Guests get hands-on instruction in Hawaiian arts and crafts at Maui’s Celebration of the Arts. // © 2016 The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
Feature image (above): A highlight of Celebration of the Arts is its colorful luau and show. // © 2016 The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
Hula dancers, hands-on crafts and inspiring panels and films captivate clients each year at Celebration of the Arts, hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui.
Honoring Hawaiian culture, the 23rd annual festival will take place March 25-27, 2016, coinciding with Easter weekend.
Based on my experience at last year’s Celebration of the Arts, following are a few reasons why visitors should time their vacation with this special event.
On the morning of March 26, practitioners and participants gather on the beach at dawn to welcome the sun. Next, in a peaceful courtyard, officials and invited guests sip and pass a coconut cup filled with “awa” (a sacred drink made from a tropical root), demonstrating their commitment to Hawaiiana. In the weekend’s final kickoff, the crowd enjoys chants and traditional protocol in the lobby. Visitors can watch all of these opening ceremonies.
Interactive Arts and Crafts
Artists and cultural experts set up tables throughout the public areas of the hotel, encouraging visitors to try their craft of choice. Clients can get to know talented island residents while learning how to create their own work of art, whether it’s a piece of jewelry made from rare Niihau shells or a basket of woven fronds. Guests can also join a tour of the hotel’s organic gardens, picking greens for a fresh smoothie.
Some of the destination’s most respected thinkers share animated, meaningful conversations during intimate panel discussions. Guests can observe and participate in presentations about the local culture. Topics in 2015 ranged from successful Hawaii-run businesses to protecting the island environment. Last year’s guests also watched a film about water and its importance to the state’s agricultural efforts and native species.
Luau and Concert
On Saturday night, event staff and guests come together in the resort’s indoor-outdoor pavilion for a party teeming with aloha spirit. Attendees dig into traditional Hawaiian foods such as kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon and poi, along with contemporary cuisine crafted by Ritz-Carlton chefs. Singers and hula dancers take their turns on the stage, followed by a concert featuring some of Maui’s best contemporary entertainers.