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Celebration of the Arts Festival Returns at Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

March 14, 2018, 11:17 AM HST · Updated March 19, 10:14 AM
Nikki Schenfeld · 0 Comments
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PC: The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Kapalua

For the 26th consecutive year, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will host Hawai‘i’s most reputable artisans, educators, cultural practitioners, speakers, and entertainers during the annual Celebration of the Arts Festival which will take place March 30 and 31, 2018.

The theme for the 2018 event is Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike, which translates to “In Work There Is Knowledge.”

The festival allows both visitors and locals the opportunity to experience authentic Hawaiian culture through various activities including hands-on art demonstrations, informative speaker panels, historic films, cultural panels, and traditional music and dance.

Nestled in one of Hawai‘i’s largest nature preserves, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua proudly maintains the Honokahua Preservation Site – a recognized “wahi pana” (sacred site) that lies adjacent to the resort, and serves as a destination where Native Hawaiians gather to conduct ceremonial rituals and honor their ancestors.

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The resort brought on the first Cultural Advisor to The Ritz-Carlton brand, Clifford Nae‘ole, who co-created the Celebration of the Arts Festival to further enrich and educate guests and locals about the resort’s deep Hawaiian cultural roots and historical surroundings.

“I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Celebration of the Arts Festival grow and evolve over the past 26 years since its inception in 1992,” says Nae‘ole. “We are proud to be able to continue to honor our native Hawaiian culture and instill that same appreciation and respect in our resort guests and island locals.”

Throughout the weekend, festival participants will enjoy traditional Hawaiian oli (chants), music, hula, cultural ceremonies, and impromptu performances that reflect upon the spirit of aloha that the islands are known for.

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The “Celebration of Island Tastes” will culminate the weekend festivities bringing together the foods of traditional Hawai‘i and the contemporary cuisine of local families.

A sampling of Celebration of the Arts Festival activities include:

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hiuwai & E ala e – A native Hawaiian cleansing and sunrise protocol, this is an annual tradition of the Celebration of the Arts. Guests are invited to join cultural practitioners for an invigorating ceremony guaranteed to rejuvenate the body and spirit. Chants are offered by all to the rising sun. Attendees are asked to bring swimwear and towels.

Ka Wai A Kāne (‘Awa Ceremony) – Practitioners and participants gather to pledge their support to all things Hawaiian by sipping the sacred and bitter waters of Kane—‘awa. *Participation by invite only. Public viewing is encouraged. Photography is not permitted.

Wehe ka i puka (Opening Protocol) – Emotions and spirituality run high as traditional chants of genealogy and the islands are expressed by practitioners asking permission to be a part of the Celebration of the Arts. The Namahana Award of Excellence will be presented to kupuna (elders) who have dedicated their lives to serving the culture.

Nana I Ke Kumu – A panel of traditional Hawaiian practitioners take a deeper look at local, raw materials and bring forth objects of beauty from an era long before.

Hands-on & Contemporary & Traditional Art, Crafters and Farmers Market – Village Gallery artists, traditional cultural artists, crafters and local farmers bring the event to life. Guests are invited to cruise and/or create.

Hula is Life – Join Kumu Hula Kamaka Kukona in a unique opportunity to really experience hula. Hands, feet, eye and hip coordination in rhythm to traditional Hawaiian implements.

Out of State, Documentary Film – Powerful film of Native Hawaiians within the confines of an Arizona Prison. They find the “Hawaiian-ess” while there, but what happens upon their return?

Celebration After Hours – Grammy Award winner Kalani P‘ea and his band celebrates music at its best. DJ Scotty closes the night. Event is for ages 21 years and over, a valid ID is required.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Riding a Different Current – A fascinating discussion involving Hōkūle‘a Captain and Navigator, Nainoa Thompson and his spouse, KHON2 news anchor Kathy Muneno, as well as Billy Richards, Hōkūle‘a Captain and his spouse, Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Hawaiian Airlines Community Relations Director. While their husbands ride the waves of the ocean, Kathy appears on the airwaves and Debbie rides the currents of the air.

Na Wahine… Na Alaka‘i… Women… Leaders – Dynamic women of Hawai‘i have elected to say “it’s time!” How empowered do they feel as women trying to make a difference? What drives their passion and what challenges do they face? Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee, Carmen Hulu Lindsey; local watchdog and activist, Mahina Martin; Founder of the National Women’s March organizer, Teresa Shook.

The Celebration of Island Tastes – Back for a “hana hou” (curtain call) from last year’s Celebration of the Arts Festival. Local families will prepare their specialties for everyone to enjoy with accompanying music live music and hula. *Purchase of ticket is required

Celebration After-Hours – Maui’s own Ikaika Blackburn and “Na Hoa” lay it all out with their CD release party. Now becoming a Celebration of the Arts tradition, Saturday night is reserved for the expose of new songs and dances. osh Kahula and his band ‘Nuff Sedd also return to the center stage to rock the night away. The event is for ages 21 years and over, a valid ID is required.

For more information on Celebration of the Arts and additional 26th Anniversary events, click here.

Nikki Schenfeld
Nikki joined the Maui Now team in 2016 as a writer/reporter. Originally from Chicago, she has had internships with CBS2 Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago where she had the opportunity to interview some of Chicago's best athletes. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Maui in 2013.
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