Local stories and information about Kauai events, music festivals, kids activities, arts culture and more.

May Day is Lei Day on Kauai

Whale Watching Season on Kauai

whale-watching-kauaiIf you want to see whales, now is the time. On Kauai, sightings have been extremely frequent this year. While Humpback whales visit the islands every year, the peak season is in January and February. This is when most of the calving takes place, so be sure to keep your eye out for juvenile whales that are just learning to play.

There is something rather exhilarating about witnessing a 40-ton animal launching out of the water only to fall back to sea with an explosive splash! If you have never seen this event, there are really no words to describe it. Wildlife enthusiasts do not want to miss this event.

If you are visiting Kauai, this is one of those treats that you can see for free. Whales can viewed just about anywhere along the coast, but you can enhance your experience by choosing one of Kauai’s beautiful beaches. One of my favorite spots to see whales is along the Coastal Path on the East Side. If you are looking for a more up close and personal experience, joining a whale watching boat tour is definitely the way to go.

While a full breach is absolutely the most exciting display that you may see, you might also see a number of other interesting whale behaviors. With extremely elongated pectoral fins that easily measure a third the length of their body, they may wave or slap the water in what is called a pec wave, or pec slap. A thundering tail or peduncle slap is also fairly common. This can be quite entertaining if it is repeated and you might get a show that lasts for several minutes.

Humpback whales are also known as kohola in Hawaii. They migrate each year from the food-rich icy waters of Alaska, traveling nearly 3000 miles to the Hawaiian Islands. This journey can take them nearly two months. They come to Hawaii to mate and birth their young in the warm, tropical waters here. They will stick around and delight us for about 6-8 weeks before returning to their summer home to feed.

Watching whales is just one of the amazing things that you can do while on Kauai. If you like marine life, try snorkeling at one of Kauai’s best snorkeling spots, or you might want to take a stroll along the Kauai’s South Shore to watch the turtles feeding at high tide. If you are lucky, you might even get to see the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal. They often haul themselves out onto the warm sunny sand to rest. If wildlife is your thing, Kauai is the place to be!

Kauai Breadfruit Festival

Mark your calendars for the first ever Breadfruit  Festival on Kauai. This fun and cultural event is a Free Family event happening  this Sunday, September 15th 2013 from 9am -3pm at The National Tropical Botanical Gardens – South shore Visitors Center in Poipu.

Enjoy a day of Hawaiian cooking, culture, music and activities highlighting ulu (breadfruit) and kalo (taro).  There will be exciting cooking demonstrations by Celebrity Chef Sam Choy and presentations by multiple cultural practitioners.

The staff and volunteers of NTBG  invite attendees to participate in a variety of demonstrations including:  system of processing `ulu into flour using a manual shredder, solar drier, and pedal-powered grinder.

There will be a shuttle from offsite parking on the western bypass road near the roundabout-across from The Shops at Kukui`ula starting at 8:30 a.m.  No coolers or beach chairs will be accommodated.

Visit the Kauai.com Event Calendar for Kauai events and things to do: Kauai Event Calendar

Ten Days of Fun Family Activities at Koloa Plantation Days

Koloa Plantation DaysJuly is one of the best months to visit Kauai. The weather is warm, the flowering trees are in bloom, and summer is full swing. There are countless summer activities to enjoy here on Kauai that include snorkeling, surfing, taking a boat ride and enjoying the beaches. But something special happens in July on Kauai’s South shore. While Koloa and Poipu boast some of the most beautiful beaches and stunning vistas, there is also a lot of history on Kauai’s South Shore. Koloa Plantation Days in an annual event that celebrates the history and heritage of Kauai’s first sugar plantation as well as the ethnic diversity of the plantation workers that came to Kauai from Japan, the Philippines, Europe, China, Korea and elsewhere.

Koloa Plantation days is held every year in July; this year it kicks off on July 19th, 2013 with a rodeo and Paniolo Barbeque and runs for ten days. The cool thing about this festival is that there are a ton of events and most of them are free, and you can learn a lot about the history of the sugar plantations on Kauai.

Koloa Plantation was the first plantation in the sate of Hawaii. You may catch a glimpse of the mill sitting in a field as you drive towards Poipu, but it no longer processes sugar and is slated for demolition in the near future. The mill is normally off limits, but for this special event a permit is granted so that folks with a reservation can enjoy a free tour of the mill and the Wilcox tunnel. During this event, Stella Burgess and Arryl Kaneshiro will share historical information about the mill and talk story and reminisce about plantation life. But this is only one of many events that will take place.

Koloa MIll

Koloa MIll

Other events include, a miniature golf tournament, keiki fishing at Waita reservoir, a plantation cooking demonstration, movie night, traditional Hawaiian games, a historical walking tour, a coastal hike at Mahaulepu, a charity tennis match, a Polynesian review with fire dancing, a pastel class, and a plantation heritage craft fair to name just a few. Since most of the events are free, some require reservations. Make sure to check the Koloa Plantation Days website for more information about specific events.

The festival of events culminates in the annual Historic Koloa Plantation Days Parade and Park Celebration held on Saturday July 27, 2013, from 10am-5pm at Koloa Ball Park. The Park Celebration features local craft vendors, food booths, live music and Hawaii’s favorite comedians, Frank Delima and Augie T. The kids can cool off in the water-slides after jumping in the bounce house or find the kids tent where they can play games and make crafts. There is a $3 fee to attend the all-day event and kids under 12 are free. For more information or a detailed schedule you can visit the Koloa Plantation Days website. Make sure to schedule some time during your Kauai vacation to enjoy some of these unique, local events. For more information on upcoming events check out the Kauai Event Calendar.

Koloa Plantation Days Schedule of Events

July 19 – July 28, 2013
Island culture & plantation history , sports & outdoor recreation
Kids & family activities * Celebration events with live entertainment

FRIDAY – July 19
Plantation Days Rodeo – Preliminary Roping & American West Barrel Racing
at CJM Stables, 11am-3pm. 742-6096.
Paniolo Cookout & Music at CJM Stables, 4-8pm. $5 entry. 635-3053.

SATURDAY – July 20
Poipu Kai Charity Tennis Summer Challenge, 8am-4:30pm.
$25 entry fee. Entry deadline: July 13. 634-6050.
Historic Hapa Trail Walk from St. Raphael’s Church, by Kōloa Community Assn. 9am. 651-1332.
Plantation Days Rodeo Preliminary Roping at CJM Stables, 11am-5pm. 742-6096.
Keiki Fishing at Waita by Kaua’i ATV, 1-4pm. RSVP required. 742-2734.
Polynesian Revue & Fire Dancer, Po’ipū Shopping Village 7:30-8:30pm. 742-2831.

SUNDAY – July 21
Poipu Kai Charity Tennis Summer Challenge, 8am-2pm. Semi/Finals. 634-6050.
Pō’ipū Kai Keiki Tennis Fun, 2-4pm for ages 7-14. 634-6050.
Miniature Golf Tournament, ages 13 & under, Lāwa’i Beach Resort, 10am. 240-5179.
14th Annual Plantation Days Rodeo at CJM Stables. Pre-rodeo entertainment,
$2 adults, children free ($1 goes to YMCA). 11am-3:30pm. 742-6096.

MONDAY – July 22
Makawehi Sand Dune Hike, Grand Hyatt Kaua’i, Seaview Terrace 8am. 742-1234.
Plantation Days Exhibit & Historic Film Night, The Shops at Kukui’ula.
Exhibit opens 6pm, 7:30pm film. Exhibit open until Friday. 742-9545.

TUESDAY – July 23
Koloa Plantation Days Craft Fair, Kōloa Landing, 9am-1pm. 742-1888.
Koloa Before Sugar at KoloaUnion Church, 3pm. 332-0303.
Mixed Plate – Live Music at Old Kōloa Town Courtyard, 5-8pm. 245-7238.

Coastal Hike by Mālama Māhā’ulepū. 9:30-11:30am. Meet at CJM Stables. 346-1509.
Traditional Hawaiian Games, Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation, 10am-12pm. 742-6411.
Plantation Treats at Kaua’i Culinary Market, The Shops at Kukui’ula, 4-6pm. 742-9545.

THURSDAY – July 25
Look Back Through the Sugar Era, Old Koloa  Mill, by Grove Farm. 9-11am. 245-3678×222
Plantation Days Putting Contest, Poipu Bay Resort Golf Club, 2-4pm. 742-8711.
Movies in the Park by Rotary of Po’ipū Beach, 8pm screening, 652-2136.

FRIDAY – July 26
Māhā’ulepū Watercolor Class by Malama Mahulepu. Fee for supplies or bring
your own. 9am-noon. 346-1509.
Talk Story: Sweet Memories of Old Kōloa, Kōloa Union Church, 4:30pm. 332-0303.
Old Kōloa Town Historical Walk departing from Kōloa School, 5:30pm. 332-5201.

Annual Parade & Park Celebration
HISTORIC PARADE – 10am, Kōloa Town.
Floats, marching units, riders, classic cars & the Pacific Fleet Band
PARK CELEBRATION – 10am-5pm, Anne Knudsen (Kōloa) Park.
Food, Crafts, Keiki fun, Live Entertainment! $2 admission. 652-3217.

SUNDAY – July 28
Family Fun Run/Walk by Kukui’ula Canoe Club. Race fees apply. 7-10am. 635-0165.
Keoki’s Ukes in Paradise Keiki ‘Ukulele Competition at Keoki’s Paradise.
10am start. Free contest entry includes lunch and t-shirt. 742-7534.

Keeping Hula Alive

Kumu hula (hula instructor) Leinaa'ala Pavao Jardin dancing auana style. Photo courtesy Leina'ala Pavao Jardin

Kumu hula (hula instructor) Leinaa’ala Pavao Jardin dancing auana style. Photo courtesy Leina’ala Pavao Jardin

Kauai hula instructor Leinaala Pavao Jardin began dancing hula when she was three years old, continuing through high school and college, after which she began teaching. Here is an excerpt of her journey from a little girl dancing hula to becoming an instructor from the book,“Kauai Stories.”

Note: Hula, the iconic dance of the Hawaiian islands, was almost lost entirely in the 1820s when missionaries, who came to Hawaii to share their values, pushed heavily for the cultural dance to be prohibited. Hula was banned until the 1870s when laws against “public hula” were gradually lifted.

“Hula is my passion. When I dance, I feel humbled but filled with pride. We are fortunate to be able to dance hula because it was lost for so long.

In ancient times, women were totally forbidden from doing the hula. It was done only by men who would do it to prepare for battle. So a lot of the ancient hula, it’s very vigorous, like if you put a spear in their hands they could hurt someone. Eventually the men started to go off to war and that is when the women took a liking to hula. I always joke that it’s like everything in life: men started it, women learned how, we got better at it and we took over.

There are two types of hula: kahiko, the ancient, and auana, which is more modern and was developed after the missionaries arrived in Hawaii. Kahiko is very traditional; these are very old mele (songs) talking about the birth of the islands, gods and restating history.

In hula, normally if you’re writing a song about a loved one, you don’t even make mention of that loved one. You compare that person to a special flower or a special bird. Composers use the blossom as a metaphor for a loved one or a relationship. If a song is about surfing, the surfboard going in and out of the waves could be a metaphor for making love. That’s why when teaching hula, I’ve got to research the mele. You can’t just pick a song and teach it!

I want my students to feel love for the hula because you are sharing our culture. You have to put yourself in that location that the song is written about. If you’re dancing about Kokee, you better feel the chill of that mountain climate when you’re dancing so your audience can feel it.

When my niece, Jaedyn, was nine years old, I entered her in the Miss Keiki (Child) Hula competition. She was going to dance to a song named after the waterfalls in Hanapepe Valley. I wanted her to see the falls, to feel the mist on her skin.
A week before the competition, we chartered a helicopter and landed there. Jaedyn danced at the base of the waterfall and we cried and we all got wet from the spray of the falls. The next week, she won Miss Keiki Hula.”

Leina’ala Pavao Jardin will talk more about her life in hula on Saturday June 1, 2013 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Kauai Museum, followed by a short performance by some of her students. For more info: (808) 651-3533,

Kauai Performing Arts Anything Goes

Anything-Goes-SmallThe Kauai Performing Arts Center will be presenting “Anything Goes” a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Cole Porter at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

This timeless classic has some of musical theatre’s most memorable songs including; “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” “You’re the Top,” and of course, “Anything Goes.”The book was a collaborative effort by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The New York Times calls it “MUSICAL-COMEDY JOY” and USA TODAY hails it as “GLORIOUS and EXUBERANT!”

Dennis McGraw directs this production with choreography by Marc Sicignano and Sarah Smith, and musical direction by Nina Saraos. Performances will take place at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu‘e on April 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are available at the door or in advance from any of the performers.

Adults: $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Students: $8 in advance, $10 at the do.

For more information contact Dennis Mc Graw 808 651-2417

Talk Story With Elvrine Chow

Kauai lei-maker Elvrine Chow to talk story May 18 at Kauai Museum at 10:30 a.m.

Kauai lei-maker Elvrine Chow, who specializes in haku leis that are worn around the forehead, will talk story about her love of leis and why she still enjoys making leis 30 years after she was introduced to the art, Saturday May 18 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Kauai Museum. After her talk, Chow will give teach the audience how to make a haku lei.

Chow, who sells haku leis at the Kauai Community Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, is often greeted by visitors who tell her that she is the only person they have met who makes leis. “I meet the most amazing people from all over the world. Sometimes there are three or four languages being spoken under my tent at Farmers Market,” she says.

The conversation will be facilitated by Pamela Varma Brown, author of the book Kauai Stories: Life on the Garden Island told by Kauai’s People, a collection of 50 inspiring, touching and humorous stories about island life, available for purchase at the museum.

This talk story event is part of the Kauai Museum’s ongoing “Author Series,” highlighting talented local writers, said Melisa Paterson, the museum’s public relations specialist.

Admission is $10; free to museum members. For more information, please call Kauai Museum at 245-6931.

Hanalei School Presents Starry Nights

Hanalei School Starry Nightsghts_kauaiThe  Hanalei School PTSA will be hosting a silent auction, live auction, dancing, and much more. to benefit the children and teachers of Hanalei School.  Enjoy a night of fun and entertainment on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at the St Regis Hotel Princeville Resort.

The Hanalei  PTSA,  is a  501(c)3 non-profit association, and works hard every tear to provide many opportunities for the students such as Art, Music, PE, Drama, Garden, Part-time Teachers, Teacher Supplies and Teacher Support, and much more….. The proceeds from Starry Nights benefits the children and the teachers of Hanalei Elementary.

General Admission is $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

VIP tickets, which are only $75, include admission and a Three-Course meal at Makana Terrace, quantities are limited.

Tickets available at:

Hanalei Surf Company, Hanalei Strings, Healthy Hut, Magic Dragon Toy and Art Supply

Form more information check out Calendar of Events or call Amy Frazier 808-639-9011

Outstanding in the Field Returns To Kauai

Outstanding in the Field Brings Its Long Table to Kauai

Roving “restaurant without walls” to visit farms on Kauai and Oahu

Thursday, January 24
Olana Organic Farm – Kilauea, Kauai with host farmer Tim O’Connor
Guest chef: Ron Miller – Hukilau Lanai, Kapaa

This will be Outstanding in the Field’s second visit to Olana Farm, a fantastic dinner site on the stunningly beautiful North Shore of Kauai. “Farmer Tim is a wonderful host and we’re really looking forward to seeing him again,” said OITF founding chef and artist Jim Denevan. “The incredible variety of fruits and vegetables he grows are the healthiest looking plants you’ll ever see.”  Some or many of them will go into the outdoor feast prepared by Chef Ron Miller of Hukilau Lanai. Everything comes full circle in Chef Ron’s kitchen. The restaurant’s food scraps are picked up nightly by a local pig farmer, and one of those well-fed hogs may well be on the menu for this event. $190 pp all inclusive.

Since 2003, OITF founding chef and artist Jim Denevan and his culinary caravan have traveled around North America to create outdoor dining events at country farms and ranches, in urban gardens and sea caves, on mountaintops and sandy beaches. Wherever they go, OITF’s mission is the same: To re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food and introduce them to the local farmers and food artisans whose good work brings nourishment to the table. Ingredients for OITF meals are often sourced within inches of diners’ seats. After a tour of the host site, everyone settles in: farmers, ranchers, fishermen, culinary artisans and guests serving each other at the communal table.

Denevan did his first farm dinner in his hometown of Santa Cruz, Calif. in 1999. Since then, Outstanding in the Field  has staged more than 400 farm dinners, welcoming nearly 50,000 diners in all but five U.S. states, three Canadian provinces and nine countries in Europe and South America. An avid surfer and artist whose large-scale drawings on earth, sand and ice have earned worldwide acclaim, Jim will no doubt find time to visit Hawaii’s famous beaches with his board, rakes and driftwood sticks.

Outstanding in the Field events start with a glass of wine and welcome hors d’oeuvres, followed by a tour of the host farm and a four-course meal paired with wines. Both January events start at 3pm.

For more information and to reserve a seat at the Outstanding table, visit www.outstandinginthefield.com

*I personally had the pleasure of experiencing an Outstanding Experience last year and would recommend this to anyone visiting or that lives on Kauai. This is very unique experience with fabulous food with an amazing backdrop. An epicureans delight!


Enjoy Veteran’s Day Weekend and Phase ll of Lighthouse Restoration at Kilauea Point!!!

The Refuge will be CLOSED on Monday, November 12 in Observance of Veteran’s Day

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge will waive entrance fees throughout Veteran’s Day weekend, Saturday, November 10 through Sunday, November 11. The Refuge will be open regular visitor hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In observance of Veteran’s Day, the Refuge will be closed Monday, November 12. However, Refuge volunteers will be stationed at the Refuge overlook to provide natural history interpretation and assist visitors throughout the day.
The Refuge is also celebrating a milestone as Kīlauea Lighthouse Restoration Phase II nears completion, ahead of the anticipated December deadline. Restoration overall is expected to be completed for the 100th anniversary in May 2013. Extensive restoration efforts to the Kīlauea Lighthouse began in 2010 to bring the structure back to its former glory. The lighthouse is sure to remain the icon of the Kīlauea community.

“I urge everyone to take the opportunity to come to Kīlauea Point over the fee-free Veterans Day weekend to see the exterior of the lighthouse and the progress made so far. This is a fine example of what coming together as a community can accomplish,” invited Shannon Smith, Refuge Project Leader. The project first began with the Kīlauea community when they expressed the desire to restore the lighthouse in 2002. The Kīlauea Point Natural History Association (KPNHA), a nonprofit organization, launched a capital campaign in 2008 to restore the lighthouse. Thanks to the support of the community, the campaign entitled “Beacon for the Generations to Come, Ka Lama Kuhikuhi No Nā Hanauna” raised over $850,000.
The first major phase of restoration involved repairing the unique cast iron roof and lantern assembly. The second phase led by contractor McMillen, LLC and working closely with local subcontractors, involves: removal of interior and exterior coatings; repairs to the concrete tower; removal of concrete blocks from where windows were formerly located; installation of new windows, corbels, and installing new doors- all to restore its historic appearance. Future phases will involve work on the 2nd order Fresnel lens; finishing measures to protect key internal components; and public safety measures to allow for more frequent tours to just above the interior Watch Room level of the lighthouse. The intent is to allow for the public to safely get closer views of the lens and beautiful vistas more often than has been allowed in the recent past, while protecting the lens level, which is the “crown jewel” of this historic structure.
To learn more about the Refuge, visit: www.fws.gov/kilaueapoint ; to learn more about KPNHA, visit www.kilaueapoint.org.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Jurassic Park Movie Under the Stars

Fun night planned at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. Bring the family for “Dino & a Movie” on Fri. Oct. 26 to NTBG Visitors Center in Poipu. The movie Jurassic Park, which was filmed on Kauai will be showing, along with costume contest, dino dig, photo opportunities and lots of fun for the keiki, Bring your beach chairs and munch on pizza, popcorn and shave ice under the Kauai night sky.

This event is a community event and all are invited to come and enjoy the festivities. A suggested donation of 5$ per car. Gates open and activities begin at 5:30, the Movie starts at 7:00 p.m.

NTBG is located at 4425 Lawai Road (across from Spouting Horn). For any questions please call 742-2433.

Lord Howe Island ” An Evening Down Under” by Ian Hutton

Photo Credit Ian Hutton

Lord Howe Island, Australia Photo by Ian Hutton

On October 2nd Tropical Botanical Garden and Kauai Community College will present a free public lecture by acclaimed Australian naturalist Ian Hutton who will share the similarities between Lord Howe Island and the Hawaiian Islands. Forty percent of its roughly 300 species are unique to the island. Lord Howe is one of eleven World Heritage areas in Australia.

The plants are a fascinating blend from Australia, New Caledonia, and New Zealand. Eighteen species of land birds breed in the forests and fourteen species of seabirds breed on its shores and interior. Lord Howe Island has the most southerly coral reef in the world, with a fascinating blend of tropical and temperate marine life.

Ian Hutton has a BSc with majors in plant ecology and climatology, and has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to conservation and tourism. He has produced 10 books about the island, and his notes, drawings, photographs, and plant specimens are shared with other researchers at the National Botanic Gardens, Canberra and at the Royal Botanic Garden in Kew, England. Hutton became the first person licensed by the Lord Howe Island Board to conduct guided reef and botanical tours, and he was the driving force in creating voluntarism opportunities in invasive plant removal.

The lecture is one of many collaborations between the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Kauai Community College. Both NTBG and KCC share a common goal of quality education to truly change lives. NTBG is a not-for-profit institution, headquartered in Kalāheo. KCC, which is part of the University of Hawaii system, operates a large campus in Līhu‘e.