COLUMBIA COUNTY, G.A. (WJBF)- While people are here to honor families facing tough times in Maui, they also want to bring the South Pacific culture here to the CSRA to show just how strong, vibrant and powerful their community is. 

“Yeah, it’s a little piece of home, um it actually is kind of soothing to have this around me– to know that we actually have a Gawaiian group,” Rankin said.  

Rory Rankin was born and raised in Hawaii and says he recently just got back from visiting family who lived miles away from the wildfire in Maui. 

“What’s unique to our island and our culture is the aloha spirit and the community, and it’s sad that it takes something like this that’s this devastation to bring that out. But we live it every day, we’re born and raised with it, it’s innate in us. That’s why, nobody asked me to volunteer, I feel compelled.”

But here in the CSRA, Rankin tells me, he’s glad to have found a home away from home. 

“We use the ‘G’ as an abbreviation and we have a Facebook group that we’re spreading all our videos from families and friends of what happened in Maui,” Rankin.

The festival was filled with Polynesian culture, foods, music, dancing and much more. 

“So, even though we’re far apart from the island– our home– this kind of stuff, dancing, embracing our culture, talk to people; even learn, try and learn some Hawaiian and Tahitian words…” Ben Hurman said.

Rankin says he’s glad to be a part of a festival with the mission to raise money and supplies for those back home.

“Ua Mau Ea o ka ‘Ana i ka Pono, which means the life of the line is perpetuated in righteousness,” Hurman said.

Organizers tell me while the festival will only last a day, their efforts to support their Ohana back home in Maui, will continue on.