AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands jammed Pearlridge Center for a kendama competition, a turnout that surprised organizers.
"Yo-Dama!: The Yoyo & Kendama Fest" at Pearlridge featured a competition, with registration starting at 10 a.m. The competition itself was supposed to begin at 1 p.m., but because of the big turnout, organizers pushed the start time up approximately an hour and a half.
Organizers said 1,800 registered to compete before registration was cut off.
The event included Kendama USA stars, including Jake Wiens, Haley Bishoff, Dave Mateo and TJ Kolesnik, who were greeted like rock stars.
"I think the most people we had at an event was about five or six hundred or so, and that was at Battle Seattle, and we had a 'Dama Fest in Atlanta. Those were the two biggest events but those two events put together does not compare to this one," said Mateo, who looked at amazement at the hundreds of kids practicing their kendama tricks around him.
One of those kids was Roi Katigbak of Ewa Beach. "I was like oh my goodness, I don't think I can handle this," the Holomua Elementary School student said, shortly after being one of the finalists in his heat of the competition.
Organizers said because of the popularity of the event, another one will be scheduled soon.
Related Story: Kendama pros show off skills at upcoming festival