LIHUE — Keola Agader-Ching is a fourth-grader at the Eleele School trying to raise funds for a class trip to the Big Island.
“Please help by purchasing some of my things I made,” Agader-Ching said in a handwritten letter in pencil during the Kauai Christmas Craft Fair that opened Saturday for the 39th year at Elsie Wilcox Elementary School.
Donna Fuji, a retired teacher from Eleele School, said this was a driving reason for her participation at the craft fair that was originally started by a group of Wilcox School educators.
“This is why I’m here today,” said Fuji, who started crafting for the public with cookbooks she created to help put her children through college. “The other fairs wouldn’t let Keola come in with me.”
Agader-Ching’s offering included individually packaged fabric lei and assorted handmade note cards with envelopes that joined Fuji’s clothing and accessories, many adapted for the Hawaii lifestyle.
“I was the first one in line,” said Barbara Prigge. “Look at what I got — handmade wooden hanging containers for my orchids!”
Prigge was one of the stream of shoppers who surged through the cafeteria seeking unique holiday gifts.
Although not festooned with bling, the Kauai Christmas Craft Fair was just one of the pockets of merchants banding together to celebrate Small Business Saturday, an initiative created in 2010 in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping.
“A lot of our tenants are small business,” said Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, Kukui Grove Center spokeswoman. “We’re partnering with the Kauai Made program and the small businesses in our center to showcase and celebrate our small businesses.”
Sara Miura of Deja Vu Surf Hawaii changed up the offering of the Kukui Grove Center store to include individualized specials for Black Friday as well as Small Business Saturday.
“I won’t be here in the morning because I’m attending a funeral,” Miura, a fourth generation of the Mankichi Miura family said.
Marissa Tanji of The Monkeypod Jam was surrounded by bling as she held down her quick tent while watching shoppers pour over their offerings at the Kauai Community Market, a partnership between the Kauai County Farm Bureau and the Kauai Community College.
“They’re letting shoppers do some hands-on creating, and they’ve got some other programs to celebrate Small Business Saturday,” she said.
Laurie Ho of the Kauai County Farm Bureau said the market vendors had been equipped with Shop Small Business giveaways.
“We’re celebrating at the Kauai Community Market,” Ho said. “Earlier, we had Steve Nakata of the Kauai Community College culinary arts program shopping our vendors for Kauai Grown and other products to use when the culinary arts students prepare for their Oahu competition.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.