38th annual Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival slated this weekend

Join Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. this Saturday, July 13, for the 38th annual Cultural Festival at the Kahuku Unit.

Entrance into Kahuku and all Kahuku events are free. This year’s festival theme is E Ho‘omau: “to continue.” Last year’s festival was canceled because of the 2018 Kilauea eruption.

It will be a fun-filled, family-friendly day that shares the connection of Hawaiian people to this storied place on Mauna Loa volcano.

Kahuku is on the mauka side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, a 50-minute drive south of the national park’s main entrance.

Performers at this year’s festival are Debbie Ryder and Halau O Leionalani, Russell Mauga and Da Kahuku Mauka Boyz, Mamo Brown and Halau Ulumamo O Hilo Paliku, Demetrius Oliviera and Gene Beck of Keaiwa and Brandon Nakano and the Keawe Trio. Each performance will last about 45 minutes.

In addition to hula and mele, the festival offers visitors and the community a chance to connect to Hawaiian cultural practices through hands-on crafts and demonstrations. National Park Service and Hawaii Pacific Parks Association staff will provide oli, ti leaf lei making, lau hala weaving and ohe kapala (bamboo stamping) demos. Capt. Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa will ply imaginations with his authentic Hawaiian sailing canoe, while the Ka‘u Multicultural Society will share a fascinating glimpse into Kahuku Ranch’s not-so-distant past with their popular paniolo photography exhibit.

Hawaiian culture is deeply connected to the aina. Learn how to protect native species and the latest conservation efforts from organizations such as Imi Pono no ka Aina, rapid ohia death education and outreach, The Alala Project and NPS Natural Resources Management.

Festival-goers are welcome to bring a picnic lunch, or purchase food and drink at the event. Volcano House will have food for sale, the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will sell shave ice and soft drinks and Hawaii Pacific Parks Association will sell Ka‘u coffee and bottled water.

Sunscreen and a hat are recommended. Bring water, a rain jacket and a ground mat or chair. This wonderful family experience is a drug- and alcohol-free event.

Can’t make it? Follow the park’s official social media for live streaming, festival photos and more.

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