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The Punahou Carnival returns
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / firstname.lastname@example.org
As this story hits doorsteps in print or pops up on your screen in electronic format, the curtain is rising on another year of Punahou Carnival. Malasadas and Hawaiian food, rides and games, haku lei and the White Elephant Tent, the Carnival Art Gallery, cars parked far and wide … all are back on the scene.
PUNAHOU CARNIVAL 2013: “THE GREAT CARNIVAL ROUNDUP”
Where: Punahou School
When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. today and Saturday
Cost: Free, with rides, food and memorabilia available for purchase
If you’ve ever attended a carnival, these diverting (the rides), delicious (the food) or simply time-consuming (the parking, the lines, the looking for a favorite game) impressions were likely indelible.
Punahou School doesn’t have specific attendance figures for the carnival, but it’s safe to say that tens of thousands of visits have occurred.
More than 4,000 volunteers work on the carnival. Proceeds support the school’s financial aid program.
The malasadas booth team plans to make 175,000 fried-dough goodies this year, up from last year’s 166,500. And when the carnival opens today, 9,000 jars of mango chutney will await purchase by fairgoers.
IF YOU’VE never attended the Punahou Carnival, some attractions to consider: Hawaiian Plate at Dole Hall, where luau foods are sold and prominent Hawaii musical acts (including Henry Kapono) perform; live portrait sketches by Wayne Takazono, at the school’s art gallery inside the Mamiya Science Center; a silent auction for items that include a chartered cruise on a 52-foot yacht.
Food available includes corn on the cob, Portuguese bean soup and gyros.
The Carnival Art Gallery will display 1,000 works of art by 250 Hawaii artists, well-known and less familiar, offering sculpture, jewelry, paintings, bowls formed of turned wood, ceramics and blown glass.
This year’s theme is “The Wild Wild West: The Great Carnival Roundup,” so expect to see plenty of cowboy-inspired imagery around campus.
THE CARNIVAL Art Gallery opened with a reception on Tuesday. Nature-inspired paintings by Honolulu artist Sandra Blazel are included in the exhibition.
Blazel, a 1975 Punahou graduate whose acrylic works have been featured at the Punahou Carnival for more than a dozen years, says the event is an annual trigger for her to renew her thinking about painting.
“It’s a bookmark in the same way that I think sports season might be,” she said. “Like with New Year’s resolutions, this is the beginning of the next art cycle, I guess.”
This year, Blazel is venturing further into abstraction in her paintings. The reception she received at last year’s carnival encouraged her to stretch, she said.
“In the past, people have known me for my old Hawaii images, but I’ve been getting into things like foliage, and sort of drilling down,” she said.
The creative cycle goes something like this: anticipation and inspiration early on, giving way to stress as the deadline to deliver her paintings draws close, she said.
“I’m usually painting for, like, six weeks straight,” she said. “The middle of December, I realize, oh my God, (the carnival is) in another month and a half!”
After delivering her paintings, anticipation builds again, as she envisions their reception.
“It’s a big thing for artists,” Blazel said. “It’s what we talk about for the two months prior.”
As for her Punahou Carnival experience, Blazel says she enjoys the constancy of some attractions. “When I’m able to go, I have to pick up my mango chutney and haku lei, and from that standpoint, it’s wonderfully the same.
“It’s a wonderful gathering place,” she said.
LAST YEAR, the school made a leap into the app age with iCarnival, an iPhone app (interactive program for mobile phones) that lets users save a car’s location, use an online map to locate treats and attractions and track prices. All of these features save time and help carnival-goers avoid frustration.
This year, the app was updated to include live notifications and a Twitter feed. Heavens forbid the malasadas should run out, but if they do, you’ll know.
And if an app user wants to share her amazing Ferris wheel photo (or shot of the line) with the world, she’ll simply tweet it with the hashtag #punahoucarnival and it will be done.
The iPhone app for the carnival is a new feature that brings the event squarely into the present.
Ezra Varady, a Punahou senior, developed the app with 2012 graduate Travis Le last year as part of an Advanced Placement school project in computer science. It was downloaded 1,500 times.
This year, as part of an independent study project, Varady worked with AP computer science students Scott Ogata and Isaac Lee to add the new features.
Reached on a weekday evening after a long day of classes and then rehearsal for the school’s annual, senior-presented variety show, for which he’s assistant stage manager, Varady said the final days of programming the app involved late nights and some “pretty insane” hours.
In the end, though, Varady said the programming and time management lessons learned were worth the trouble.
For example, Varady explained, users will see “bubbles” pop up with prices and location of carnival offerings when they click on the carnival map.
“Getting to know where things are at (the) carnival is notoriously hard,” he said. … “Last year, I worked a lot on the map.”
This year’s new features, push notifications (a kind of instant message from the carnival) and a Twitter feed, will help inform app users of new developments.
Instant, location-based information “is definitely where things are headed” for users of mobile technology, Varady said. He plans to attend college to become a programmer, so these trends matter to him.
TRADITION MATTERS to Ann Kadowaki, a quilter, haku lei maker and Punahou parent of two graduates.
Kadowaki’s voice warms and her enthusiasm is evident when she talks of making lei, which she now contributes not only to Punahou but also to events at ‘Iolani School and Kamehameha Schools.
Abundant materials are presented for the lei-makers as the carnival approaches, she said.
“You can experiment and do any kind of crazy stuff, practice and try new things — it’s a wonderful time,” she said, adding, “a lot of work, though!”
Lei-making has influenced many aspects of Kadowaki’s life, bringing new friends into her orbit, providing a creative opportunity and allowing her to support the school.
“I love the school,” she said. “I’ve found a lot of things that I like to do, and it’s broadened my interests.”
As for the Punahou Carnival, “The parents all work and the kids gotta work. I think it’s a really good thing to show everyone that you have to pitch in,” she said.
Kadowaki made her first quilt from Punahou Carnival fabric in 2007 as a graduation gift for her son.
“It wasn’t very nice,” she said, laughing. “But you practice. …”
Kadowaki had the insight that a parent might well want to collect a quilt made with fabric from all 13 years of the school’s carnivals. She contributes one each year, and parents bid for it.
Kadowaki embroiders phrases evoking memories of the carnival on the sides of each quilt: “malasadas, mango chutney, Portuguese bean soup. … I’m aiming at the parent who gets sentimental,” she said, cheerily.
Last year, her quilt sold at a silent auction for $1,200. When she found out, she was in the lei booth, cleaning out the refrigerator. “I was shocked,” she said, modestly, but admitted, “It was not a bad quilt.”
On the Net:
» Find a Punahou Carnival map and price list online at bit.ly/9JMTGM.
» Tweet or find Twitter posts about the carnival by using the hashtag #punahoucarnival.
» Download the iCarnival app for live updates, a find-your-car function and an online map at tinyurl.com/icarnival
» See student-produced video that goes behind the scenes for stories about the iCarnival app, Haku Lei booth, carnival food prep and more at punahou.edu/carnival