just a part of change for the Koloa Plantation Days,” McFerrin-Warrack said. “We’re taking this opportunity to upgrade our electronic offerings, the first step of many towards modernizing the offerings to both residents and visitors. We’re planning more events as we move ahead.”

A full list and times for the various events through the 10 days can be found on www.koloaplantationdays.com.

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