Thursday, May 26, 2022 |
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WAIMEA — When you go trick-or-treating on Halloween, it’s nice to know that you might be looking at a pumpkin that was grown on Kauai, said Puni Patrick, the emcee at the Harvest Festival.
The Harvest Festival celebrated its fourth anniversary Sunday by distributing about 2,000 pumpkins at the rate of one per keiki at the Waimea Canyon Park.
The event was embellished by entertainment, food booths and other fundraising efforts by community groups. There were bounce houses, water games, mechanical rides and even a petting zoo.
“I was born in a blizzard, 49 years ago,” said Mary Lardizabal who was celebrating her birthday. “I needed to come out and enjoy the Westside’s good weather.”
Laurie Yoshida, spokesperson for the organizing committee, said this year there were pumpkins everywhere.
“Last year, we ended up buying more than 1,000 pumpkins and served about 5,000 people,” Yoshida said. “This year, we have 2,000 pumpkins here — all grown locally by Hartung Brothers and Beck’s Superior Hybrids — and already there are more than 3,000 people.”
Yoshida said the group also will be delivering about 2,000 more pumpkins to venues around the island.
“We have 100 going to the Kukui Grove Center for their Halloween Festival Saturday,” she said.
“We have 100 going to the Kauai Community Market at the Kauai Community College for their Saturday market. We also have 100 going to the county, and another 200 going to the Kauai Christian Academy in Kilauea for their two-day Fall Festival which starts Friday. We also will be delivering pumpkins to the Department of Education schools, and charter schools for their students.”
Yoshida said in addition to the support the organizers received, additional supporters like Makaweli Meat, Kunoa Cattle Company, Kauai Shrimp and Kaneshiro Farms provided products for the various community groups’ fundraising efforts.
Happy keiki climbed around the piles of pumpkins, selecting the perfect Halloween specimens to take home.
“I like growing pumpkins,” said Sarah Thompson of Beck’s Superior Hybrids. “We don’t have the big heavyweight pumpkins, but we have several varieties, including Blaze — there’re 187 of them — and the Blue Hubbard, a winter squash. If we want the heavyweights, we’ll have to get started earlier. For next year, how about if we set up a pumpkin chucking station? I’m sure people will want to get into that.”
Buddy Ayudan said he’s already tried cooking the Blue Hubbard.
“It’s really good for baking,” he said. “Back in the days, we didn’t have pumpkins for Halloween — they were more valuable for cooking. We used to carve green papaya and put candles in them.”
That sentiment was echoed by Sandi Kato Klutke who was hard at work carving some of the smaller pumpkins.
“I used to grow zucchini,” she said. “We carved zucchini because it was easier to work with than green papaya. I even used to reserve zucchini and tell people I was going to have it for Halloween.”
Sponsors of the free event included Alexander & Baldwin, the Family and Friends of Agriculture, the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Kauai Chapter, the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the County of Kauai, Dow Agrosciences, DuPont Pioneer, Hartung Brothers Hawaii, and Beck’s Superior Hybrids.
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