So I took Maria’s recommendation and spent an evening at the Pearson Park Amphitheater in Anaheim watching the spec-freaking-tacular fire knife competition. If you haven’t taken time to stop in and see this event in its five year history, you’ll have to make sure and drop in next year for the sixth annual competition. It’s well worth the fifteen dollar admission price and features adorable kids doing impressive Samoan dances and some seriously buff warriors showing off their fire knife skills.
This particular contest was hosted by the actual descendants of Freddie Letuli, the man who literally invented the concept of adding fire to the traditional knife dances the warriors performed before and after battles. Guess there’s nothing like flames and sharp blades to celebrate your victory or to scare the crap out of your enemies?
The winners of the three divisions (pictured above) all performed remarkably well. Have you ever been to one of those tacky but awesome fakey luaus? Have you ever seen the attempt some of their dancers make at the fire knife? It’s often vanilla, slow and not nearly as thrilling as it should be, Not so at this competition! The “world championships” are held here in Anaheim and tonight we saw competitors from all across Polynesia, Asia and the United States.
The live drummers provided the soundtrack and the rhythmic pounding was down right infectious; just try not to tap your feet, I dare you! At two and a half hours, the program was just long enough without becoming overly extensive and numbing to your butt. While there, we checked out the tasty long-rice, kalua pork and the many polynesian vendors on site. Needless to say, we came away with full stomaches and more than a few trinkets.
What will tide us over till next year? Well there is always YouTube.