LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i exhibitors are excited to return to the Made in Hawai‘i Festival next week, one year after the long-running event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Getting to see a lot of my customers (who) are on O‘ahu and interacting with people, showing our new designs that we have,” said shell artist Gail Sagucio of JJ ‘Ohana in Hanapepe, listing what she looks forward to. “It’s nice, you know, going out again.”
Sagucio’s latest Ni‘ihau-style shell leis won’t be the only addition to this year’s festival. Organizers have moved the event long associated with the Neil S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu to a roofed, open-air location at the Ala Moana Center shopping mall. Other changes made with COVID-19 in mind, including directional arrows and an encouraged two-hour shopping limit, will also be in effect.
Nearly 300 vendors, including at least eight from Kaua‘i, are slated to appear.
Olena Heu, a Kaua‘i native and spokesperson for Made in Hawai‘i, encourages prospective attendees to purchase admission in advance: tickets are $11 per adult before the show opens Thursday, Nov. 11, and $15 after.
“It’s, of course, Hawai‘i’s most-loved festival that features products made in Hawai‘i,” Heu said in a recent interview. “… It’s a wonderful way to support our local community, our local entrepreneurs and local manufacturers, and do some holiday shopping as well.”
Kaua‘i residents unable to jet to O‘ahu from Nov. 11 to Nov. 14 can visit the festival’s online marketplace through the holiday season. It’s a directory and showcase for participating exhibitors, polished and expanded in the wake of COVID-19.
“Once the pandemic hit, the best way to pivot, we found, was to utilize our online resources and try to feature our local community that way,” Heu said.
Kaua‘i Kookie, Weslyn’s Creative Feathers, Aunty Lilikoi, Utara Soaps, RKL Ranch, LLC, Lakehaus Collection, Kaua‘i Hemp will join JJ ‘Ohana in a special Kaua‘i-Made shopping area at Ala Moana Center, according to organizers. For more information, including access to the online marketplace, visit madeinhawaiifestival.com online.
Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.