Turnout better than expected at Relay For Life event

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Ellie Ventula-Honda, the American Cancer Society director for Hawai‘i-Guam of Honolulu, left, and Patti Ornellas, the ACS Kaua‘i office director, second from right, join Fely’s Angels Saturday to ride out the morning shower at the Relay For Life Pop-Up & Pick-Up at the Coconut Marketplace in Waipouli.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Walkers, er shoppers, walk in a circle through the two rows of more than 20 vendors Saturday at the Relay For Life Pop-Up & Pick-Up at the Coconut Marketplace in Waipouli.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Lexi Petruccelli of New York joins Liliana Bright, Michaela Bright, Vancessa Bright and Irene Leilani Bright of Bleu Papaya Saturday while waiting on the shower to pass the Relay for Life Pop-Up & Pick-Up at the Coconut Marketplace in Waipouli.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Shiori Yoshiko Chow, the namesake of this booth at the Relay For Life Pop-Up & Pick-Up, is shy with her corndog, while Liana Moke readies the tent for shopping Saturday at the Coconut Marketplace in Waipouli.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Chloe Ayonon and Zaylee Doi-Desmarais of Beat Athletic are just getting started with two pop-up events Saturday at the Relay For Life Pop-Up & Pick-Up event at the Coconut Marketplace in Waipouli.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Shoppers go through the many different crystals available at the Ho‘oikaika Volleyball Club tent Saturday during the Relay For Life Pop-Up & Pick-Up at the Coconut Marketplace in Waipouli.

WAIPOULI — The early-morning showers may have forced cancellation of the Kaua‘i Senior Softball League games at Isenberg Park Saturday morning, but the passing showers did little more than dampen shoppers who poured over the wet parking lot for the Relay For Life Pop-Up &Pick-Up at the Coconut Marketplace.

“It’s good to be able and come out again,” said Patti Ornellas, the American Cancer Society Kaua‘i manager. “Last year, we had a lot of virtual and satellite things. This is the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic struck that we’re out.”

Headlined by six Relay For Life teams, more than 20 pop-up vendors lined two rows, anchored by a late arrival tying the two rows together. The arrangement had shoppers walking a circle similar to the Relay For Life events with the exception of not having luminaria ringing the circle, save for a few tents that offered luminaria by donation.

“There’s something to be said about being fashionably late,” said Vanessa Bright of Bleu Papaya. “This is a legacy for my grandmother, who had a store in Kapa‘a next to Java Kai. She used to make custom mu‘u mu‘u until she passed away from cancer. We’re doing tie-dye shirts — even the business card is tie-dyed — and splash-proof large scrunchies.”

Tim Hand of Insert Brand Here, a specialized firm with laser-made products that was an anchor at the Anahola farmers’ market, was happy to have a tent at the pop-up event.

“When they closed, we only did these nonprofit events in the community,” Hand said. “We’re reaching out, and now we’re at the Princeville Night Market and the Old Koloa Town market.”

Colby Ayonon, father of Chloe Ayonon, one of the Beat Athletica partners, said they were only getting started.

“Beat Athletica just added another pop-up for today,” Colby Ayonon said. “They were committed to this Relay For Life pop-up, and now they’re doing another pop-up right after this one at Barre Soul. We’re just the Uber drivers.”

Ornellas was joined by Ellie Ventula-Honda, the ACS director for Hawai‘i and Guam, who flew in from Honolulu to lend support to the event.

“I was surprised with the turnout,” Ornellas said. “I didn’t think we were going to have that many vendors. At this rate, we are thinking of doing another event on the South Shore and, possibly, one more central location.”

She also said the planners are also looking at doing a live luminaria event as the pandemic situation improves and health and safety gidelines loosen up.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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