Hundreds of pumpkins of all sizes and shapes found new homes Wednesday during The Great Pumpkin Giveaway that overlapped the farmers’ market at The Shops at Kukui‘ula.
Stacie Chiba-Miguel, general manager for The Shops t Kukui‘ula, scrambled at the final few hours to order an additional two bins of pumpkins from Esaki’s Produce to ensure that everyone could get their pumpkin for Halloween.
“We wanted to donate some to the Koloa Elementary School,” Chiba-Miguel said. “We had more than 200 accounted for by appointments, and when the delivery showed up, there were only a few more than 200 pumpkins. That was definitely not going to be enough, so I called Earl Kashiwagi from Esaki’s to order the extra bins — those pumpkins are from Ah Loo Farms on O‘ahu, where they are being hurt because of the COVID-19. Our 200 appointments came in the first 24 hours after we announced the event.”
Chiba-Miguel said the appointment system was necessary because the pumpkin giveaway was not a drive-thru, contactless event. County officials recommended the appointment system so there would not be a large gathering at the walk-up distribution.
Social gathering is further discouraged by pumpkin recipients having to bring their pumpkins home and carving them for entry into the Halloween Pumpkin Contest that will take place Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in conjunction with the farmers’ market at The Shops at Kukui‘ula.
The contest for carved, decorated or painted pumpkins is open to all ages. Completed pumpkins may be dropped off at the mall between 2 and 3 p.m. for the judging that starts from 3:30 p.m. At stake are three The Shops at Kukui‘ula gift cards and some surprise treats.
There will also be a selfie station that was decorated by Marti Snyder and the crew from the CJM Country Stables. She stuck around to answer questions about the CJM programs, including the kids ranch featuring a petting zoo and a wagon or horse ride.
But the excitement of the season was not limited to people seeking out pumpkins, as Kelvin Moniz, executive director of the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, was among the crowd doing shopping for the food bank.
“We’re doing a food distribution on Oct. 29 at The Shops at Kukui‘ula, just in time for the Halloween weekend,” Moniz said.
“As we did in the prior food distributions, we’re supporting the vendors at the farmers’ market at The Shops at Kukui‘ula,” said Moniz.
”We’re buying from at least four of the vendors to add their produce to the food packages being handed out from 3 p.m. to until supplies run out.”
The Great Pumpkin Giveaway continues with a final grab-and-go event Saturday, when the pumpkins make their appearance at the Puhi Park Produce from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or while supplies last.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.