Food, music key to kupuna crafts

Food, craft and entertainment proved to be a perfect formula for drawing people to the annual Senior Center craft fair in Lihu‘e, yesterday.

“We opened the doors early so shoppers could browse,” said Aaron Uyeda of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Before 9 a.m., people were flowing through the doors to check out the goods lined on tables manned by senior center representatives — from note cards to hand-sewn crafts to lighted Christmas trees.

“Everything here is worth it,” said Debbie Yanagihara, a Sheraton Kaua‘i employee and coordinator of the craft fair at the Sheraton. “All of these items are hand-made by the kupuna. They have a lot of experience, and all of the items are nice.”

Yanagihara, a quilter during her spare time, said she always visits the Lihu‘e table first to see what they have, focusing her attention to the assortment of quilts and blankets.

“Julie Yukimura used to donate all of her scrap material to the Lihu‘e seniors, so you know the items they make are quality,” Yanagihara said. “But everything here is good. Even the food is ono.”

The smell of chicken hekka from the Waimea Senior Center wafted through the air, while loaves of fresh bread and packages of sweet raisin rolls were quickly snatched up by shoppers.

According to Melanie Okamoto of Parks and Recreation, the event brought together the artistry and skill of all of the island’s senior centers, from Kekaha to Kilauea. This year, the Na Kupuna Council and the county collaborated to hold one fair featuring a “mini-entertainment” slate.

Marcie and Leonard Medeiros of the Kaumakani Senior Center were kept busy ladling out bowls of chili and rice, the perfect late-morning snack to enjoy while listening to the Lihu‘e Senior Center’s ‘ukulele band.

The versatility of the group was demonstrated as an Island School music teacher joined in on violin for an impromptu session.

The next craft offering is the Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital event scheduled for Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Westside hospital grounds.

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