Hit the Road to Hana for the 25th annual celebration of the East Maui Taro Festival at Hana Ball Park, held yearly on the last weekend of April. Travel over the 59 bridges of Maui’s most scenic waterfall, cliff, and ocean landscapes and it will lead you to this annual celebration of Hawaiian culture.
The festival focuses on kalo or taro, the potato-like crop that is deep engrained in the history of native Hawaiians as it has nourished the families of East Maui for generations past. With free admission, it’s a chance to get close and experience the history of the taro farms below the Ke’anae peninsula lookout on the way to East Maui. Farmers plan all year for the Queen’s Challenge, a taro competition and a chance to win the $500 grand prize. Get educated on harvesting, farming practices, and the process of converting and pounding the taro into poi, a staple in Hawaiian cuisine. Learn for yourself, teach the keiki for the future, and let’s perpetuate the culture of Hawaii.
Local artisans showcase their best handmade crafts and treats to share, including jewelry, clothes, traditional hand carvings, decals, and more. Listen to the ipu and ukulele embrace you with traditional Hawaiian chants and dance, immediately below Hana’s Travaasa Hotel. The hula halau performances and musical talent range from young to old and last all day long. Over 20 food vendors are available, some offering traditional Hawaiian food and other favorites. Popular bites are the fried ahi poke balls and of course the taro malasadas. I highly encourage you to try for yourself.
Rich in tradition and history, this one of the best festivals on Maui. Don’t forget to bring your suit! A short jaunt to Hana Bay or Hamoa Beach for an afternoon dip to cool off after the day in the park. Hands down, a must for locals and visitors alike if you really want to experience the spirit of Hawaii, specifically Maui.