Taiko performances, kendama demonstrations and beautiful kimonos will be just a few of the highlights of the 2014 Maui Matsuri kickoff event sponsored by Araki-Regan & Associates LLC on Friday, May 2, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center.
The kickoff event will also feature karaoke, minyo (folk) dancing, a coloring contest sponsored by Sanrio and more.
The evening will conclude with obon odori (bon dance) practice around the stage at approximately 8:15 p.m.
2014 Maui Matsuri Begins with Kickoff Event
The purpose of this free event is to engage the community and bring more public awareness about the upcoming 14th Annual Maui Matsuri being held on Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, at the University of Hawai'i Maui College (UHMC).
Admission is free on both days.
The 14th annual Maui Matsuri festival is a chance for the community to honor, celebrate, and perpetuate Japanese culture through festivities happening throughout the weekend.
Enjoy Maui Matsuri Storytelling Night on Friday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at UHMC's Pilina Building Student Lounge. The event will feature local storytellers who will share fables of Hawai'i and Japan, including fairytales, plantation stories and obake (ghost) stories.
Matsuri organizers are looking for more guest storytellers of all skill levels.
Bento meals will be available for purchase at the event for those who pre-order.
To participate as a storyteller or to pre-order a bento, call (808) 283-9999.
Maui Matsuri festivities continue on Saturday with a host of Japanese and Okinawan activities for all ages from 2 to 9 p.m. at the UHMC Courtyard. The campus will be transformed into a small village complete with food vendors and crafters, entertainers, contest participants, cultural exhibits, kids zone, demonstration areas and more.
The festival will conclude with a community bon dance at 7:30 p.m.
Matsuri organizers are looking for participants and entries for festival contests on May 10: cosplay and video-gaming, hanafuda, kendama, manga and art, and natto and saimin eating. Those who are interested in entering the contests can do so at the festival, with the exception of the kendama contest. Kendama tournament participants must pre-register at Kaleidoscope in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. There are only 200 spots available.
The festival is presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui with major support by the County of Maui, Hawai'i Tourism Authority, Island Honda, IBEW-Local Union 1186, Maui Taiko and UHMC.