The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will convene Hawaii’s most reputable and respected artisans, educators, cultural practitioners, speakers and entertainers, April 22–24, 2011 during the 19th Annual Celebration of the Arts. “E na aumakua is the focus of the event which calls out to our ancestors and all things natural” states Clifford Naeole, cultural advisor and chairperson of the prestigious event.
I have had the privilege and honor of attending this event for many years. As a Native Hawaiian, I always find it, first and foremost, educating. In addition, it also offers me a time to refresh and rejuvenate. I am no expert in anything Hawaiian, trust me! However, I do believe I am somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to “things Hawaiian.” But year after year, the event subtly (and sometimes not so subtly!) reminds of how much I have yet to learn. Celebration of the Arts is the perfect environment to make this happen.
What I am most encouraged by is that this event offers our visitors a very special and unique opportunity to “engage” on issues that are important and relevant to the Hawaiian Community at large. The interactions I have witnessed over the years are nothing short of incredible. Significantly, it is also an opportunity for our keiki, no matter where they are from, to learn about Hawaii and Hawaiian culture.
The opening ceremonies include traditional Hawaiian oli (chants) from Hawaiian practitioners while music and hula will be showcased throughout the weekend. Hands-on art, demonstrations, films, cultural panels, music and dance serve as a common ground for all attendees who will enjoy the “Number 1 rated cultural event” according the Hawaii Modern Luxury Magazine. The Celebration of the Arts has also been the recipient of the coveted “Keep it Hawaii Kahili Award” presented by the Hawaii Tourism Association.
An exciting addition for 2011 is the George Kanahele Mele Hookuku (song competition) on Saturday, April 23. A proud Native Hawaiian, Dr. George Kanehele was committed to ensuring that Hawaiian values remain an integral part of our hospitality industry and hence, this special challenge is only open to individuals within the industry – but everyone is welcome to share the experience. One designated Hawaiian song will be sung by all groups, followed by a “song of choice.” Judging criteria will be based upon tone, harmony, stage presence and the use and pronunciation of Hawaiian language.
The Celebration Luau and Show (my favorite part of the entire weekend!) culminate the festivities bringing together the foods of traditional Hawaii and the contemporary cuisine of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. “The Celebration Luau and Show is a must and I can guarantee that on that given night…this is the best luau in the State of Hawaii said Executive Chef John Zaner.” “The food and entertainment are top notch and make for an unforgettable evening,” he added.
The Celebration After-Hours Party is the finale and is held in the Alaloa Lounge with no cover charge from 9 p.m. to midnight on both Friday and Saturday. I hope I can stay up! The finest talent in Hawaii will take the stage with impromptu performances in fun filled “kanikaplia” or jam-sessions. Prepare yourself for some impromptu hula as well!
The Celebration Easter Brunch takes place on Sunday, April 24. A special Celebration of the Arts Room Package is in effect and additional information can be found at the hotel website www.ritzcarlton.com or www.celebrationofthearts.org. For tickets and reservations please call 808-669-6200.