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At least two celebrations are taking to the streets this weekend in Hawaii. Spam Jam takes over several blocks in Waikiki on Saturday afternoon and evening. On Sunday, the main Kailua intersection is filled with hula stages and craft/food tents.
Spam Jam features food combinations unusual even in these islands where Spam is a staple. A dozen restaurants serve treats from recipes for what they call “Hawaii’s favorite canned meat.” Organizers say almost seven million cans of Spam are eaten every year in Hawaii – more than any other state. Musical performances are held on two stages from 4:30 to 8:45. These groups follow one another on the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel Stage: Halau Ka Hale | O Kahala, Cyril Pahinui, Polynesian Performance from Germaines Luau, Weldon Kekauoha and Maunalua. The First Hawaiian Bank Stage is in front of the Royal Hawaiian Center. Performances there begin with Hana Hou, the Air Force Band of the Pacific, followed by Emke, Elephant and Separate Ways. Last year, an estimated 20,000 people attended the event. Kalakua Avenue is closed to traffic (which frequently disrupts bus schedules elsewhere). There is information about parking on the Spam Jam Hawaii website.
The annual “I Love Kailua” town party is more home-spun. It’s great for families with children. There are activities and rides for keiki. Last year there was a climbing wall. Castle Medical Center provides free health information and screenings as well. The booths feature crafts, original art and plants. The main stage will front Macy’s this year (the former location is now under construction for the new Whole Foods market). Entertainment will include the Navy Pacific Fleet Band, The Po’okela Trio, Harry Koizumi, Puamana and Coconut Joe. My favorite are the performances by local hula groups from young children through women “of a certain age.” Dozens of booths are set up for food and drink; at least 24 restaurants are represented. But to purchase anything to eat you must buy an “I Love Kailua” button first – they’re inexpensive and you can buy them now at merchants around town, but be sure to have one before you get in the food line. The sale of the buttons helps fund the event, which is put on by volunteer members of the non-profit Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle. T-shirt sales also help cover the organization’s projects.
Unlike the Spam Jam, the Kailua town party begins early and wraps up by late afternoon. Either way, food and fun await on Hawaii streets this weekend!