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World Fireknife Championship opens at Polynesian Cultural Center


    Falaniko Penesa during his winning performance at the 25th annual World Fireknife Championship in 2017.

The Polynesian Cultural Center will host the 26th annual World Fireknife Championship starting tonight and continuing Friday and Saturday.

The 2018 championship, part of PCC’s We are Samoa Festival, will bring talented fireknife dancers from across the United States as well as Samoa, Tahiti, Japan and Australia during three nights of competition.

A total of 36 competitors will take to the stage in their respective divisions, seeking to win the title of World Fireknife Champion.

Preliminary rounds for the junior (ages 6 to 11), intermediate (ages 12 to 17) and senior divisions (ages 18 and older) begin at 6 p.m. tonight, followed by finals for the junior and intermediate divisions, and semi-finals for the senior division at 6 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, the finals for the senior division will be held during the intermission of the 7:30 p.m. evening show “Ha: Breath of Life,” followed by the crowning of the champion at the show’s conclusion at 9 p.m.

The festival also includes the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Pacifc Theater, which will showcase competitions in a series of traditional practices including basket weaving, coconut husking and fire-making.

Ticket information and a full schedule are at

>> Related Video: 2017 World Fireknife Championship highlights (mobile app users, click here)

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