With nine days remaining before Christmas, shoppers looking for a special gift got a bonanza Saturday — the Kauai Made Holly Jolly Holiday Fair blossomed on the front parking lot of the former Kmart store.
The event featured more than 40 vendors offering Kauai Made goods and products. Several food trucks offered a variety of food ranging from pizza to plate lunches.
There was also entertainment.
“We had more than 20 dogs, including a pair from Mayor Derek Kawakami,” said Jan Woo of Barkaroo Bakery, a creator of hand-made treats and accessories for pets. “The dogs did well. We also told them to walk through the set up of tents housing the vendors.”
The canine fashion show was just one of the entertainment highlights that included a stint by the Kapaa Middle School Choir and ukulele band.
“We’re busy today,” said Mary Lardizabal, the choir and ukulele band director. “We have two performances, and a lot of the players are busy with their own holiday schedules. It’s just a very busy time of the year.”
A line formed at the create-a-gift station provided by The Home Depot as the sound of hammers rat-a-tatting in the air peppered the music from the ukulele band and blanketed the shoppers making their way through the corridor of food trucks.
“The earrings made by Malie Smith are one of our best-sellers,” said Julia Diegmann of the Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project. “Malie makes these upcycled jewelry using primarily plastics that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Once made, she gives them to us. It’s one of our best sellers.”
Smith was at a nearby tent, her offerings from the Creative Ohana in Kalaheo drawing the attention of a steady stream of shoppers, many awed by what can be done with reusable and recycled materials.
“We have the finalists of the PTSA Reflections program exhibited in Kalaheo,” Smith said. “These are the entries that will be moving on to the state competition. We want people to see the quality work being produced by our students, and the display will be available for viewing through Dec. 23.”
This was the first year of the event, and Melissia Sugai of the Kauai Made/Kauai Grown program was pleased with the turnout of both shoppers and vendors.
“We were afraid no one was going to come,” Sugai said. “We had some vendors who were skeptical, but one vendor who had more than 300 units of beef jerky was sold out within the first hour. I told them to just go home and make some more.”
The Kauai Made program was launched by the county in 2006 with support coming from the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The goal of the program is to provide locally made products with more visibility and encourage production of value-added agricultural products.