Harvest festival more than free pumpkins
WAIMEA — Adrian Smith said his mother was probably going to make a pumpkin pie out of the pumpkin he got at Sunday’s Harvest Agriculture Festival.
“I’m just carving mine,” said his friend Matteo Romero, who guarded the pair of white pumpkins that were distributed free during the 5th annual Family and Friends of Agriculture event that supports nonprofits on the Westside.
Lines formed early at Waimea Athletic Field at the two distribution points where more than 1,500 pumpkins were given away. Priority was given to youngsters 12 and younger at a rate of one pumpkin per child, or one pumpkin per family.
“You got the right idea,” said Ryan Lee of the Hanapepe Pop Warner Association to a pair of youngsters who came to exchange an empty tray for a tray filled with Flying Saucers. “Take the trays to the people waiting in line.”
Some of the sponsoring organizations that allowed nonprofit organizations to raise funds included the Alexander &Baldwin, the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Kauai Chapter, Global Ag Services, Corteva Agriscience, Hartung Brothers and Kani Wildlife.
Other sponsors included Kaneshiro Farms, Makaweli Meat Company, Kunoa Cattle, Kauai Shrimp, Kauai Coffee and Garden Isle Disposal.
“This was started by the Family and Friends of Agriculture five years ago,” said Puni Patrick of the West Kauai Business and Professional Association, who provided the opening oli. “One of the highlights is the free pumpkin giveaway. Other events include entertainment with an appearance by Kapena before the group hosts a show in Kapaa, numerous rides, inflatables and water features, and an abundance of food prepared by the different nonprofit groups.”
“I’m trying to learn,” said Marissa Valenciano, who got tips from West Kauai Methodist Church’s Esther Lopez in the proper method of squeezing out malasada dough into the hot oil.
Other food offerings included lumpia, poi balls and pronto pups.
Stephanie Iona said this is the first time the event featured an Eastside school. The Kauai Independent Daycare Services school, founded by the late Phyllis Kunimura, offered Hawaiian food and garlic shrimp.
Lance Segawa, the CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corp., Kauai Region, said the West Kauai Medical Center, through its Partners in Health program, offered more than 300 free bicycle helmets to youngsters. The helmets were fitted by trained personnel and accompanied by safety paraphernalia.
Kekaha School Principal Marilyn Asahi said the fundraising efforts of staff and parents will be added to a coin drive the school’s third-grade class is hosting for classmate Aidan Gadingan, diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.
“Ohana Party Inflatables has donated their space to us, and their inflatables, too,” Asahi said.
“Aidan is a normal 9-year-old, and was doing fine. Since his diagnosis and initial admittance to the Kapiolani Medical Center on Oahu, he has had two relapses and was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on Sept. 1 for the third time. His original diagnosis was changed to acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis, or a more severe case of ADEM. He’s still in the hospital and his parents are with him on Oahu.”
Earlier, Iona informed the school it had won a pumpkin contest. The students decided they would apply those earnings, along with the funds raised at the Harvest Festival, toward helping Aidan fight his disease.
They are also holding a coin drive that started Oct. 5 and will continue through Dec. 21.
“His parents were told on Sept. 10 that Aidan’s recovery will be a minimum of two years at Kapiolani Medical Center,” Asahi said. “We at Kekaha Elementary School continue to keep him in our thoughts and prayers.”
In addition to the pumpkin giveaway at Waimea, Beck’s Hybrids will give away at least 100 pumpkins Saturday at the Kauai Community Market, a partnership between the Kauai County Farm Bureau and Kauai Community College. The distribution will start when the market opens at 9:30 a.m. and continue while supplies last.