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Residents hope for good weather for the 9th Annual Laupahoehoe Music Festival on April 5

A dancer performs an impromptu hula during an undated Laupahoehoe Music Festival. (FILE PHOTO)
A dancer performs an impromptu hula during an undated Laupahoehoe Music Festival. (FILE PHOTO)
Claybourne “Braddah Smitty” Smith, who died in 2012, was instrumental in organizing the Laupahoehoe Music Festiva. He is pictured on the right. (FILE PHOTO)
Claybourne “Braddah Smitty” Smith, who died in 2012, was instrumental in organizing the Laupahoehoe Music Festiva. He is pictured on the right. (FILE PHOTO)

It takes many dedicated volunteers to create an incredible Hawaiian music and cultural event. On Saturday, April 5, the 9th Annual Laupahoehoe Music Festival takes place at Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park and promises great music, crafters and food booths.

Auntie Louise “Sweetie” Maikui, who has been with the festival since its beginnings said, “We want to help out the community and that’s why we do what we do.”

The event is presented by Malama Hawaii Nei, a non-profit that donates proceeds to the children and kupuna of Laupahoehoe. Don Canario, who is with Malama Hawaii Nei, said more than $30,000 has been distributed to the cause over the eight years the festival has been in existence.

“Our mission statement is for kids and senior citizens,” Canario said. “The monies go toward scholarships, the school, and we recently bought a new stove and fridge for the Kupuna Club House meeting area.”

Saying they are praying for good weather, Canario said the festival was moved out of the month of February to April. This date change allowed for more people to attend, better weather, and a chance for more halau to perform at the event.

“A lot of the halau who usually dance at the Merrie Monarch will be dancing for our festival,” said Canario.

The music and dance lineup includes Times 5, Kanakapila, the Laupahoehoe School Ukulele Band, Halau Ha’a Kea O Kinohi, Komakakino, Ho’onanea, Halau O Mailelaulani and Halau O Ke Anuenue.

Penny Vredenburg and Tommy “Kahikina” Ching will emcee the event in tandem, entertaining the festival goers with their endless wit and charm.

“Our biggest fundraising item is festival T-shirts,” Vredenburg said. “And we will be selling Braddah Smitty’s CDs, so come support!”

Claybourne “Braddah Smitty” Smith, who died in 2012, was instrumental in the festival’s beginnings, helping to keep the music department in Laupahoehoe School, Vredenburg said.

Hui Kako’o o Laupahoehoe, a non-profit support group of Laupahoehoe Charter School, is holding a silent auction with many unique items that will go directly to the school. Some of the items to be auctioned include: 12 yards of cinder gravel delivered by Nobriga Trucking, gift certificates for oil changes and car inspections from Lex Brodie, a ping pong table, a 400-pound steer from Big Island Dairy, three introductory horseback riding lessons from Papa’aloa Arabians, a Takagi tankless water heater and much more.

“We are in a rural area, and many of the items donated for auction are useful to the people here,” said Canario. “With the recent rains, many people could use the cinder gravel on their roads.”

Entry fee is $12 per person if purchased in advance, and $15 at the gate. Children ages 10 and under are free. No coolers will be permitted as this is a drug/alcohol-free event.

The festival is located at 36-1043 Laupahoehoe Point Rd., off Highway 19, near the 27 mile marker. Tickets may be purchased in advance at: 50’s Highway Cafe, Sakado Store in Laupahoehoe, Hilo Guitars, Basically Books, Taro Patch in Honokaa, Hilo Sharks Coffee Shop in Honomu and Kona Music Exchange. For more information, visit laupahoehoemusicfestival.com.