Travel to Maui for an authentic Hawaiian experience

Children's hula competition on Maui from November 8-10 Photo: Ka'anapali Beach Hotel

WASHINGTON, October 21, 2013 — November is the ideal time to visit Maui.  Yes, the weather is picture perfect, but so too is the opportunity to tap into a unique local festival, which highlights the best of island culture and heritage.

Ka’anapali Beach Hotel in Maui has long been known as the most Hawaiian of hotels in the islands and for good reason. The hotel has made a point to ensure tat every aspect of the property — from rooms to beach to service — reflects island culture, a welcome change in this era of homogenized island travel.

From November 8-10, the hotel will be celebrating its heritage with a unique festival aimed directly at children.  Called Hula O Nā Keiki, this will be a weekend of culture, music, and arts.  The concept behind this is to offer kids a way to access the rich traditions of local culture by honoring the ways of Hawaiian ancestors.

Although Hula O Nā Keiki, now in its 23rd year, is primarily a hula competition, weekend festivities at the hotel also include traditional Hawaiian arts and crafts, food booths, cultural workshops, and Hawaiian entertainment.

Children between the ages of five 5 and 17 enter the main competition as soloists or in boy/girl pairs.  They are judged on their interviews with the judges as well as their hula performances in both kahiko (ancient) and ‘auana (modern) dance categories. 

Contestants demonstrate their proficiency in the Hawaiian language, including reciting a memorized chant, and are judged on their costumes as well.

The Hula O Nā Keiki festival attracts students of traditional hula from around the world.  It has blossomed from a single day into a weekend-long event, which gives visitors a unique perspective on Hawaiian culture and introduces them to the art and music and heritage of the islands they are visiting.

The Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is a beautiful place on which to hold Hula O Nā Keiki, as it is nestled on eleven acres along Maui’s famed Kaanapali Beach. The hotel prides itself on its island hospitality, and is a perfect introduction to Hawaiian Culture and what “aloha” really feels like.

For visitors interested in staying at a place that honors its surroundings, it’s hard to imagine a better perch.  The hotel is a microcosm of Hawaiian culture, abounding in little touches that could be found in any Hawaiian home, like bedspreads that feature traditional island quilt design, tropical furnishings.

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Andrea Poe

Andrea Poe is a veteran journalist, whose work has appeared in thousands of publications, including Town & Country, Marie Claire and Entrepreneur.  She is the author of several books and her work has appeared in many others, including anthologies and college textbooks. 

Andrea serves as editor of the Travel & Food section at The Washington Times Communities.  Her love of travel has led her to cover everything from remote villages in the Andes to her hometown of New York, from Paris to Pittsburgh, from Beijing to the Bahamas.  No matter where she travels, she likes to uncover the unusual and share with readers those often-overlooked aspects of a place and its people.  She dubs her column Raven’s Eye as a nod to her illustrious (and, yes, infamous) relative, Edgar Allan Poe, a writer who knew more than a little something about the quirky and unique.  

Andrea is also mother to Maxine, who was adopted from Vietnam in 2006, and is the inspiration for The Red Thread column on adoption at The Washington Times Communities.   Andrea is currently at work on a book on international adoption.

In addition to her work as mother, writer and traveler, she is the founder and president of Media Branding International, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations craft and promote their image in media outlets around the globe.

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