KUKUI’ULA – The sight Tuesday of vacated vendor booths at Spouting Horn Park, stripped down to the last wind-blocking and sun-protecting tarp, was reminiscent of what some nearby homes looked like after hurricanes came to visit.
While no fewer than a dozen buses full of visitors, most off the MV Dawn Princess docked at Nawiliwili Harbor for the day, stopped at the park, the visitors with cash in hand to make purchases, there were no vendors to greet them.
County representatives the day before ordered the vendors to vacate, with county representatives stating they had to leave to make way for park improvements expected to take a month to complete.
Both visitors and tour-bus drivers agreed that while repairs to the park may be needed, a compromise position should be reached that will allow the vendors to continue selling their wares while the construction happens.
“Repairs are needed, but don’t shut them down completely,” said Nani Gardner of Lawa’i, a bus driver for Roberts Hawaii Tours. “Everybody gotta survive. They’re all our friends. It’s sad.”
Especially returning visitors, who know of the values and unique items available at Spouting Horn, were disappointed upon hearing the news that there would be no goods available for purchase at the county park, said Gardner.
Gardner said she sometimes shops at the stands herself.
Canadian visitors off the cruise ship said they would definitely have parted with some of their cash at the park had their been shopping opportunities.
Art Moore, who lives near Toronto in Ontario, said he and his wife would both have done some Spouting Horn shopping if the vendors were there to do business.
Alice Swinney, of Vancouver, British Columbia, said she would have definitely purchased something. Her husband Darwin Swinney nodded his head in concurrence.
A meeting between the county and vendors had been set for this week, where vendors intended to offer a plan wherein they would be able to set up temporary booths on a grassy area between the bus parking lot and the park’s namesake, the Spouting Horn at the ocean.
Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or 245-3681 (ext. 224).