‘Nutty’ weekend in Kapa‘a

KAPA‘A — There is no other event like it anywhere else, said Dale Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld was working with Mark Jeffers while emceeing Saturday’s coconut pie-eating contest for keiki at the 10th annual Coconut Festival at the Kapa‘a Beach Park.

The two-day celebration of the namesake for the Royal Coconut Coast marks its 10th anniversary this year and is hosted by the Kapa‘a Business Association.

“It’s a part of Kapa‘a,” said Aaron Furugen between grinding out a non-stop supply of shave ice. “We come out to help support the event because we’re a part of the town.”

For Furugen, the sun that burned through the Kapa‘a skies served to create a line that seemingly had no end as people sought out the colorful treat as a way to beat the heat.

Furugen felt lucky to find a helper to assist him at the booth, as all of his family is on O‘ahu for the weekend.

Tad Miura Jr. was one of the KBA members who was working in the information booth from where he could keep an eye on the traffic at the sidewalk sale taking place at M. Miura Store across the street from the park.

“This is a good time for people in the community to get to know the names and faces behind Kapa‘a,” Miura said.

Coconuts were the theme driving the majority of the booths, whether it was a craft table or activity station.

Hale ‘Ohana o Kapa‘a hosted a variety of children’s activities including coconut painting, which seemed to draw the most attention.

Teresa and Becky Nash of California were two of the keiki involved in applying a makeover to the plain brown skin of the dried coconut.

“My brothers are back at the hotel watching football,” the girls said. “They came with us the whole week and said Saturday was their time to watch football. We’re doing some shopping and heading out to Princeville.”

An extension of the keiki activity tent was the Boys & Girls Mobile, an activity center on wheels hosted by Amanda Kaleiohi of the Boys & Girls Club.

“The kids are getting to know this,” Kaleiohi said. “Right now, we go out to Anahola, Kilauea and Wailua. The schedule is pretty much based on the school schedule. Since this is an inter-session week, we were out earlier than we normally are.”

Kaleiohi said the specially equipped truck is a new concept for the Boys & Girls Club and Kaua‘i was fortunate to get two of the new mobile activity centers — one for Waimea and one for the Kapa‘a area sites.

Kaleiohi said she sent her aides to shop and visit the craft tents before the crowd develops because in the past, once the people arrive, it’s non-stop work.

But not everything was coconuts as Connie Clausen of American Savings Bank worked out a creative way of manning two tables at once in the craft tent — wear badges for both companies while sitting in the middle of the two tables. Clausen was doing volunteer duty for the Kaua‘i Concert Society in addition to American Savings Bank where she is the branch manager for the Kapa‘a branch.

Rosenfeld said the idea for a coconut festival was the brainchild of Kapa‘a businessman Bob Bartolo 10 years ago.

Since that time, the annual event has grown steadily over the years. The 2006 version included a wider selection of crafts from more vendors attending the event, cooking shows and recipe contests featuring coconuts.

Nikki Lucidarme was busy watching the keiki compete in the coconut pie eating contest.

“You need to come back Sunday,” she said from the shade of the spectator tent. “Sunday is the recipe contest and I’m going to be in it.”

Meanwhile, culinary demonstrations featuring chefs and culinary experts from establishments along the Royal Coconut Coast were spread out over the two-day event in a special tent.

Entertainment also stemmed from entertainers and groups who call the Royal Coconut Coast home.

The events were enjoyed by many.

“He had to come all the way from Mililani for this,” Eric Amsden’s mom said while wiping down the youngster under a spigot.

Amsden was declared the winner for the keiki division of the coconut pie eating contest.

His dad later earned top honors in the adult division.

A youngster who described what he knew about coconuts to Mark Jeffers said, “It’s nutty.”

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

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