GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Polynesian storyteller Emil Wolfgram raised his staff for dramatic effect Friday night at Maili Beach Park as he recounted a tale of the demigod Maui. Wolfgramm was the featured performer on Friday night for Starlight Storytelling, a two-day event held for the first time in eight years.
Stories by starlight
An infusion of cash helps a Waianae fest return after eight years
Sitting on the grass at the Maili Beach Park, about 200 people gathered under the stars to hear storyteller Emil Wolfgramm tell the legend of the fishing demigod Maui, who captured the sun to slow its journey.
After an eight-year absence, the Starlight Storytelling festival was held Friday and Saturday nights at Maili Beach Park.
"You people who live here in Waianae ... with all the Maui stories right around you, oh my goodness, you people are rich," Wolfgramm told the crowd Saturday night.
Event organizer Nettie Armitage-Lapilio said the two-day festival was shorter and smaller than in previous years, but attendees stayed hours after the last story ended.
"This year it's a slow comeback, but it's going to come back," said Armitage-Lapilio.
Mercy Stevens, 60, attended the event on both days with her two grandchildren and her daughter.
"It's something we don't do every day," said Stevens, who has lived in Waianae for 52 years. "It may not seem important but it is."
Her family enjoyed some of the six food and craft vendors at the event.
Starlight Storytelling had been on hiatus due to a lack of funds and no venue. But with about $14,000 from sponsors including the Hawaii Tourism Authority, early Hawaiian legends once again resounded in Waianae.
Armitage-Lapilio plans to expand Starlight Storytelling next year, making it a weeklong event with more storytellers. Wolfgramm also plans to perform in the 2009 festival.
"This is the new beginning," said Wolfgramm.
Armitage-Lapilio hopes next year's event attracts people from all over the island.
"We all have a rich heritage. If we don't pay attention to it, it will get lost," she said.