LIHU‘E — Puking pumpkins, recycling, dinner and more greeted shoppers taking advantage of the third Lihu‘e Downtown Night Market on Kress Street Saturday.
“This is the first time I’m out in public since the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dale Rosenfeld, whose face was painted with excitement from the activity bustling on Kress Street that was closed to Halenani Street for the occasion presented by the Rice Street Business Association and Alakoko Kaua‘i.
Krystl Apeles, the current market coordinator, had a special setting teasing the Alakoko store that will take over the space currently occupied by Lily O’s on Kress Street and sprouting closeout bargains. Alakoko, described as “finally, a shop that feels right,” will be home to Kaua‘i-made products, and wishes people would “shop local.”
“This is something that I thought about long before COVID-19,” Apeles said. “I’m turning over the market responsibilities to Lexi Jones — she’s running around here somewhere — so I can devote my attention to Alakoko.”
Peyton Bunao, only recently graduating from Kaua‘i High School, was excited about bringing the Aurora Cake Couture to the streets after her line of letter and number cakes, cookies and cupcakes exploded on the social-media scene.
“This is my very first event,” the excited Bunao said, flashing boxes of specially created Halloween treats. “I’ve been doing everything @auroracakecouture. All the pictures of what I create are on social media. This is the very first time I’ve done anything like this.”
She was joined by La Morea Spices and More, operated by Joanna and Javier Villareal.
“I work with Peyton’s father in Princeville,” Joanna Villareal said. “He told me about this. Now I’ve got to shop at Aurora Cake Couture to see if I can find something to eat.”
La Morea, featuring Hawaiian salt in all seven of their product offerings, was created during the pandemic when the owners were furloughed, she said. Since then, their public exposure has been limited to the Kilauea farmers’ market and the Hanalei market. Saturday marked the first time the fledgling business ventured west of the Wailua River.
“My husband is going to be happy,” said Jade Wai‘ale‘ale Battad as she passed the hot Moloka‘i bread tent with a stack of to-go meals. “I was able to find dinner.”
Kumu Sabra Kauka also found curry that she could enjoy, tucked near the Yeti cooler being touted at the Lihu‘e Loop tent located next to the state Department of Health mobile vaccine clinic.
Mo‘olelo Murals artists Bethany Coma, Bree Blake and Holly Ka‘iakapu did a lot of beautifying Kress Street ahead of the very first market that opened in August. They, along with any artists in the community who need a space to paint, can come to Kress Street on aloha Friday art nights, said Nikki Cristobal.