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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 28, 2010

For families, festival's a keeper

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Seven-year-old triplets Matthew, left, Alex and Amanda Tomita of Kāne'ohe get their fill of cotton candy at the Honolulu Family Festival at Magic Island.

Photos by REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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What: Honolulu Family Festival at Magic Island

When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. today, closing day

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Count Lei Tascott among those who think the annual Honolulu Family Festival at Magic Island is an event worth keeping.

On Thursday, Tascott visited the carnival with her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter for an evening of food, games and line dancing beneath the stars.

Yesterday, Tascott, 71, returned sans family to get in a few more dances.

Seriously, how often can a retired office manager get together with a couple of dozen strangers, on the grass, a stone's throw from the ocean, to do the electric slide?

"I came back today just to do this," Tascott said, laughing.

The festival opened on Thursday and wraps up today.

The festival has been presented annually since 2006, when it was introduced as part of the city's centennial celebration.

A festival representative said the first two days of the event attracted more people than the start of any previous festival. In 2006, the festival attracted an estimated 65,000 people.

Yesterday, several thousand people packed the large picnic area.

The festival included an exhibition area highlighting a variety of city and county departments and, of course, the Honolulu rail project.

Nadine and O.J. Willis stopped by the First Hawaiian International Auto Show before retiring to the fair for lunch and a few rides and games for their children, Zanden and Zaydi.

"It looks bigger than the 50th State Fair," Nadine Willis said. "It's a really good event and it's nice here with the trees and shade."

Irene Inere, 60, found a spot beneath a tree while her husband, John Keawe, took their grandchildren, Kamuela, Keara and Khasan, to check out the rides.

"This is the first year we've come," she said. "The food and the rides are pretty cheap and it's just nice to get out."