This past Saturday, I attended the annual Koloa Plantation Days parade, one of hundreds of people lining the roadside in old town Koloa. As the skies threatened to explode and sweat trickled down the gutter of my spine, I watched 60 groups parade a few blocks from the libary on Po'ipu Road to Anne Knudsen Park on Maluhia Road.
The parade itself was only one of many events of the week-long Koloa Plantation Days Festival. As the festival's name implies, the event honors the plantation lifestyle that once thrived on Kaua'i's south shore. Koloa is known as the birthplace of sugar. Hawai'i's first sugar plantation formed on July 29, 1835, when Ladd & Co. signed a lease for land with Kamehameha III. Today, the fields lie fallow and the mill sits vacant, but thanks to events like Koloa Plantation Days, the many cultures involved in Hawai'i's sugar industry are recognized and honored.
The theme of this year's parade--From Sugar to Statehood--reminds me of another historical event. On August 21, 1959, the people of Hawai'i will celebrate 50 years of statehood. I spent some time last week visiting key historical sites on O'ahu--places considered Hawai'i's road to statehood. In the coming weeks, I will share some with you.
In the mean time, enjoy these photos from Saturday's parade.