The Lahaina Plantation Days community event held two weeks ago at the old Pioneer Mill grounds along Lahainaluna Road and adjacent to the landmark smokestack is a celebration of the rich rural tradition and culture of the West Side community. It is a fun-filled affair featuring the top restaurants, breweries, entertainment, and exhibits to honor the working class life of the Plantation Era gone by.
Sponsored by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, the fourth annual running of Plantation Days was highlighted by the sports exhibit in the middle of the event grounds.
Enlarged photos, artifacts and written accounts were on display to take the different generations in attendance on a nostalgic ride to the fields of dreams that make Lahaina the unique place that it is.
Lahainaluna High School's 48-3 runaway win over arch rival Baldwin on the first night of the festivities only served to enrich the community's appreciation of the sports exhibit and the cherished memories it all represents.
From the iconic barefoot football to the legendary diamond games heroes, and on and on through the golden eras of boxing, wrestling, sumo, surfing, tennis and track and field, it all came to life under the central tent.
The legendary leaders of the era - with names like Wakida, Kawaguchi, Freeland, Lee, Yamamoto and many more - were brought back to be honored through the efforts of the LRF staff.
At the spearhead of the sports display was none other than Bob Kawaguchi, himself a sports leader and mentor in Lahaina, who took the bull of a project by the horns and pushed it through to completion.
At his side throughout the project was another academic beam of the Lahaina community, Andrew Kutsunai. This most honorable pair of community icons was joined by LRF staffers Mike Jones and Dustin Waite; Community Education Committee members Louisa Shelton, "Noosh" Nishihara and Karee Carlucci; Exhibit Steering Committee members Bill Marciel, Lena Kanemitsu, Scott Soldwisch and Phyllis Nakamura; and volunteers Connie Sutherland, Kit Harris and Rob Shelton.
Congratulations and a hearty mahalo to you all! In particular, thank you to Kawaguchi and Kutsunai for your undying, selfless devotion to the preservation of the cultural history of Lahaina. Priceless!