Taro festival growing

Nido Mahodocon Jr., who has been the Taro Fest master of ceremony for 10 years, said the event has gotten larger. “Production of taro is progressing,” he said. Event coordinator Judy Kinser said the festival provides “a real boost” to the economy of Hana. Ho’oleia Kaeo and a group of his Hawaiian studies students from the University of Hawaii Maui College started the event off with an oli. There were vendors and information booths on the Hana Ball Park field. UH-MC students taught poi and kapa pounding; apu awa, or the making of coconut cups for awa; and pupu, or traditional fish-net weaving. Elsewhere on the grounds, there was hula and music. On Sunday, there was the taro pancake breakfast at Hana Bay and excursions to farms in East Maui.

First photo: Vendors and shoppers wander the Hana Ball Park field at the 21st East Maui Taro Fest on Saturday. Thousands of people converged on Hana on Saturday and Sunday for the event.

Second photo: Dancers Shy Tolentino (from left), Kaneau Kanakaole and Didi Krauss perform an auana hula as part of their halau’s first performance under kumu hula Kaui Kanaka’ole.

Third photo: Hale builder Francis Sinenci leads the Laulima Hale building competitors in a hula, demonstrating the vigor involved in the task.

Fourth photo: Auntie Tweetie Lind and 8-year-old Mikohu Hapakuka mix poi from their family farm, Kipahulu Ohana.