By Heather Madsen
While tropical island getaways sound like the perfect vacation, it’s important to remember that those islands are first and foremost home to indigenous people. Polynesian islands, like Hawaii, have suffered from over-tourism and environmental erosion due to large crowds and climate change. Most recently, Maui suffered a wildfire that caused irreversible damage to the land and to hundreds of people’s homes. However, while tourism is currently damaging, there are other ways to support Maori and Native Hawaiian people while also enjoying their culture, food, and friendship. One of those ways is the Utah Polynesian Days.
Polynesian Days is Utah’s number one Pacific Islander Celebration. It’s hosted at Electric Park at Thanksgiving Point on September 1st, 2nd, and 4th. This year’s festival will culminate with a concert by Sammy Johnson and Spawn Breezie, along with several other local artists on the 4th. Other events you can look forward to include a fire knife competition and a Tahitian dance competition. There will also be booths and vendors with homemade traditional crafts, art, tattoos, and more! The festival will also have “villages” where your children can learn cultural dances, singing, cooking, and even how to defend their tribe. Of course, there will also be plenty of food booths with traditional Polynesian food, as well as food from other cultures that have influenced their cuisine. It’s bound to be a flavor-filled trip across the ocean!
Most importantly, the mission of the festival this year is to provide Kōkua, which means help, for Maui. Part of all ticket proceeds will go towards a Maui relief fund, and all charitable donations will go to the Community Foundation of Hawaii which is supported by the Governor of Hawaii and Jason Mamoa. We hope you’ll come join us at this year’s festival to help us give Kōkua for Maui and to celebrate the cultures and heritage of Polynesia. Tickets, charitable donations, and more information can be found at https://polynesiandaysutah.com/.