Kiki Raina Tahitian island festival is today

Sun-Star staffMarch 21, 2013 

— The sights, sounds and culture of the South Pacific will be on display starting today, as the 34th annual Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete kicks off at the Merced County Fairgrounds.

The festivities are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The event typically draws as many as 1,200 people from all over the nation, and it's regarded as the oldest Tahitian festival outside the island of Tahiti.

During the festival, dancers of all ages sway and move to the beat of drums, wearing colorful skirts and opulent headdresses of red feathers, flowers, straw and seashells.

The festival started in Atwater, moved to Turlock and made its home in Merced in 1994.

The event will include dance competitions, island-style food and Polynesian arts and crafts. Tickets in advance for adults are $17 at the door; children 5 to 12 years old are $12 at the door.

For more information call (209) 726-1925 or visit www.kikiraina.com.

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