LIHUE — The Taste of Hawaii, the signature fundraising event for the Rotary Club of Kapaa, has been postponed, according to Josie Cortez, president of the Kapaa Rotary club.
“Because of the recent natural occurrences, we’ve lost participation from some of our Big Island vendors who are assisting with relief efforts,” Cortez said. “Our Kauai vendors have also been dealing with recovery and relief from the recent flooding and rain-related incidents.”
The result is a field of vendors that would not be able to provide patrons with value for the tickets they purchased, Cortez said.
“These unforeseen circumstances find us making the difficult decision to postpone the Taste of Hawaii until next year on June 2, 2019,” Cortez said. “We are not canceling the event. At the time of our next Taste, we will not only celebrate 30 years of Taste of Hawaii, we will also celebrate the resilience of our people, and these Islands.”
The online auction will continue as scheduled, and people are encouraged to see more details in the newspapers as well as on the Taste of Hawaii website at www.tasteofhawaii.com.
Funds raised from the online auction will go toward the relief effort on Kauai.
“We realize this postponement will have an impact bigger than just the delay of the event,” Cortez said. “Many organizations who work the event receive funds in return for their services. There are various businesses who will also lose the sale of items the club purchases, or leases from them. We are thinking of other ways we can help those organizations.”
When the event was started in 1988 by the Rotary Club of Kapaa, it was the first of its kind in the state.
Since then, it has grown into the premier culinary celebration on the island, and throughout state. It has the support of Smith’s Tropical Gardens, chefs from across the state, beverage providers, musicians, and hundreds of volunteers and businesses who provide supplies and equipment.
“And, we cannot forget our patrons for their years of support,” Cortez said. “In 1992, when Hurricane Iniki struck the island of Kauai, the Taste of Hawaii was postponed that year to allow the island, and our residents to recover from the devastation and heal.”
This year is only the second time in the 30-year history that the Taste of Hawaii has been postponed.
Taste of Hawaii is the primary source of fundraising for the Rotary Club of Kapaa’s annual operating budget, and its success allows the club to continue its work of helping the community’s less fortunate by supporting community-based projects, providing scholarship grants, and by contributing to nonprofit organizations.
“We will be presenting scholarships later this month,” Cortez said. “By the end of fiscal year, June 30, the Rotary Club of Kapaa will have distributed more than $70,000 to the community. As of last year, the three Boys &Girls Clubs received online SAT prep courses for all of their high school students to help them get their test scores up. This will continue.”