The Porterville Public Library celebrated the end of its summer reading program Saturday evening with a finale spectacular downtown at Centennial Plaza Park.
The sun had the left the evening warm, but a cloudy sky and a slight breeze kept temperatures manageable enough for a good crowd to come out and join the library’s celebration.
Families had scattered themselves across the park in various areas in the north side of the grass, and shortly after 6 p.m. the evening’s entertainment began.
Kealoha Sakamoto, a hostess for Island Style Productions out of Visalia, introduced herself to the audience and invited two young ladies to the stage. The two girls were wearing matching black tops with decorative red tulle around their waists. Sakamoto pressed play on her phone and tropical music began to play through a speaker facing the audience.
The girls began to showcase their talents as hula dancers, and the ancestors cheered them on with a loud round of applause at the end of the performance.
Sakamoto brought up more students who performed different styles of island dancing, each one unique and different, yet the movements flowed into each other seamlessly.
In the middle of the performance, Sakamoto asked for audience participation and invited to the stage any children from the audience who wanted to learn some of the Hawaiian dance moves. A group of children rushed forward and with the help and guidance from Sakamoto and her students, put on a show for smiling parents who sat in the grass recording videos and taking pictures.
While the dancers took the stage back and continued their show, staff members from the library passed out refreshing popsicles to eager children. Kids with their lips stained blue, green, and pink flashed toothy grins at their parents.
The island dancers performed for the crowd for roughly 40 minutes before Sakamoto thanked everyone for coming and passed the microphone to the next group of performers, the Cen-Cal Twirlers.
With big smiles on their faces, a group of girls took center stage armed with batons. Pop music filled the air and in the blink of an eye, the girls were spinning and twirling their batons in their hands. At certain points in the music, batons would fly to great heights before being caught. When this would happen, the audience would clap and whistle. A couple of the performers entertained the crowd with impressive solo performances.
Shortly after 7 p.m., library staff thanked everyone for coming out for the finale and announced the summer reading logs needed to be handed in as soon as possible. All of the remaining popsicles were passed out as families gathered their belongings and readied themselves for their rides home.