It started with a ‘Squeek’

PRINCEVILLE — Jeni Hardy is a quilter, and cannot believe how fast time has flown.

Hardy is also one of the organizers of the Church of the Pacific monthly craft fairs at Princeville, that will celebrate its fifth anniversary on May 13, the day before Mother’s Day.

“We started the first one because it was Mother’s Day,” Hardy reflects. “At first, it was just an event for local crafters.

“From that start, we would do it about three or four times a year, and now, it’s expanded so that we host the event each month, usually on the first Saturday,” Hardy said.

Vendors flock into Princeville from all parts of the island, and their offerings, which are presented under the cover of the church’s eaves and hallways, are supplemented by baked goods and other snack items prepared by the event organizers.

Hardy, who started out offering her quilting work, is now one of the crafters who gets a lot of interest, as she has come out with a catnip quilt.

Combining her skill in quilting with the love for her cat Squeek, Hardy has come up with a product that has been brought back to as far away as Mainland destinations by cat-loving shoppers.

In addition to the pet items, Hardy has discovered that she could also produce quilted pot covers which camouflage otherwise plain pots containing house plants. These add a decorative flair to any interior landscape they’re placed in.

Of course, she still has her offering of quilts, but is quick to pull out her album that is fronted by a picture of Squeek.

The pages are full of pictures from customers who send her copies of their pets enjoying the catnip quilt from all parts of the country.

Hardy is quick to say that some of her original vendors are still coming to the monthly event. Among these are Bob Wright, a photographer who specializes in spectacular Kaua‘i landscapes and, more notably, seascapes, featuring surrealistic-looking surf.

Wright will be on hand, as will a more-contemporary cast of characters, such as the Christmas (Amy Christmas), Mermaid (Lori Ornellas of Mermaid Productions) and, quite possibly, the Pirate (Kaleia Valin, a fourth-grader) who shares her mom Katie’s table.

Hardy said these crafters will prelude their appearance by being on hand Saturday at the Kauai Christian Academy in Kilauea, which hosts a craft fair to help raise funds for the school’s operations.

This event is being spearheaded by Katie Valin, and will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school’s campus on Kilauea Road.

Hardy said that, for the special fifth-year celebration at the Church of the Pacific, organizers have secured contributions from the 25-plus vendors, which will be given away as door prizes.

Shoppers will receive lucky-number tickets just for attending the event, and will have additional chances because vendors will also distribute tickets to shoppers who purchase items.

The prizes will be given away at 1 p.m., and recipients must be present to win, Hardy said. “They have until 2 p.m. to claim their winnings before we draw another number.” Ken Emerson is one of the entertainers who will headline the free slate that will run from 10 a.m. until noon, Hardy said. Other entertainers include Alan Thomas, Millicent Cummings, Michaelle Edwards, and harpist Carmen Dragon.

Members of Hula Halau O Hanalei, under the direction of kumu hula Naomi Yokotake, will also present shoppers with their special dance treat.

Hardy said that shoppers can also whet their appetite with special food offerings that will bolster their normal baked goods.

For more information, people may call Hardy at 826-6481, or simply show up for the free event between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on May 13.

As one of the crafters said during a recent fair, “This one is good. There are no porta-potties.”

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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