Festival in Hana all about taro

Children from Halau Na Kaulakuhikuhi hold taro plants at an earlier East Maui Taro Festival.

Children from Halau Na Kaulakuhikuhi hold taro plants at an earlier East Maui Taro Festival.

The 25th annual East Maui Taro Festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Hana Ballpark. Admission is free. The event focuses on kalo/taro as a staple food of the Hawaiian diet, as well as being the symbolic “Elder Brother” of Native Hawaiians.

The festival features all-day hula and music, local arts and crafts, a farmers market with all types of taro for sale, hands-on cultural activities, and 20 food booths, each with a main taro dish or side.

This year the Queen’s Challenge Taro/Kalo Competition will be part of the event, open to all taro farmers on Maui growing Hawaiian taro varieties in two categories — wetland or dryland. Entries must be Hawaiian taro varieties found in Bulletin 84: Taro Varieties in Hawaii (1939) and a two-point advantage will go to taro grown organically in honor of Queen Emma’s proficiency in growing kalo and caring for the soil.

The East Maui Taro Festival Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501c3 organization, supported in part by a grant from the County of Maui Office of Economic Development.

For more information, visit www.tarofestival.org.

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