Hundreds of families flooded the front field of BYU–Hawaii to kick off the Laie Days celebration while children ages 1 to 18 played on the cloudy summer day on July 2. The event, hosted by the Laie Community Association, included six bounce houses, a slip and slide, large double water slide, dunk tank, bounce houses and hot dogs.
Two soaking wet boys, Alma Tafiti, 8, and Teauvaa Rawlins-Crivello, 11, said they are cousins from Laie who attended the Primary fun day.
Rawlins-Crivello said this was his first time coming to the celebration. He described, “We went on some bouncy houses and some slides. It was really fun.” He said his favorite part was sliding down the double set of water slides. “I give the slide a 10 out of 10, the slip and slide a 9 out of 10 and the whole thing 100 out of 100.”
Tafiti explained he and his cousins all live close together in Laie and Hauula, and they love coming to fun activities like this one with their big extended family.
The water games and bounce houses were manned by volunteers from Laie wards, BYUH students and football players from Kahuku High School.
Shown Canite, a senior from Virginia majoring in accounting and psychology, volunteered at the event. He said, “I love to see the kids having fun. I think it’s a great way for kids to communicate with each other.”
Canite said he was impressed with the children’s cooperation because they all followed his directions and nobody got hurt. He shared he thinks it’s important to fulfill people’s social needs while taking COVID-19 precautions. “I think it’s beneficial for everybody when everything is open like this.”
Events like Laie Days help BYUH students and Laie community members enjoy their summer to the fullest, Canite expressed. “You only have one summer of 2021.”
Leato Brown, a lifelong Laie community member, shared, “I think [this kind of event is] a great thing. Especially after the pandemic, kids have had no lives for almost a year. I think it’s a great opportunity to have kids burn energy and learn how to socialize. [The children] are learning how to make friends.”
The celebration was extra special for Brown because he said he got to see his son enjoy playing with other children. “I haven’t seen my kid play with other kids for months because everyone is trying to stay away from the virus,” he said. “From my perspective as a parent, it’s a blessing to have them come here.”
The Laie community has hosted an annual Laie Days Pioneer Celebration for the last 35 years, Brown said. “It’s usually for the community members from the mainland to come back home. You have guys you haven’t seen in years show up out of nowhere.”
Brown pointed out classmates from high school with their spouses and children scattered through the crowd of hundreds of people. He said it’s sometimes shocking to see what people are up to and a joy to reunite.
The Laie Days celebration varies every year, explained Brown, and this year is a little smaller than usual because of COVID-19 concerns. However, he said the bounce houses are always a must because the children love them.
The rest of the celebration went all through the night and included a concert, dance, movies, breakfast and a devotional. Brown said the community also hosts sports tournaments for adults to play pickle ball, volleyball, netball and other sports throughout the month.