Hundreds savor ‘ultimate brunch’ to fuel Rotary projects

WAILUA — Ali‘i wore a lei just for the occasion Sunday as the canine mascot of  Smith’s Tropical Paradise accompanied his owner, Freckles Smith, on a final tour of the complex before the opening of the 24th annual Rotary Club of Kapa‘a Taste of Hawai‘i.

Billed as the Ultimate Sunday Brunch, hundreds of people surged through the gates to enjoy the offerings of 30 food stations and 16 beverage stations, the opening featuring a pule by Donna Lei Kirkpatrick and the Children of the Land with Ron Wiley, the KQNG Radio Group on-air personality giving the signal to open the gates.

Proceeds from the entertainment-rich gala benefits the numerous community, youth, vocational and international projects the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a is involved in, some of the more notable ones including the Kaua‘i Green Innovation Awards honoring local businesses and agencies for its innovative “green” initiatives, scholarships for summer education programs, mobile music education, vocational scholarships and teaming with the schools in the Kapa‘a area to enhance the various programs including service clubs, robotics, and after-school projects.

In the community, the Rotary Club of Kaua‘i works to keep the beaches and its water safe, partnering in the Lifesaving Rescue Tubes Project, being an active promoter during the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association First Wave to raise funds for additional watersaving equipment, and teaming with several community groups with events promoting youth fitness and sports.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and his wife Regina were among the throng of people, Carvalho enthusiastically erupting in glee when stopping by the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association booth manned by Marcie Millett, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Po‘ipu Beach, and Roberta Charles, past president of the Po‘ipu Rotary Club, who were promoting the Second Wave, a follow-up to the successful First Wave.

Paula Saylor, serving as the event chair, noted that in addition to the people’s choice in “Best Decorated Booth,” “Favorite Music,” and one of four categories among the vendors, she is contemplating the addition of “Best Dressed” to cover attendees.

Rum Fire at the Sheraton Kaua‘i was in the limelight, chef Raymond Nicasio and sous chef Jr. Pascual offering crab-crusted Hawaiian opah, sauteed tot soi, chardonnay cream sauce and lomi lomi tomatoes.

Rum Fire will be featured when the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce partners with the Sheraton Kaua‘i for the chamber’s second-quarter membership meeting

sponsored by Personal Finance, June 26 with registration starting at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting and dinner starting at 6:30 p.m.

The Right Slice with Sandy Poehnelt had its usual array of pie pops, a popular item due to patrons simply pulling one out of its rack, but Poehnelt said they are on the verge of launching some biscuits and gravy.

“You have to stop in for the full-sized version,” the grill cook at The Feral Pig said, his frenzied spatula working the feral burger sliders featuring Kaua‘i ground beef and smoked pork shoulder on a Passion Bakery taro bun. “This is only a teaser.”

Dickie Chang and Nadine Nakamura, whose daughter was volunteering with the Interact Club of Kapa‘a High School, were among the Kaua‘i County Council members present, Chang noting that next year is the 25th anniversary of this gathering and there should be a big push to make it even more special than it was.

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