Coconuts v. rain: coconuts win

KAPAÔA Ñ ÒMy hands cannot feel already,Ó Aaron Furugen of Hawaiian Blizzard Shaved Ice told Jesse Fukushima.

Furugen and a crew of his Ôohana were kept busy cranking out the local delicacy at the Ninth Annual Coconut Festival Saturday, hosted by members of the Kapaa Business Association.

The event, at KapaÔa Beach Park, concludes today, Sunday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

ÒI didnÕt know if the weather was going to hold up or not,Ó Furugen explained to Fukushima, who stopped by to check on the entrepreneur.

ÒSo, I just loaded 50 blocks of ice, and itÕs a good thing the weather is holding up. You want to make? I got an extra machine.Ó

Fears of rain and less-than-ideal weather conditions attributed to the dissipated weather system Kenneth were allayed in KapaÔa, as a steady stream of patrons were greeted with fleecy white clouds against blue skies.

The humid conditions of the unstable weather system were blown away by gentle trades that cooled down the KapaÔa Beach Park crowd.

ÒWeÕve gotten bigger this year,Ó said Cathy Simao, one of the longtime festival participants.

Simao, who was heading up the keiki activities tent, said, ÒWeÕve still got the drug-free coloring contest. The popular coconut painting is drawing all kinds of artists this year and, for the first time, children can make their own note cards using cutouts fashioned from the fibrous layer found in coconut trees.Ó

These included familiar Hawaiian icons like palm trees, pineapples and porpoises.

As Simao and Bev Pang of the countyÕs anti-drug office cut out additional icons, Simao said, ÒWeÕre really thankful for Mayor Bryan Baptiste for helping us with this event.Ó

The silent auction has grown to where its own special tent was required this year, Simao noted. The special tent was also joined by a kidÕs news anchor tent, where Russell the Rooster was one of the special guests, along with Carol Everett of the Kauai Humane Society.

Simao pointed out that, in addition to those new features, organizers also added a coconut-milk bar, although the familiar ice-cold coconut (with straw) was still being dispensed from the food booth.

As part of the kidÕs news anchor station, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School video instructor Kevin Matsunaga had about six of his student videographers on hand to document the event, some students getting a first-hand experience at being television anchors as they donned coconut hats while interviewing festival participants and patrons.

Leah Aiwohi, the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School computer instructor, was tasked with taking still photos to back up the video, and was checking one of two craft tents set up in the park.

Volunteers from American Savings Bank manned the entrance, with Joan Kealalio and volunteers from the KapaÔa High School Interact Club manning a table immediately behind the entrance, to conduct a mini survey of patrons to the event.

ÒWe have a lot,Ó Kealalio said while gripping a stack of surveys. But, the large number of attendees made short work of the surveys, as Kealalio and her group were recycling the original stack that ran out just about two hours into the Saturday event.

In the craft-demonstration tent, Jerry Kaneholani worked on finishing a coconut hat that he described as being almost twice the normal-sized hat. ÒThey donÕt want to learn,Ó he said of the customer of the large hat. ÒThey rather just buy.Ó

Nearby, Kathy Cowan of the Kauai Recycling for the Arts program was on hand, doing glass-beading using remnants of the various bottles that come through the Kauai Resource Center.

Cowan had her own crew of volunteers and, due to liability issues, opted to let patrons just watch rather than get involved in hands-on activities.

Pat Pannell, executive director of the Kapaa Business Association, serves as this yearÕs festival coordinator.

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