There's a big happening on the March 14-16 weekend in Merced, California. Tahitian dance groups throughout the area and beyond will be competing in the longest running Tahitian dance event outside of Tahiti. The Merce Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete is organized by long time cultural supporter Becky Manandic who also runs her Polynesian store - Pacifica, in Merced. In her store you'll be able to peruse through unique Polynesian jewelry, pareos, Hawaiiana and a selection of island crafts and gifts. If you are in the area, feel free to visit and get the inside scoop about the event from her personally.
The competition will begin with a traditional solo competition and followed up in the evening with the Maeva Merced Pageant where tane (men) and vahine (women) compete for the coveted titles of Mr. and Miss Maeva Merced.
On Saturday and Sunday, group competition commences, cultural demonstrations, crafts and island foods, and soloist finals take the stage. Groups will compete in a number of categories including aparima, otea, ahuroa, drumming. Activities on Sunday will conclude with a tamari'i (children) exhibition.
The Merced Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete is located at the Merced County Fairgrounds. Tickets are available at Pacifica or by calling 209-726-1925 from 10am and 6pm PDT. Visit the official website for details.