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Hawaii: Culture, nature, crafts are rolled into a 'Grow Weekend'

February 01, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • Painted ipu (gourds) will be displayed in February at the Grow Hawaiian festival on the Big Island.
Painted ipu (gourds) will be displayed in February at the Grow Hawaiian… (Craig Elevitch )

Visitors to Hawaii’s Big Island can immerse themselves in local culture and natural history Feb. 22-24, when Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden hosts the ninth-annual Grow Hawaiian Weekend.

Besides the usual array of native plants in this garden in the village of Captain Cook, locals will share traditions such as the carving of nose flutes from stalks of bamboo.

The roots of many of the weekend’s activities are in the soil. For example, from noon to 4 p.m. Feb.  22, the focus will be on taro, the potato-like root that’s a staple of many Hawaiian’s diets.

As visitors watch, taro experts Jerry Konanui and Keahi Tomas will teach kuikalo — poi pounding — to local school children. Then everyone will be invited to test their skills in mashing taro to a pulp as the first step in making poi.

On Feb. 23, the garden will offers a variety of hands-on experiences. Taro cultivation will be one of several demonstrations. A mother-daughter team will turn plumeria blossoms into colorful leis; three other women will show how to make kapa, a fabric created from bark. Ipu (gourd) artists Momi Greene and Karen Root-Pulice will display their work.

Admission to the three-day festival is free. The garden is 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona along Highway 11, just south of mile marker 110. For more information,  (808) 323-3318.

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