Displays, food and entertainment all part of Maui Okinawan Festival

The Maui Okinawan Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Maui Mall.

There will be Okinawan food for sale, entertainment, local craft vendors, professional photo sessions in traditional Okinawan wear and activities for the whole family. The theme for this year’s festival is “Celebrating Our Uchinanchu Spirit.”

The event is free.

A cultural display will share information about the Okinawan culture and how it has evolved over the years. Visitors can read about 13th century Ryukyu Islands, known today as Okinawa, and learn about the royal monarchy that once ruled. There will be artifacts unique to Okinawa and information about the Chinese and Japanese influences on the arts and culture.

A display on the Battle of Okinawa, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, will be available along with information on the aftermath of World War II that forced the Okinawan people to harness ingenuity, work together and fight to survive, a news release about the event said.

This year, there also will be a special display highlighting the real experiences of 10 women who lived in Okinawa during World War II and after. They hid in caves to survive during the Battle of Okinawa and lived through the difficulty that followed. Their stories and some of their post-war inventions, which they have re-created for this display, will be part of the exhibit.

In addition to educational presentations by experts on Okinawan culture, there will be food demonstrations of traditional and modern Okinawan dishes. A different presentation will begin every half-hour, starting at 10 a.m. The presentation schedule will be available at the information tent during the festival.

The Okinawan Genealogical Society of Hawaii from Oahu will be located at the cultural display. People interested in tracing their Okinawan family roots or learning more about Okinawan culture and heritage are invited to stop by.

The cultural display will be located between Genki Sushi and The Pet Shop and will be open throughout the festival. The display will reopen from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 22.

Contact Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai at 242-1560 for more information.