It will be all about the poi at the 20th annual East Maui Taro Festival this weekend in Hana. As usual, admission is free; and most of the lunch plates are in the $10 range and under.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, you may enjoy a farmers market, poi pounding, food booths, arts and crafts, live music and hula.
"We are expecting plenty of Hawaiian entertainers to honor Pekelo Cosmo, who died last year," says event coordinator Judy Kinser. "Most of the big-name musicians have played with him."
Kauiki Lind holds one of many bags of poi pounded fresh by the Kipahulu Ohana that will be for sale again at the 20th annual event.
Photo courtesy East Maui Taro Festival
"Of course, the food is about the same as every year - 20 booths, all featuring some taro dish, either as a main dish or a side."
Dive into Hana's famous taro-seafood chowder, squid luau and taro burgers. Keanae and Kipahulu taro growers will have poi, kulolo, fresh cooked taro chunks, taro bread and taro cookies for sale in the ag tent at Hana Ball Park.
This year, the food chairwoman is Doria Lind and she says there will also be beef burgers, shrimp tempura, grilled fish on taro buns, smoothies, funnel cakes, ice creams, beef luau, pork haha, pohole salad, inamona and Hawaiian plates.
Taro will also be a main ingredient in chips, rolls, mochi balls, chili, malasadas. poke, pasta, packaged snacks and desserts. Don't forget to bring shopping bags to fill with local fruits, vegetables and flowers of the exotic kind.
"Watch hands-on poi pounding by the UH-Maui College's Hawaiian Studies students," says Kinser. "It's a popular events supported in part by grants from the County of Maui as well as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
From 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Hana Business Council will sponsor the Taro Pancake Breakfast at Hana Bay. Sign up for tours later in the day to Kahanu Gardens and/or Kapahu Living Farm.
For further details, call 264-1553 or visit the website at www.tarofestival.org.