HANAPEPE — From sampling to workshops to free entertainment, the second annual Kauai Chocolate and Coffee Festival will take over Hanapepe Town Friday and Saturday.
“It’s a celebration of the coffee and cacao industries,” said Amy Hammond, the festival’s executive director. “We wanted to provide people with the opportunity to showcase those products in the towns of the local farmers and chefs and roasters and baristas and manufacturers. We want to put a spotlight on all those local products.”
The event is presented by the County of Kauai, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hanapepe Economic Alliance, Hawaii Coffee Association, Friends and Family of Agriculture, Innovate Hawaii, Hawaii Chocolate and Cacao Association, Buy Local it Matters, The Garden Island and Special Events Hawaii, the organizer of the Hawaii Chocolate Festival and Statewide Hawaii Grown Cacao Initiative, supported by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Though the festival is free, patrons may purchase a passport that allows them to receive exclusive chocolate and coffee tastings, discounts and a tote bag.
“That costs $12 in advance online at our website, or if they want to buy them at the fest that goes up $18 while supplies last,” she said.
Hammond said the festival is a fundraiser for the Hanapepe Economic Alliance.
“We’re trying to help the businesses in Hanapepe,” she said. “This is one of the ways to try and support local business and local industry.”
“Hawaii has very good chocolate that we are able to grow,” she added. “We’re seeing a lot more people putting plants into the ground and a lot more manufacturers and retailers of the product.”
Hammond said it’s important to focus on coffee and cacao, and this event is an opportunity to focus on those agricultural industries.
“We want to be (protective) of these industries and they can help us be more sustainable and create jobs,” she said. “We have really high quality that we can really garner.”
About 25 business will be participating in the two-day event. Stores and shops in Hanapepe will have special activities and workshops that will highlight the two crops.
“We set up a tent in the end of town, behind the fire station, where we bring in vendors and let people walk through and can actually sample the different products that are available and purchase,” Hammond said.
Workshops will be spread throughout the town as well.
“We have one called Coffee at the Brain, so you get to taste it and you get a free coffee mug,” she said. “We have another one by a TEDx speaker, Will Lydgate. He runs Joe Grass farms. He’ll be doing ‘Changing the way we taste chocolate.’”
Both days will feature live entertainment as well as a silent auction.
The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
A shuttle service will be provided Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and will run every 10 minutes. The shuttle stops at the tennis court at Puolo Road and heads east to Hanapepe Town Park on Kona Road behind the tennis station.
Info: www.kauaichocolateandcoffeefestival.com or call Hammond at (808) 223-6040.