WEST MAUI - Honoring Hawaiian culture, the Festivals of Aloha continues on Maui this month.
The popular festival is hosted annually on the three islands of Maui Nui as a special time to celebrate Hawaiian heritage with royal pageantry, parades, street parties, concerts and family activities.
This year's theme, "E Kupuohi i ke Aloha - Flourish with Aloha," is symbolized by the Kamehameha Butterfly, which in 2009 was named the state insect of Hawaii.
The Festivals of Aloha Ho‘olaule‘a on Sunday in Banyan Tree Park will feature Hawaiian music, hula and crafts.
All events are open to the public, and most are free. Special events may require a $5 Festivals of Aloha 2012 button for admission.
On Friday, Sept. 14, Queen Ka'ahumanu Center's 40th Anniversary celebration will honor its famous namesake, Queen Ka'ahumanu, with homegrown keiki entertainment, cultural projects and educational demonstrations from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
A rich showcase of Hawaiian music tradition and language learning for falsetto contestants across the islands, the 11th annual Richard Ho'opi'i Falsetto Contest will be held Saturday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's Salon Ballroom. A Festivals of Aloha ribbon is required for entry.
This contest showcases the exquisite high registers of Maui Nui's finest male falsetto performers. There is no contestant entry fee.
One of Hawaii's most beloved and talented musicians, Ho'opi'i will host the leo ki'e ki'e (male falsetto) singing competition.
Contestants ages 18 and up will vie for top cash awards: $1,200 for first place, $400 for second place and $300 for third. The winner will also be offered a record label recording and be invited to perform at other Maui Nui Festivals of Aloha festivities.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will present a special Hawaiian Language Award presented by Clifford Nae'ole, the hotel's cultural advisor.
On Sunday, Sept. 16, the Festivals of Aloha Ho'olaule'a will be held in Banyan Tree Park in Lahaina from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
"This event has turned into the post-falsetto contest celebration, which is an amazing treat for visitors and locals alike who couldn't make it to the Ritz-Carlton the night before to experience Hawaiian falsetto," explained ho'olaule'a coordinator Daryl Fujiwara.
There will be entertainment by Kaniala Masoe; Dane Fujiwara; Ho'opi'i, the winners and some contestants from the falsetto contest; Halau Kealakahinanoopuna; and Kulewa, as well as lei making with the Lahaina-Honolua Senior Citizens Club and He U'i Crafters.
"It's pretty much going to be an amazing day of Hawaiian music and dance," Daryl added.
Daryl's grandmother, Edwina Smythe, created and started this annual ho'olaule'a more than 30 years ago.
Crystal Alboro, Smythe's granddaughter, chaired the event for many years, and today the torch has been passed to Daryl.
On Oct. 19-21, the Maui Nui Canoe Race will challenge the skill and endurance of all participants, spanning three islands in three days and over 100 miles.
On Oct. 19 at 9 a.m., the race will start at Maliko and head to Molokai. The next day at 8 a.m., crews will paddle to Hulopoe Bay, Lanai, where there will be an all-day ho'olaule'a. On Oct. 21 at 8 a.m., the teams will race from Lanai to Hanakao'o Beach Park in Lahaina, where a luau will be held.
For more information, call Fujiwara at 264-8779 or e-mail sfdhawaii@ gmail.com.
Events are also slated on Lanai and Molokai, as well as Hana from Oct. 20-27. For the latest information and schedule of events, go to www.festivalsofaloha.com.
Official Festivals of Aloha, Maui Nui Style ribbons are $5 each and provide discounted admission to many events. For information on purchasing a ribbon, call 878-1888.