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Strings, sings and sweet things

Banjos and steel guitars, lei making and Cajun cooking are all on tap in Kokee State Park Friday through Sunday, Nov. 22 to 24, for the third annual Kauai Old Time Gathering.

It’s a weekend of music and workshops, cook-offs and dancing in the Kokee Lodge and adjoining meadow, and all are welcome to drop in for a day or spend the night in rented cabins or tent camping.

Produced by the nonprofit Hale Puna, the event harkens back to history and has a little something for everyone, said Hale Puna’s Fanny Rose Ballantine-Himberg.

She plays banjo, cello and guitar, and heads up the organization’s restoration of the historic Gulick-Rowell House in Waimea, as well as planning the Old Time Gathering.

“We celebrate the traditional music and crafts of Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. We are much more focused on sharing skills than performance,” Ballantine-Himberg said. “Attendees participate in workshops with world-class musicians and teachers. Lots of dancing and food, too.”

This year workshops include Hawaiian steel guitar, hula, square dance, Cajun dance and cooking, fiddle, banjo, pakini and upright bass, ukulele, leo ki‘eki‘e, lei-making and body percussion. Featured artists include Magnolia Sister, Lone Pinon, Walt Keale, Don Kaulia, Nick Castillo, and Vanessa and Ed Punua.

At the Kokee Old Time Festival, the experience is more immersive than sitting back and taking in the tunes — workshops put you next to professional musicians who will teach you how to play or help expand your skillset.

Learn how to make a lei or join a square dance, get some tips on harmonizing, or stop by other booths for workshops on basket-weaving, fiddle, guitar and pakini bass, or hula and body percussion.

There will be two outdoor stages and events happening inside the historic Kokee Lodge. Food will be farm-to-table, with American, Puerto Rican, Cajun and local-style.

Breadfruit is also front and center, with an ulu cookoff with prizes for the best dishes.

Make sure dishes are at the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp in Kokee by 11 a.m. Saturday.

Camping reservations have been open since June, and are mostly filled up. Tent camping may be available. Check the Kokee Old Time website for availability.

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Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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