60th Chrysanthemum Festival to be held Dec. 1
WAILUKU – Teens from five Maui high schools are vying for the crown of the 60th Chrysanthemum Festival, a Japanese cultural event that raises funds for scholarships and the historical preservation programs of the sponsor, Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans.
The event will be held Dec. 1 at the Velma McWayne Santos Communi ty Center in Wailuku. Exhibits and entertainment start at 4:30 p.m., dinner at 6 and the program at 7 p.m.
Admission to the festival is free. Tickets for the dinner cost $15.
The queen of the festival is the contestant who raises the most money through ticket sales. This year’s contestants are Stacie Cuadro, 16, a senior at Baldwin High School and the daughter of Kim and Nestor Cuadro of Wailuku; Andie Matayoshi, 16, a junior at Seabury Hall and the daughter of Lynn and Derek Matayoshi of Pukalani; Maile Naito, 16, a junior at King Kekaulike High School and the daughter of Yoko and Masato Naito of Haiku; Brandi Anne Silva, 17, a senior at Kamehameha Schools Maui and the daughter of Pamela and Billy Silva Jr. of Wailuku; and Tia Seki, 16, a junior at St. Anthony Junior Senior High School and the daughter of Rae and Tom Seki of Wailuku.
For ticket or event information, or to contribute to a contestant’s efforts, call Leonard Oka at 249-2163 or 385-7670.
Oka and Gary Nakama are the cochairmen of the 2012 Chrysanthemum Festival. They are the vice president and president, respectively, of Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans.
Proceeds support the sponsor’s historical preservation projects, which are done for the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, and for scholarships given in partnership with Maui AJA Veterans Inc.
This year, $10,000 scholarships were awarded to ten graduates of high schools on Maui.
The Chrysanthemum Festival includes the coronation of the queen. During this segment, a choreographed dance is performed by the court members and their escorts. They are preparing for this performance at weekly sessions with ballroom dance instructors Jeffrey and Lydia Dela Cruz.
Contestants also represent the Sons and Daughters and the NVMC at various events throughout the year.
The annual event was created as the Chrysanthemum Ball, a ballroom-dance affair, by the Maui AJA Veterans as a way to fund its community service in areas such as youth sports and scholarships.
AJA stands for Americans of Japanese Ancestry; the group was formed as veterans returned from Europe and the Asia-Pacific areas after World War II.
In 2007, the event name was changed to Chrysanthemum Festival to reflect its focus on Japanese culture. In 2008, the veterans group turned the event over to Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans.
Nisei refers to the second generation of AJAs.