HANAPEPE — There was a reason Micah Gonsalves of Jaxon Communications wanted his team to park near the Banana Patch Studio Thursday evening as the Biggest Little Town of Hanapepe settled down for the evening.
Joanna Carolan and Judy Page of the Hanapepe Economic Alliance met the trio and, following a brief tour of the surrounding area, including the naturally-canopied path leading to the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge and other buildings, adjourned to Hanapepe Park for the blessing of the HEA Coronoavirus Aid. Relief, and Economic Security Act grant program and the Kupa‘a Kaua‘i project.
As the taiko pierced the Hanapepe stillness, the Jaxon Communications team was fully geared and had equipment rolling when Taiko Kaua‘i started its six-number performance heralding the start of the ceremonies.
The team was already moving on the project, creating a virtual Friday Night Art Walk as Onio Punzal’s sounding of the pu opened up the space for the Hawaiian blessing officiated by Kelvin Ho.
“We’re moving forward,” said Page, HEA president. “The CARES Act grant, ‘Reimagining the Hanapepe Art Night,’ is for $115,685, and is two-fold in purpose. The first part deals with having COVID mitigations addressed for the actual opening of Hanapepe Art Night. We don’t know when that is going to happen.”
Page said the second part of the grant involves creating a virtual tour of Hanapepe through the Kupa‘a Kaua‘i program and headed by the Jaxon Communications team, working with HEA Project Manager Renee Palmer and the HEA leadership team.
“They’ll be doing a series of virtual shop tours using photographs, video, 360-degree panoramas, drone photography, and the latest in electronic technology that the team has got a handle on,” Page said. “They’re in control.”
Palmer said the program involves using the internet and social media to get people involved and engaged in the programs that were shut down by the pandemic.
“When I used to visit, I’d spend weeks following the trip hooked up to the internet, re-visiting and re-living memories,” Palmer said. “This is what we’re looking at.”
Randy Francisco of the Kaua‘i Filipino Chamber of Commerce and a community supporter said the blessing was scheduled for Wednesday evening because of the heavy schedule on Thursday that included the county’s Sunshine Market, Cafe Night and the Storybook Theatre of Hawai‘i’s tribute to late former U.S. Sen. Sparky Matsunaga on the birthday of the former congressman who grew up in Hanapepe to become a lawmaker and peacemaker.
“I don’t benefit from this except for the chi of those involved,” Francisco said. “I feel bad because Kalaheo was the only place that didn’t get anything from the CARES Act.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.