The University of Hawaiʻi wrapped up the 10 day Smithsonian Folklife Festival with an impromptu closing ceremony that came more than an hour ahead of schedule.

Weather forecasts predicting thundershowers and hail in the area forced the premature closure. That didn’t dampen the spirits of the UH contingent.

The festival was a triumph for the 80-member delegation from the University of Hawaiʻi System.

UH Mānoa’s Tuahine Troupe performed at The Kennedy Center and Hawaiʻi Community College’s Unukupukupu performed at the Library of Congress.

The delegation endured 100 degree temperatures to proudly share the Hawaiian culture with more than a million eager visitors from around the world.

The visitors learned about hula, taro pounding and farming, aquaponics, lomi lomi and Hawaiian health and healing, lauhala weaving and non-instrument navigation.

The visitors will never forget their experiences, but neither will their teachers.

A thunderstorm during the first week of the festival toppled the UH exhibit tent and wreaked havoc on the festival site but delegates were resilient. After a day of cleaning up and resurrecting tents the festival resumed, stronger than ever.

Participants say they will never forget the cultural exchanges, the people they met from all over the world, and the pride they felt in reaching and touching so many people through the Hawaiian culture.

The university’s participation in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival was made possible, in part by, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaiʻi Convention Center and the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation.

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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