The Palikū Arts Festival is an annual spring tradition at Windward Community College, drawing families and thousands of people each year.

It’s not a festival focused on art, but the arts—performing arts, literary arts, visual arts, and most importantly, the process of making and expressing yourself through art.

“The focus here is really hands-on as much as possible,” said Ben Moffat, the Palikū Arts Festival co-coordinator. “Having people do art instead of watch it.”

That is why the Palikū Arts Festival is great for kids and kids at heart. Keiki flocked around the numerous activities.

“Just to be here and have so many multi exposures,” said Mary Ann Kaopua, who brought her four grandchildren. “All different fields of art and they just love it.”

One of the most popular activities was the pottery wheel, where children got to work with wet clay. There were also big crowds at the woodcarving exhibit, as kids got to try their hand at carving using bars of soap.

“It’s fun because you get to like, carve a picture inside soap,” said 7-year-old Sarah Pacheco. “I’m carving a fish.”

“It’s fun,” said Windward CC student Sean Ross who was working with the kids. “You just let them go and they figure out. Some people come up with something nice and other people just, they’re just carving away at the soap and they’re just having a good time which all that really matters.”

Ross, like all of the Windward CC students who manned the exhibits, got a chance to see how much they’ve learned and to get a teacher’s perspective.

“It’s hard to teach to people,” said Ross with a hearty laugh. “You got to let them explore themselves.”

Of course, there is also good food and lots of music with two stages—an outdoor performance area and inside the Palikū Theatre.

The exhibits and subjects covered are too numerous to mention—drawing and sketching, music labs, photo labs, print making, story telling, poetry workshops, stage combat—all in a family friendly environment.

It is a way of thanking the community and giving people a glimpse into the wonderful world of Windward Community College, according to Moffat.

“We have people coming in, saying, I never knew this was here. I never knew I could study drawing and painting here. I never knew I could learn music here,” said Moffat ,who then added with a sly smile: “it’s also a marketing ploy, too.”