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Thousands gather for Honolulu ukulele festival

- Associated Press - Monday, July 18, 2011

HONOLULU (AP) - Thousands of people gathered in Waikiki's Kapiolani Park to hear top musicians play the ukulele.

The 41st Annual Ukulele Festival on Sunday featured players ranging in age five to senior citizens. They came from Thailand, Italy, South Korea, the U.S. mainland as well as Hawaii.

Organizer Roy Sakuma says the festival only had 50 players when it started in 1970. This year 900 people performed in front of several thousand listeners lounging on benches and under tents at Kapiolani Park.

Sakuma says many people have long failed to take the ukulele seriously because they thought it was a toy. But he says that's changing.

He says the sweetness of the ukulele's sound attracts people.

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