The 125th Heiva I Tahiti, or Tahiti Festival, the biggest celebration of the year throughout Tahiti and Her Islands, opens on Friday and continues through July 21, offering a nearly month-long program of traditional, cultural and entertaining events.
Some 30 traditional dancing and singing groups will compete this year in competition that will be held nightly from July 1-July 8 at Place To'ata in downtown Papeete. All performances will be held from 7-11 pm.
After seven nights of competition there will be an awards ceremony on the night of July 19 and a special dance show orchestrated by Coco Hotahota entitled "Once upon a time . . . "
A special evening featuring all of this year's winning groups will be held the next night, July 20, from 7-10:30 pm.
A camera show presenting many of the competing groups will be held on July 21 at the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, where there also will be a demonstration of traditional Tahitian sports.
The ticket prices for the first seven nights of dancing and singing competition from July 1-8 are 2,500 French Pacific francs (US$29/€21), 1,500 francs (US$17/€13) and 1,000 francs (US$12/€8). Ticket prices for the July 20 performance by this year's winning groups are 3,000 French Pacific francs (US$35/€25), 2,500 francs and 1,500 francs. Tickets for the camera show on July 21 cost 2,000 French Pacific francs (US$23/€17).
Another one of the most popular Tahiti Festival events is always the outrigger canoe racing in Papeete Harbor. There will be two days of races this year, starting at 8 am each day. There will be races of three- and six-paddler canoes on June 29 and one- and 16-paddler canoes on June 30.
There also will be two days of outrigger canoe ocean racing. A race for junior men will start at 9 am on July 6 from Papeete, going to the Tahara'a Point and returning to Papeete. A race for senior women will start at 1 pm the same day and cover the same course.
The next day, July 7, outrigger canoes will leave in front of Place To'ata at 8 am and paddle to Moorea and back.
Other Tahiti Festival events include:
A regatta of sailing outrigger canoes from 10 am to 4 pm at Venus Point on July 6 and July 7;
At the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, stone-lifting competition for women, a fruit carriers' race for women and individual javelin-throwing on July 14 from 1-4:30 pm; stone-lifting for men, a fruit carriers' race for men and javelin-throwing by teams on July 15 from 4:30 pm;
Javelin-throwing, stone-lifting for all categories and copra preparation contests for men and women individuals and teams on July 17 at the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands from 4:30-8:30 pm.