This Saturday residents and visitors of Hana will flock to the 21st annual East Maui Taro Festival, a long standing tradition of the island. From 9am to 5pm festival goers will enjoy non-stop Hawaiian entertainment and hula, 20 food booths, 40 arts and crafts booths, a farmers market and hands-on cultural demos such as poi-pounding, kapa cloth making, creating Hawaiin musical instruments and luahala weaving.

Taro, primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corm, represents the origin of the Hawaiian people and is the staple of the Hawaiian people. It is believed to have the greatest life force of all foods. Thus, the festival originators decided to use the vegetable as the focus of the festival to draw the people of Hana together for a common good, re-build cultural pride, share the uniqueness of a culture with the world and allow farmers and artisans a way to network with others. Some popular uses for taro include poi, table taro, taro chips and luau leaf.

Festivities continue on Sunday, April 21st with a Taro Pancake Breakfast at Hana Bay from 7:30 – 10:30am. There are also several farm excursions that you can participate in. If you are in Hana this weekend, make sure you check out the event at Hana Ballpark. Visit the East Maui Taro Festival site for more info.