Shopping mania extends to craft fairs

There were obi bags, manapua bags, furoski, picnic bags, a recycle bag holder and even a beach towel that transformed into a bag at the Kaua‘i Handworks and the All Saints craft fairs yesterday.

And for every bag, there was a shopper. At the Wilcox School cafeteria, the scene of the Handworks fair, the line to enter snaked along the building exterior and into the Lihu‘e County Park.

It appeared the Black Friday frenzy was still in full effect.

“I wanted to go to Macy’s, but they aren’t open, yet,” one customer said. “So I came here, instead.”

Another, who had braved the 5 a.m. crowd at Wal-Mart, said, “This is nothing. When I got there at 5 a.m., the parking lot was full and I found out people were camping since 11 p.m. Thanksgiving night.”

Aaron Furugen, a volunteer at the All Saints event in Kapa‘a, said they have been lucky because the church’s youth group continues to host the annual event.

“People know the youth, and the vendors come back because they know the young people,” Furugen said. “Because they’ve been doing that cycle for many years, the event becomes traditional.”

Over at the Wilcox School, Moani Genegabuas announced that this year’s fair would be her last. Genegabuas, the granddaughter of Vicky Ramos, one of the fair leaders, said next year she and her grandmother will be in marketing.

Ramos said while shopping at a craft fair in Honolulu she came across a biopro line of products that she will start concentrating on with the help of Moani, who has helped at the Kaua‘i Handworks fair since she could barely crawl.

Heather Lee, on the other hand, was enjoying her very first craft fair as a volunteer along with mom Jennifer Lee at All Saints. Known as the bag lady, Jennifer Lee said it was nice to have her daughter’s help.

“I do the sewing, but Heather likes to work with crafts, so she’s doing jewelry with water pearls today,” Lee said.

The holiday frenzy is far from over, and vendors such as Gayle Konishi are already looking ahead to future events on the calendar.

The Kaua‘i Museum hosts its annual Christmas Craft Fair on Dec. 7, and on Dec. 24 and 25, the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School will be hosting a first-ever two-day event.

“The fair coincides with pickup for the cookie dough and another fundraiser,” Konishi said. “By the time I get through with the Friday night thing, it’ll be close to midnight, so I just thought, ‘Why not make it into two days?’”

Phyllis Andrade, a longtime crafter who was vending at the All Saints fair, will be at that event, too, offering her versatile picnic bag and beach towel in one.

“When you do crafting for a long time, the ideas kind of just come,” Andrade said.

But the biggest draw was the shade being cast by the kamani tree at the All Saints Church in Kapa‘a.

After perusing the offerings, shoppers picked up a snack from the church’s youth group and were held captive by the shade and cooling breeze — a far better fate than having to get back into the traffic.

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


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