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The Kaua‘i Okinawan Festival flies

Hundreds of Kaua‘i families and visitors flocked to the Kaua‘i Veterans Center on Friday and Saturday nights to take advantage of the activity at the Kaua‘i Okinawan Festival co-sponsored by the Kaua‘i chapter of Hui Alu and the County of Kaua‘i.

Jonathan Chun, one of the organizers as well as the emcee for two nights, said there was a lot of energy from both the entertainers, many coming from off-island, and people attending the event.

“The Ryukyu Koku Matsuri Daiko group really had the crowd going,” Chun said. “The performers, mostly from Maui, the Big Island and Honolulu, had the spectators wanting to jump into the arena to perform with the kids. On Kaua‘i, we could gather maybe six kids.”

Festival attendees were treated to a large variety of events, including an assortment of craft vendors, a country store, cultural displays, an exhibit from the Kaua‘i Bonsai Club and, of course, the food offerings that included yaki soba, Okinawa soba, champuru, Okinawa pork, fried chicken, pigs feet soup, and another local favorite, andagi.

The popularity of the food items created lines of patrons waiting for their favorite dish, especially the andagi, where the line stretched from the andagi station through nearly the length of the veterans center to the parking lot.

“Does she know they settled the debt ceiling?” Roy Nishida, an East Kaua‘i Lion and past district governor, asked when he realized U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda appeared at the festival to help with the andagi preparation. “She needs to catch a plane early so she can vote.”

Tokuda was just one of many diginitaries to visit the cultural event that poked its head out of the veil of pandemic. Others stopping by to enjoy the cultural and social offerings included state Reps. Luke Evslin and Nadine Nakamura, who brought along her mom from Honolulu and a brother from the mainland. Council Chair Mel Rapozo suggested we need to do something like this for the Portuguese people, while Council Member Bernard Carvalho Jr. readied for the bon dancing. Other council members visiting included Kipukai Kuali‘i, Billy DeCosta, Dr. Addison Bulsoan and Felicia Cowden.

Volunteers included the Key Club of Kaua‘i High School, the Shaka Hoops basketball program, and numerous individual helpers.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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