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Duke’s OceanFest canceled for second year following spike in COVID-19 cases

After a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Hawaii, the Duke’s OceanFest ocean sports festival has been canceled for a second straight year.

The festival’s Board of Directors announced the cancellation of this year’s celebration of events and competitions Wednesday.

“Protecting the health of our ohana, our kupuna and our keiki is always the utmost priority for Duke’s OceanFest. The sudden rise of COVID-19 in recent weeks due to the highly contagious delta variant has made it impossible for us to bring people together safely and celebrate all that Duke’s OceanFest represents,” said Chris Colgate, co-chair of Duke’s OceanFest, in a statement. “This is the right decision, but a disappointing one, for a nonprofit that is supported by dedicated volunteers and community-minded sponsors and is inspired by the way Duke Kahanamoku lived his life with love and aloha, and shared his kindness and goodwill with everyone he encountered in Hawaii and around the world.”

The festival was schedule to take place from Aug. 24-29. The annual festival is a tribute to Olympic swimming champion Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, also known as the “Father of International Surfing.”

Planning will begin soon for next year’s festival, Colgate said. It will also be held in August, during the week of Kahanamoku’s Aug. 24 birthday. He was born in 1890.

The annual celebration began in 2002 and supports the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, with proceeds that help fund the foundation’s scholarships and grants for Hawaii residents and nonprofit groups competing in waters sports and volleyball.

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