Avocado Festival Coming Up – New Vegan Category Added to Cooking Contest

Celebrating the versatile fruit that’s high in healthy, monounsaturated fat, the eighth annual Hawai‘i Avocado Festival is Saturday, April 5 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa. The Zero-Waste event is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the Bayfront Lawn.

Avocado recipe at the Avocado Festival. Photo by Randy Magnus

Avocado recipe at the Avocado Festival. Photo by Randy Magnus

The free fun offers two stages headlining entertainment, culinary and agricultural activities. The festival opens with a Hawaiian pule and hula at 10 a.m.

Enjoy a farmer’s market, arts and crafts booths and a University of Hawai‘i (UH) nutrition display. Food vendors and the Sheraton’s culinary team will offer tasty, avocado-themed cuisine.

Hands-on fun for families includes games for keiki, free avocado and vegan products sampling and visits with Recycle Hawai’i’s live mascot, Recycle Dog. In addition, 200 healthy, raw treats will be served to attending keiki as part of the local Feed the Children project. Keiki and adults can also participate in painting silk banners “to banish childhood hunger” as a prelude to the Project Hawai‘i Summer Edu-Camp that will be offered free to children in need.

The lineup for the entertainment stage is Aunt Irma’s Kahikina Nahe Nahe at 11 a.m., Bolo at noon, Manuel and Bernice at 1 p.m. and eco-fashion show at 2 p.m. Live entertainment continues until 5 p.m.

A native of Central America, the avocado is classified in the same plant family as cinnamon, Lauraceae. Ty McDonald, of the Kona Extension Office of the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, will lead a session on grafting avocados at 11 a.m. The panel discussion, “Keeping the Culture in Agriculture” returns at noon featuring local leaders concerned with agriculture and nutrition.

A 2-4 p.m. composting workshop focuses on basic backyard techniques and working with worms. Those who finish the workshop will get a free composting bin. Get the scoop on different avocado varieties at an informative display by the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers.

Cookbook author and freelance food writer Sonia R. Martinez heads the avocado recipe contest with judging at 10 a.m., public tasting at noon and announcement of winners at 1 p.m. First place winners will receive prizes from Island Naturals and Kealakekua Ranch Center.

The cooking contest is free and debuts a new vegan category that includes vegan appetizers, entrees and desserts. In addition, competition is in three other categories: appetizers, including guacamole; entréesmain dish, soups and salads—and desserts.

“Recipes will be judged on taste, appearance/presentation of dish, originality of recipe and best use of avocado,” shared Martinez. Entry form, rules and instructions can be found at www.avocadofestival.org. Contact Martinez at 963-6860 with contest questions.

For festival updates, visit Big Island Avocado Festivals on Facebook, contact Randyl Rupar at 936-5233 or visit www.avocadofestival.org.

Hawaii Avocado and Mango Festivals are sponsored by Sanctuary of Mana Kea Gardens, Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers-West Hawai’i and Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

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