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Sixth Annual ʻŌhiʻa Love Festival Returns to In-Person Format

by Thunda

After two “virtual” years of celebation, ʻŌhiʻa Love Fest returns with numerous in-person events across Hawaiʻi. The theme of this year’s festivities is Mōhala, or the unfurling of the lehua. It is a life stage of the blossoming lehua, but it also represents how we are emerging out of COVID with a new celebration.  

‘Ōhi‘a is critical to providing the water we drink, keeping our ocean reefs clean, and is important to the native Hawaiian culture. Earlier this year, ōhiʻa was named the State Endemic Tree of Hawaiʻi. All activities are free, but a few do require advance registration. 

Schedule of Events:

  • Maui:  
    Saturday, November 5, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Maui Nui Botanical Gardens will give away more than 1,000 Hawaiian trees for free, 1 tree per person, any age. The MALP Garden Expo will feature horticultural and tree care classes, a plant sale, and free activities, including a special “Hale ʻŌhiʻa” to learn about ʻōhiʻa.  
  • Hawaiʻi Island:  
    Saturday, November 19, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Pahoa Community Center will host an ʻōhiʻa potting workshop, booths, games, prizes, and a raffle giveaway.  
  • Oʻahu:  
    Saturday, November 19, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Leeward Community College will host booths, workshops, crafts, and giveaways. Enter for a chance to win 2 tickets to tour Waiheʽe tunnel and see firsthand how a watershed and aquifer works. All prizes and giveaways are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, including a ohia starter kit.
  • Kauaʻi:  
    Tuesday, November 15 – Saturday, November 19: A week-long schedule of activities include an ʻōhiʻa seed collecting hike, ʻōhiʻa tree planting around the island, ʻōhiʻa seedling give-aways, bio-sanitation kit give-aways, all culminating in a daylong celebration with a native plant sale, educational booths, cultural demonstrations, local craft & food vendors, and ʻōhiʻa themed presentations at Limahuli Garden and Preserve. 

As in past years, the festival celebrates ʻōhiʻa lehua as Hawaii’s most ecologically and culturally important tree species. ‘Ōhi‘a is currently under threat from two deadly fungal pathogens, resulting in a disease known as Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death (ROD). Included in the week’s activities will be information about how ROD spreads and the actions needed to protect remaining healthy ʻōhiʻa. The festival is designed for the whole family.  

These statewide events are brought to you by the University of Hawaiʻi, the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and island Invasive Species Committees. 

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