The resilient University of Hawaiʻi contingent worked together Sunday morning, July 1 to pick up the pieces and prepare for the re-opening of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

The Smithsonian Institution shut down the festival on Saturday, June 30 after a severe thunderstorm toppled the UH exhibit tent.

“We have a good bunch of people and the camaraderie is real positive, so we all worked together and we can get things done pretty fast,” said UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Extension Agent Glenn Teves.

“Everybody’s going around making sure that everybody’s okay. People have been showing us a lot of aloha and making sure that we’re all right,” said Rick Barboza, UH alumnus and owner of plant nursery Hui Kū Maoli Ola.

UH was lucky—there wasn’t any damage to equipment and exhibits under the tent and only minor damage to the thatched hut and aquaponics system.

Elsewhere, exhibits were flattened. Washington and Oregon State found their tents were gone with the wind and their exhibits scattered across the National Mall.

Tent contractors worked through Saturday, and by Sunday the fallen tents were resurrected and it was business as usual.

“We set up a washing station and we had to scrub every surface that we had. Some of them were ripped, some of them have chunks out of them, but we reassembled and we were actually up and running on time this morning,” said Kathy Barnard, Washington State University.

Crowds were thick as they visited the UH exhibits to learned about makahiki games, woodcarving, Native Hawaiian plants and hula.

A major storm was a minor setback for 20 public land-grant universities proudly showcasing their cultures and specialties once again.

“I think the whole community pulled together and it’s a beautiful day and there’s a great vibe going on and a lot of people coming through,” Barnard said.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The University of Hawaiʻi will be among 20 public land-grant universities to be featured in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. from June 27 to July 8, 2012.

The festival celebrates the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Morrill Act, which paved the way for higher education for rural and working class Americans.

The University of Hawaiʻi exhibits will feature traditional Hawaiian health and healing practices, a mini taro patch, non-instrument navigation, medicinal herb and organic farming and much more. Hawaiʻi Community College’s halau Unukupukupu and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Tuahine Troup will also perform.

See more on the University of Hawaiʻi’s Smithsonian experience.

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