The National Park Service, in partnership with the National Park Foundation, will celebrate National Park Week April 19-27 with a free-admission weekend and special events nationwide.
The theme for this year’s National Park Week invites visitors to “Go Wild!” for history, nature, culture, wildlife and fun in America’s national parks.
At Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the timing is perfect for visitors to “Go Wild for Culture” while celebrating Hilo’s 51st annual Merrie Monarch Festival.
Admission to all fee-charging national parks is free Saturday and Sunday, April 19-20, to kick off National Park Week. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will offer 12 Hawaiian cultural events April 23-25; these events are free, but admission fees apply.
All programs are part of the park’s ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” cultural workshops, and are cosponsored by the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association.
Here’s the schedule:
Wednesday, April 23
• Kalo demonstration: Join Edna and Sam Baldado from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the Kilauea Visitor Center lanai as they share the cultural uses of kalo, or taro plant. See how each plant is identified by its leaf, steam, corm, color and shape. Discover the hundreds of varieties of kalo in Hawaii, and how kalo was used for food, medicine, glue, dyes and much more.
• Feather Kahili Workshop: Helene Hayselden will demonstrate the art of making a feather kahili, a symbol of royalty. Watch or join in and make your kahili to take home from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai;
• Musician Rupert Tripp Jr. performs from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai. Enjoy the music and voice of this singer-songwriter and multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominee.
• La‘au Lapa‘au. Ka‘ohu Monfort shares her knowledge and love of the island’s native plants. Learn how her passion for plants and the Hawaiian culture are used to heal and nourish. See and touch a variety of medicinal plants, including kuku‘i, ‘olena, ha‘uowi, noni, ki and guava from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai.
Thursday, April 24
• Feather artist Vi Makuakane will demonstrate the intricate art of feather work from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai. Thousands of feathers are sorted, graded, trimmed and sewn to a base. The result is a lei hulu, or feather lei.
• Na Hoku Award winner Kenneth Makuakane: A singer-songwriter and producer, he will play original songs from his solo albums and compositions from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai;
• ‘Ohe kapala, or bamboo stamps, are used to create distinct designs for traditional Hawaiian kapa. Join Keiko Mercado as she demonstrates how bamboo is carved into designs and how they are used. There will be samples and a hands-on opportunity to learn this Hawaiian art form from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai;
• Patricia Ka‘ula will demonstrate different styles of lei making: hilo, haku, hili and ku‘i. Join her from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai.
• Entertainer and kumu hula Robert Cazimero will sign the latest edition of “Men of Hula,” which will be available for sale. This 2011 edition by award-winning author Benton Sen chronicles how the hula teacher and Na Halau Kamalei shattered the stereotypical image of hula (girls in grass skirts and coconut bras) by revitalizing the masculine aspects of the ancient dance. He will be inside the center from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Friday, April 25
• Kapa maker Ku‘uleimomi Makuakane-Salave‘a will share the art of kapa making. See how the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree is beaten into cloth. Join her from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai.
• Members of ‘Aha Puhala o Puna perpetuate ulana lauhala, the ancient art of lauhala weaving. Observe this art form and learn to weave your own lauhala star from the leaves of the hala, or pandanus tree from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai.
• Popular Big Island entertainer Lito Arkangel will play his original compositions and Hawaiian favorites from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai.
• ‘Ohe hanu iho, or the Hawaiian bamboo nose flute, also will be the focus from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lanai, as National Park Service Master Volunteer Ed Shiinoki and Park Ranger Andrea Kaawaloa-Okita demonstrate how to create your own nose flute. Thin-walled Hawaiian bamboo was used to make a three-hole wind instrument. Today, the supply of native bamboo is very limited, so Asian bamboo is used instead. The teachers will share the many uses of the bamboo and teach you how to play your new flute.
In addition to the programs during National Park Week, there are Stewardship at the Summit volunteer opportunities, Kahuku hikes and After Dark in the Park programs this month. Check the park website for a complete schedule.