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Waimea Town Celebration, a fundraiser… and much more

For 43 years Kaua‘i residents and visitors have gathered on the west side for a festival that tips its hat to the old days — quite literally, when one takes into account the number of paniolo (cowboys) running around during the annual Waimea Town Celebration.

You’ll see them clustered around the Friendship Do Ranch on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the Kaua‘i Paniolo Showdown Rodeo — getting ready to race barrels or for steer wrestling or team roping events. That’s a chance to catch some of Kauai’s hard working cowboys in action. You’ll also be able to check out some Hawai‘i-specific events like the Paniolo Po‘owalu and Double Mugging.

Paniolo hats are on display on Saturday for the Paniolo Hat Lei Contest at the old Waimea Sugar Mill — or perhaps more accurately, the hats are displaying the fine, handmade lei that will be turned in for the contest.

It’s open to anyone and there are different categories for age groups. If you want to see how your skills match up, you can submit an entry on Saturday morning between 7 and 8:30 a.m. and then come back for judging later in the day.

It’s all part of the nine-day festival that supports the nonprofit Historic Waimea Theater and Cultural Arts Center. The money raised during Waimea Town Celebration helps keep the Historic Waimea Theatre afloat. It also supports local schools, hula halau, canoe clubs and sports teams.

Among the huge lineup of events are cultural presentations and lu‘au, the Waimea Film Festival — that has its own lineup of films featured in the Hawai‘i International Film Festival — live music and the Friday and Saturday night Heritage of Aloha Ho‘olaule‘a.

The Ho‘olaule‘a is the two-day finale of the event and features a whole lineup of live music, local food, games for the keiki and a beer garden for the adults. Friday will feature bands like HAPA and Revival. Saturday features a full lineup of live music and an ice cream-eating contest at noon.

Today kicks off Music in Hofgaard Park, which features live bands and a lineup of food-related contests: the hot dog eating contest, the spam musubi eating contest and the kimchee eating contest; each on different days. Music in the park and contests run through Thursday.

Learn about Hawai‘i history from some of the state’s most prominent actors, storytellers and playwrights at the Historic Waimea Theatre on Thursday — and have dessert at the same time.

The lineup of events is stacked with fun for the whole family — Check out the official guide we printed in the Feb. 14 edition of The Garden Island newspaper or visit for a full list of events and times.

While the festival is first and foremost a fundraiser, it’s also a chance for Kaua‘i locals to gather and talk about the history of the ‘aina, to celebrate the sacrifices and triumphs made by those who came before, and to recognize the hand they had in making Kaua‘i what it is today. For old timers, it’s a time to share stories and pass on a few skills. For newcomers, it’s a chance to learn about Kaua‘i’s culture — both past and present.

Plan to check out a few events and take part in a few contests during the Waimea Town Celebration and you’ll get a glimpse of the way Kaua‘i has carried on the “Heritage of Aloha”.
Source: The Garden Island

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