KOLOA — “We’ll have a piece of Fried Chicken,” the couple said to Arlyn Perez of Kaua‘i Family Cafe, described as a “Filipino food eatery, as Perez undid the lids concealing a wide variety of food offerings, including finger foods like Spam Musubi to a vegetarian stew with octopus, Saturday as the clock hands teased 4 o’ clock.
“How about the ‘LeChon’ style Roast Pork?” said Perez whose Kaua‘i Family Cafe ‘ohana also vends at the Pau Hana Market at the Kukui Grove Center.
“It looks like bacon,” was the response.
“But, it’s not,” Perez said. “It’s crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.”
“It’s alright. We’ll just share the Fried Chicken. What time are we allowed to buy?” triggering a banter of conversation between the ladies wrapping up the set up for the Old Koloa Town Market and resulting in Perez loading a container with the large piece of Fried Chicken, and with a flick of the tongs, teasing the serving with a piece of the neighboring LeChon.
Kristin Green coordinated the Old Koloa Town Market that meets on third Saturday of each month, starting the first one in December in the Old Koloa Town courtyard and overflowing onto the access road between the Emperor’s Emporium and the neighboring Texaco gas station. The market opens at 4 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m.
“Today, we’re expanding the market to the yard area under the mango tree behind the Koloa Dance House,” Green said. “That’s a nice shaded spot. We’re also putting Bonnie Vannoy there to entertain under the mango tree. We have three entertainers in two spots. Seth Womble will be in the courtyard, and he’s getting help from a saxophone player who’s sitting in. Then, we have Olivia Gegan — she’s home on a college break and called to ask if we had any jobs.”
Green, who also coordinates the Princeville Market that meets on the second Sunday of the month from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Princeville Center, said the Old Koloa Town Market attracted 35 vendors for the Saturday unveiling.
“Made on Kaua‘i!” she said, pausing to enjoy a Strawberry Guava Ono Pops for her efforts at setting up the mango tree area. “That’s the criteria. They can have Value Added Products, Made on Kaua‘i, anything — it must be Made on Kaua‘i.”
The vendor lineup included Ono Pops, the Kaua‘i Family Cafe, The Right Slice whose Sandy Poenhelt was training a new hire for the market, and more, including artists, jewelry crafters, clothing, and more, including artist Tamra Corwin (she turns wood into shimmering metallic pieces using acrylic and epoxies) combining with shop owner Susie Purdy to offer Adventures in Tie Dye (to go, on-the-spot designing).
“This is my debut,” said Abe Kowitz of Plastic Paradise, an organization addressing single-use plastic being re-purposed into durable “lanai furniture.” “We have the machinery to make the furniture on its way. We take the plastic, including some that are not accepted by the county’s recycling program, and turn it into durable lanai furniture including chairs, tables, and more.”
Dustin Stonner, a vendor from the days of The Kaua‘i Community Market at the Kaua‘i Community College before the arrival of the COVID-19 virus, had double tables near the mango tree.
“Just watch out for the hazards,” Stonner said, pointing out the holes created by the chickens, and showing off his line of Uncle D’s sauces that was enhanced with a full lineup of discs for disc golf available at his Harbor Mall kitchen.
Kumu Hula Gloria Ruiz of Halau Makani Lani from Pleasanton, California, shepherded her group of 14 that mingled with the growing crowd of people spread out throughout the courtyard to the mango tree.
“No, we’re not performing, here,” Ruiz said. “We’re just a small group — we’re known as ‘The 14’ back home. We were supposed to come last year, but the virus came, instead. This year, we all got our vaccines and came. Our halau does not compete. We focus on the spirit of hula and the ‘aina — we came to give back and let the land heal us.”