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Visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 Creates $151,246,200 in Economic Benefits

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,832,660 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 spent $151,246,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,834 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $189,391,100.

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

The park’s 2015 visitation is up 8.25 percent from 2014 (1,693,005 visitors), and reflects a steady trend of rising visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park since 2009. The park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year along with the National Park Service, shares two of earth’s most active volcanoes, Hawaiian culture, and native ecosystems with local residents and visitors.

“We are pleased to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the important economic impact park visitors have by spending money and creating jobs in our local community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.  “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s clearly a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities,” Orlando said.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economist Catherine Cullinane Thomas and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added and output effects by sector for national, state and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: http://go.nps.gov/vse or https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

2016 Honoka‘a Western Week Rides Into Town

Honoka‘a Western Week rides into town May 23-30, 2016, kicking off with Monday’s Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread cookoff and winding up with Friday night’s Paniolo Parade and Block Party on Mamane Street, with the 60th Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo over the weekend.

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

Mamane Street will close for the Parade and Block Party, and roving Sheriffs will be on the lookout for attendees not wearing the commemorative HWW buttons. Buttons may be purchased to show support for the festival, and to automatically enter the “lucky number” drawings during the Block Party. Although not required for admission, buttons will keep attendees from being thrown into “jail” (all in good fun).

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

Honoka‘a Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honoka‘a Business Association, The Hāmākua Farm Bureau and the Hāmākua Lion’s Club, Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter, Steinlager, and others, celebrating Hāmākua’s paniolo heritage and unique cultural blend. Checks payable to “Honokaʻa Business Association” can be sent to P.O. Box 474, Honokaʻa HI 96727, attention: Honoka‘a Western Week. For more information, follow Honoka‘a Western Week on Facebook or visit www.honokaawesternweek.org.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:  Subject to change.

  • May 20. Deadline to enter Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent Contests. For information and applications, call Michelle Hartman, 775-9777 or check out the website.
  • May 23-30. Celebrate Honokaʻa Western Week with Honokaʻa Business Association. Everyone is invited to dress up western-style, visit Honoka‘a town merchants, and enjoy different paniolo-themed activities every night.
  • Monday, May 23, 5-7:30 pm Portuguese Paniolo Night hosted by the historic Andrade Building’s ‘Ōhi‘a Lānai, with Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread contests. Attendees can buy $5 tasting tickets, and vote for People’s Choice. Hot dogs, chili and rice available for sale, and the event includes music, Portuguese dancing and line dancing. For more information call Marlene Hapai 966-9894 or email mhapai@aol.com.
  • Tuesday, May 24, 3:30 p.m. Stick Horse Creation at Hāmākua Youth Center (HYC). Kids are invited to come and make their own mounts for the Stick Horse race on Friday. Limited to the first 30 applicants to turn in registration forms at HYC. Please call 775-0976 for more information.
  • Wednesday, May 25. Munch popcorn and cheer for the heroes of Western movies at the Peoples Theater. At 5 p.m., the animated feature “Home on the Range,” followed by “Traditions and Family Values: A Blueprint for our Community, Pa‘auilo Mauka Kalopa.” At 7 p.m., “8 Seconds,” the story of Lane Frost, 1987 PRCA Bull Riding World Champion.
  • Thursday, May 26. 4-6 p.m., Historic Honoka‘a Talk Story with authors Dr.Billy Bergin, “Loyal to the Land,” and Laura Ruby, “Honoka‘a Town,” at the Honoka‘a Public Library. Meet the community’s successful writers and learn what inspires and motivates them. This event coincides with the library’s Summer Reading program kickoff.  6:30 p.m., Hāmākua Ranchers Branding at The Landing restaurants. Local ranchers are invited to BYOB (Bring Your Own Branding iron) and brand a special wall display.
  • Friday, May 27. 3 p.m., Stick Horse Races 4 p.m., Paniolo Parade down Mamane Street, with mounted and marching units, pā‘ū riders, gleaming vintage cars and more. 5-10 p.m., Block Party, Steak Fry, Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent Contests, great music and dancing in the Street. New this year, a free “Keiki Corral” for the kids from 5-7 p.m., with carnival-style games. Vendors interested in booth space for the Block Party may email Sue Dela Cruz, westernweekhonokaa@gmail.com, or download forms from the website.
  • Saturday, May 28- Hamakua-Kohala Health 50th Anniversary Health Fair, 10 am – 2pm Honoka‘a Gym Complex.  A free, family style celebration with beautiful Hawaiian music and hula, a healthy lū ‘au, helpful information from AlohaCare, HMSA, Aloha Insurance (Medicare) and Hale Ho‘ola, and much more. The ‘ono menu includes kālua turkey, pork laulau, chicken long rice, fernshoot salad, sweet potatoes, hapa rice, fresh fruits and haupia.
  • Saturday, May 28-Monday, May 30, Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo. Tickets $7 in advance $9 at the gate.

‘Scandal’ and ‘Tremors’ at Big Island Film Festival

In a good way, celebrity guests at Big Island Film Festival may stir up scandal and create tremors over Memorial Day Weekend at the Fairmont Orchid Hawai’i.

Bellamy Young

Bellamy Young

Acclaimed actress and singer Bellamy Young currently stars as “First Lady Mellie Grant” on ABC/Shonda Rhimes’ Peabody Award-winning series, “Scandal,” which Rolling Stone Magazine described as “the most badass first lady in TV history.” Young’s TV credits include CBS’ long-running series “Criminal Minds,” “CSI: Miami,” “Scrubs,” and the long-running NBC soap opera, “Another World.” A talented singer, her debut album Far Away So Close is a collection of contemporary covers influenced by her North Carolina roots.

Michael Gross

Michael Gross

Michael Gross, “Burt Gummer” of the “Tremors” movies will also attend the festival as an honoree. Perhaps most familiar as “Steven Keaton,” Michael J. Fox’s dad on the long-running sitcom “Family Ties,” Gross’ 40-year career spans a remarkable range of characters, including recurring roles on the Drew Cary Show, ER, How I Met Your Mother, USA Network’s Suits, Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, and YTV Canada’s The Stanley Dynamic. Gross stars in the BIFF Official selection “Last Call at Murray’s,” a new, indie film about an unlikely gathering of folks stranded in a snowbound karaoke bar.

Michael Gross and Michael Worth with BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears at last year's fest.

Michael Gross and Michael Worth with BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears at last year’s fest.

BIFF will honor Young and Gross at a special Salute & Reception in their honor on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Audiences will have a chance to participate in an in-depth interview with the star led by Peter Caranicas of Variety magazine, then join in a sunset cocktail reception with elegant pupus in the Wailana Gardens. Salutes & Receptions are open to the public and tickets may be purchased by May 25 at www.bigislandfilmfestival.com.

Now in its eleventh year, Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 26-30. Major sponsors include the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP. For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.

Tribute to Bruddah IZ at Kahilu Theatre

Kahilu Theatre presents two May Day weekend concerts as a tribute to the great Israel Kamakawiwo`ole, featuring Hōkū Zuttermeister and band, as well as Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, and Halau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani, on Saturday April 30 at 7pm, and Sunday May 1 at 4pm.

Hoku Zuttermeister

Hoku Zuttermeister

Hōkū Zuttermeister’s first album “‘Āina Kūpuna,” won six 2008 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards including Hawaiian Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Hawaiian Language Performance, Most Promising New Artist and Liner Notes. Just released in early April 2016, “Ku’u Pua Sakura,” is Hōkū’s second album release and features many songs that are near and dear to his heart.

Hōkū’s voice is deep and resonating, yet when he switches to the crystal-clear highs of falsetto, to the delight of his listeners, he shows the enormous vocal range that he has worked so hard at perfecting. Hōkū will sing some beloved IZ favorites such as “La Elima,” “Kaleohano,” “Pupu O Ni’ihau,” “Henehene Kou Aka,” “E Ku’u Morning Dew,” and the nahenahe “Kainoa.” He will also showcase new songs from his album, by storied Hawaiian music writers such as Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, Al Makahinu “Pops” Barcarse, and Chad Takatsugi. He will share mele spanning the islands, from “Kaulana Ni’ihau,” to the haunting mele of “‘Ōhelo Beauty,” celebrating Hawai’i island’s natural beauty.

Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett is a much beloved kumu hula, composer, singer and chanter – with over 50 years of living and teaching the legacy of hula and ho`ola. Initially a student of kumu hula Emma de Fries, Kawaikapu then played and danced with Olomana, with Aunty Genoa Keawe, and Palani Vaughn. He was a member of the “E Ho`o Hawaii Kakou” which was instructed and mentored by Hula Master Iolani Luahine. He also studied ‘olelo and chanting under Aunty Edith Kanaka’ole. He has recorded 10 CDs, and his music has been recorded by many of Hawaii’s greatest entertainers – including Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and the Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau.

Hula dancers from Halau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani and their kumu hula Nahoku Gaspang, 2016 Merrie Monarch winners of hula kahiko wahine, will join Hōkū and Kawaikapu for these special May Day weekend concerts. The Theatre encourages concert-goers to make a lei, bring a lei, and give a lei!

The chance encounter of two truant schoolboys (Israel and John Koko) at the beach was the beginning of a band everyone soon would know as the Mãkaha Sons of Ni’ihau. The Makaha Sons and IZ went on to record 21 albums, win many Na Hoku Awards and change Hawaiian music history.

IZ2

In 1993, following a successful run as one of the members of the Makaha Sons of Ni‘ihau, IZ decided to venture out on his own. He reached out to Jon de Mello of Mountain Apple Company because of his success as a producer of contemporary Hawaiian music giants like the Brothers Cazimero, Brother Noland, Rap Reiplinger and many more. The meeting would set the stage for the rest of Israel’s career – the first release was his remarkable solo CD “Facing Future.”

IZ

That CD focused on Israel’s stunning voice and launched his incredibly   successful solo recording career. “Facing Future,” was followed with the release of another five remarkable recordings, “E Ala E” (1995), “N Dis Life” (1996), “IZ In Concert: The Man and His Music” (1998), ““Alone In IZ World”” (2001) and “Wonderful World” (2007). “Facing Future,” remains the top selling Hawaiian music album in the world.

Tickets are priced $20, $47, $58 and $68, and are available from www.kahilutheatre.org and at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office, open from 9am to 1pm Monday through Friday, at 885-6868. The coffee table book IZ – Voice of the People, a collector’s item, is also available for sale, while supplies last, at the Kahilu Theatre box office now.

In Dis Life is presented by special arrangement with the Kamakawiwo`ole family and Mountain Apple Records, and it is sponsored by Marsha and Tom Kerley.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Set for Sept. 9

It’s where you can sample the rich flavor of numerous cuts of pasture-raised meat and talk story with the people who are producing our food.

Taste Shank

The 21st Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Sept. 9 at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Attendees will enjoy delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.

Time is 6-8 p.m. and the annual agricultural showcase will again sprawl both inside and outside at Hilton Waikoloa Village’s conference center. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy cuts of pasture-raised beef—everything from tongue to tail—expertly prepared by Hawai‘i chefs.  Enjoy familiar cuts like chuck and ground beef, plus the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

Local food producers will offer samples and displays at friendly booths. While “grazing,” attendees can enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and food sustainability, including the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Mealani Research Station—where Taste began!

O‘ahu chefs Kevin Hanney and Jason “J” Schoonover are teaming up to instruct the 2016 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. Chef Hanney is the chef/owner of 12th Ave Grill and Kokohead Café. Chef Schoonover is the executive chef of 12th Ave Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Award-winning Best Restaurant of the Year. Both chefs regularly include pasture-raised beef on their menus.

Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 with sampling is $10 while a 1 p.m. class geared for culinary students and food service professionals is free.

Tickets go on sale online June 1 at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.  Purchase them at island-wide locations starting July 1: Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

For general event information, phone (808) 322-4892.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Gina at 808-322-4892 no later than August 9, 2016.

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of the Taste can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. This Kama‘aina Special also includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i state ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel room prices start at $149 plus tax per room, per night, based on availability. To book an overnight stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?hotel=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=TSH&arrivaldate=20151009 or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, Hawaii Beef Producers, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools, KTA SuperStores, West Hawaii Today and Pacific Radio Group. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Pour Some Fun at Ka’u Coffee Festival – Lobsterpalooza Planned

The delectable flavors of award-winning Ka‘u coffee is grounds for celebration! The Ka‘u Coffee Festival perks into its eighth season with activities May 13-22, offering many reasons to stay on the south side of the Big Isle. The festival not only showcases Ka‘u’s many award-winning coffees at numerous events, it also offers a host of unique and fun family activities.

coffee fest

“The festival highlights the efforts of our hard-working Ka‘u coffee producers, and also offers unique activities that showcase the heritage District of Ka‘u. Many events are only available during the festival,” says Chris Manfredi, festival organizer.

New to this year’s lineup of java-jumping fun is the Lobsterpalooza—a leisurely Sunday afternoon picnic on the lawn at Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. On the menu of the May 15th spread is a variety of tantalizing skewered pupus, your choice of Kona Cold Lobster or charbroiled Spencer Steak, raised locally by Kuahiwi Ranch, and served with roasted potatoes, Cajun-style local sweet corn, a mouthwatering Ka‘u Coffee Mocha Torte, lilikoi lemonade, brewed ice tea and plenty of Ka‘u coffee. Beachside entertainment is by the bluesy Larry Dupio Band with special guest Full Tilt Band from 2-6 p.m. Tix for $75 are available online at brownpapertickets.com.

This year’s Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest offers nearly $2,000 in cash prizes as adult and student contestants vie in pupu, entrée and dessert categories 11 a.m. Saturday, May 14 at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. The free event stages entertainment, a chance to meet Miss Ka‘u Coffee, tasty recipe and coffee sampling and a tour of the Ka‘u Coffee Mill and Farm. Contest entry and admission are free. The entry deadline is May 9. Visit www.kaucoffeefestival.com for more details.

The pinnacle of the 10-day lineup is the free Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a on Sat., May 21 that sprawls both inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Learn the secret to brewing the “perfect cup of coffee” at the Ka‘u Coffee Experience where coffee professionals prepare Ka‘u coffee a variety of ways: hario pour-over, french press, toddy cold-brew, chemex and clever, plus prepared espresso beverages – 9:30 a.m. to noon and again at 1-3 p.m.

Outside, ho‘olaue‘a attendees can talk story with friendly coffee farmers and other local vendors and artisans at tented booths, many with free sampling. Also on tap are “broke da mouth” local food booths serving hot plate lunches, fresh baked goods and ethnic, local-style treats by local community organizations. Enjoy lunch in the outdoor pavilion or grassy lawn while treated to non-stop, local entertainment. Keiki can enjoy outdoor games and train rides.

Find out how coffee is grown, picked and processed during Ka‘u Coffee Farm & Mill Tours. Sign up at the ho‘olaule‘a for the informative $20 tours, complete with shuttle transport, departing 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Enter the Buy Local It Matters promotion by visiting festival sponsors and redeeming purchase receipts and business cards at the ho‘olaule‘a for chances to win exciting prizes.

The festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, and numerous local sponsors. Most events are free while others carry a nominal fee. A full schedule of events and Ka‘u activity recommendations follows. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com to learn more.

On Friday, May 13, Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours 5:30-9:30 p.m. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce, Hawai’i Farmers Union United and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.comwww.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, May 14, The free Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest is 11 a.m. at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries made with Ka‘u coffee are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories. Free coffee tasting, entertainment and tours. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 14, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of Miss Ka‘u Coffee, Jr. Miss Ka’u Coffee and Miss Ka’u Coffee Peaberry. Contestants compete in talent, speech and evening wear while participating in Miss Popularity, Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic contests.  Winners receive scholarships. Doors open 6 p.m. at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Fee is $10 at the door. Visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, which is marking its centennial in 2016 with special activities. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and May 19 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $45 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday, May 20 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm.  Learn how descendants of Ka‘u’s first coffee farmer integrate coffee with other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday, May 20 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. Enjoy a presentation on the history of Makanau, a summit sunset and the night sky via a guided laser beam tour of the stars. $45 with refreshments and shuttle transportation. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 21 tantalize your taste buds at the free 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of local music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Visit the Ka‘u Coffee Experience, where coffee professionals offer Ka‘u coffee prepared a variety of ways 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.  Ho‘olaule‘a entry is free; farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 22 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Coffee College hosts educational seminars by local and journeymen coffee industry experts and a reverse trade mission. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Lavalicious Fun at Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala

It’s a destination for delicious at the fifth Big Island Chocolate Festival gala 5:30-9 p.m. Sat., May 14 at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate.

chocolate fountain

This year’s event theme is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park” and culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the popular park, plus a host of “best” culinary categories: savory, plated dessert, bon bon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao and People’s Choice.

More chocolatey fun includes a tasty mole and salad bar, chocolate body painting, live music and dancing, a silent auction, wines, cocktails and handcrafted beer using cacao nibs from Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory.

Headlining the “erupting” entertainment is the Tomi Isobe Blues Band featuring Danny Taylor on drums and vocals. Also serenading guests will be Magic Strings with versatile violinist Ursula Vietze.

In addition to the Hapuna Beach and Guittard, culinary participants to date include the Mauna Kea Resort, Hualalai Resort, Hilton Waikoloa Village, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Hilton Hawaiian Village, The Grand Wailea, Amici Ristorante Italiano, Art of the Good Life Catered Events, Huggo’s/On the Rocks, The Fish Hopper, Sweet Eatz, Gypsea Gelato, West Hawai‘i Culinary-Palamanui, Padovani Chocolates, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Madre Chocolate, Valrohna Chocolates, Republica del Cacao, Michel Cluizel Chocolatier and the Cocoa Outlet with its signature, four-foot tall chocolate fountain.

Six, off-island culinary professionals will judge the gala’s delicious offerings. Coming from the Mainland are Alicia Boada, American Culinary Federation approved certification evaluator and Barry Callebaut technician, and Derek Poirier, award-winning Ecole Valrhona pastry chef Western USA.  Judges from Maui include chefs Bruce Troyet of Four Seasons Resort at Wailea, Maui; Elizabeth McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery and Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont, Kea Lani; and Lincoln Carson, formerly of Michael Mina’s restaurants. Leading the Lavalicious booth judging will be Cindy Orlando, superintendent of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.  Prizes will be awarded at the gala, plus winners will be announced for the event’s Friday college culinary competition.

General admission tickets to the gala are $75 presale $100 at the door.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Find ticket info, plus details on the event’s May 13-14 agricultural activities and culinary demonstrations, at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Special room/ticket packages for two start at $396.20 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and can be conveniently booked through the Festival website under “Tickets.” Special room rates can be reserved directly at the hotel at www.HapunaBeachPrinceHotel.com/events or calling 1-888-977-4622 and mentioning “Big Island Chocolate Festival Group Rate.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. Mahalo to 2016 event sponsors Prova, Michael Cluizel, Republica Del Cacao, Valrohna USA, LUVA Real Estate-Lance Owens, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Barry Callebaut USA, Kokua Roofing, DHX, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market and The Wave 92 FM. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. @BIChocoFest

Friends of NELHA Debuts New Tours

The non-profit Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (FON) offers a new lineup of tours open to the public that can be conveniently booked online.

View the world’s largest operational Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant and find out how it works.

NEHLA MakaiDiscover how many aquaculture operations are utilizing deep, cold, nutrient-rich water and warm, surface water to farm our food at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST)—and taste samples.

Learn about what HOST facilities are working to protect and restore our unique ocean inhabitants and why it’s important.

Morning tours are Mondays through Fridays. All tours start at the LEED-certified Gateway Visitor Center. The schedule includes:

FON Ocean Matters Tour: Offering an introduction to cutting edge green energy, aquaculture, desalination and research efforts underway at HOST the activity is 10-11:15 am Monday with options to also visit the OTEC tower at Keahole Point, Big Island Abalone and the Kanaloa Octopus Farm.

NEHLA Octopus

FON Ocean Conservation Tour: Fun starts with an overview presentation and continues with a visit to Ke Kai Ola, the monk seal rehabilitation center. Learn about the efforts to revive Hawai‘i’s declining seal population. Next stop is at the world’s first octopus farm to get up-close-and-personal with cephalopods before seeing the nearby OTEC Tower. Time is 10 a.m.-12:30p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

NEHLA Tour

FON Sustainable Aquaculture Tour: Attendees hear about the challenges and successes of producing sustainable food in the ocean during a tour at Kampachi Farms. Next, see how Big Island Abalone produces feed, brood stock and market product before enjoying a delicious, grilled sample of the company’s premium ezo abalone. Stop at the OTEC Tower and overview presentation. Time is 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

Book tours and find more details at www.friendsofnelha.org or phone 808-329-8073.

Friends of NELHA (FON) is a nonprofit, conservation education organization offering public tours with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability, sustainable aquaculture and the uniqueness of the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point . Presentations begin 10 a.m. weekdays at the Gateway Visitor Center, a mesmerizing location where visitors are inspired by the technologies being developed on the Big Island. Tours are offered Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). www.friendsofnelha.org.

12th Annual Hilo Huli

The Rotary Club of South Hilo will be celebrating its 12th Annual Hilo Huli on May 1, 2016 on Coconut Island from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The Hilo Huli is the Rotary Club of South Hilo’s main fundraising event, with over 1000 people in attendance every year.

hilo huli

“The club brings together the cuisine of local chefs, award winning music, as well as a variety of wine, beer and mix drink offerings to create an all you can eat event that helps raise much needed funds to support our local community. It’s a fantastic way to have a really great time while helping uplift the life of our community,” said Rotary Club of South Hilo President, Kim Arakawa.

To date the Rotary Club of South Hilo’s Hilo Huli has raised over $200,000 used to serve needs in our local community, as well as international projects.

The money raised from this year’s event will help the Rotary Club of South Hilo support a variety of community projects throughout East Hawai‘i including the Obstetrics & Pediatric Unit Renovations (Hilo Medical Center), Hospice of Hilo’s Children’s Bereavement Program and Hilo Bayfront Trails.

“We’re so grateful for all the work the Rotary Club of South Hilo does to make sure our community is a great place to live, and we are so honored to be chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the Hilo Huli,” said Hospice of Hilo CEO, Brenda S. Ho.

Tickets for the event are $50.00 in advance and $65.00 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased online or from Aiona Car Sales, The Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo, Short & Sweet, and any Rotary Club of South Hilo member, www.hilohuli.org or call 808-930-3609.

Prince Dance Institute Celebrates 10 Years at the Kahilu Theatre

Saturday, April 16, at 7PM, and Sunday, April 17, at 4PM, Prince Dance Institute celebrates 10 years of performing at the Kahilu Theatre with Deca:Dance. Close to 100 local performers from the Prince Dance Institute, ages five to adult, amateur to professional will come together in this multi-media dance performance and relive the most popular dance pieces from the last nine years in the retrospective show.

deca dance

Photo by Evan Bordessa

Founded in 2006 by Angel Prince, Prince Dance Institute (PDI) teaches a wide range of dance and movement classes at the Kahilu Theatre. Initially starting with only two students, PDI has grown significantly over the last decade and now has over 100 students of all ages enrolled in its after-school classes. Classes offered include contemporary dance, hip-hop and break dancing, hula, and more.

Over the last 10 years, Prince Dance Institute has created nine original theatrical dance shows combining contemporary dance with narration, video, and live music. The majority of those shows center around environmental topics such as sustainability, renewable resources, clean water, locally sourced food, and the importance of forests. “The idea of using art as a platform for greater good is not a new concept, but is something that I think that still holds great importance in our world today. Using dance and theatre as a medium for this cause is both educational and entertaining,” said Angel Prince, Artistic Director of Prince Dance Institute.

PDI will be welcoming back former dancers from past shows to reprise their roles in Deca:Dance. Among the returning dancers performing in this year’s show include Mimi and Brian Kerley, Kanoa Withington, Lia Cain, Erin Kawakami, Angel Prince, and Elizabeth McDonald. Playing live music on the Theatre’s new Steinway piano will be Everett Knowles and there will be video projection by several local video artists. Designer, and long-time Prince Dance Institute collaborator, Emily Leucht has also created over 150 costumes for this performance.

With choreography by Angel Prince, Lynn Barre, Elizabeth McDonald, Kai Webber, and Leia Lawrence, and exciting and eclectic music from Phillip Glass to Lordes, this performance will be both high energy and visually stimulating.

Deca:Dance will also play for local schools and children in two youth Shows on Wednesday, April 13th. For more information about the Youth Shows offered at the Theatre please contact Education Coordinator Lisa Shattuck at youth@kahilutheatre.org.

The Kahilu Theatre doors open at 6pm for the Saturday performance and at 3pm for the Sunday performance. There will also be food and beverages available for sale. The Art Off The Wall exhibit will be showing in the Kohala Gallery.

Tickets are $32 / $27 / $22 / $16 and available for purchase online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office, at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Monday-Friday, from 9am to 1pm.

Ke Ola Magazine Names Gayle Greco General Manager

Now in its eighth year of publishing, Ke Ola Magazine announces Gayle Greco is filling the position of Ke Ola’s general manger. A resident of Kailua-Kona, Greco is a long-time haumana (student) of Hawaiian culture and a regular Ke Ola editorial contributor.

Ke Ola

In 2013, Greco was hired in an interim executive management position at the Seattle Times. During that time, Greco provided successful leadership in the advertising sales division resulting in positive goal achievement. In addition to this assignment, Greco has worked on consulting projects for the Sacramento Bee, Tacoma News Tribune and locally at La’i ‘Opua 2020.

Gayle’s current responsibilities at Ke Ola Magazine include overseeing and managing the sales, distribution, editorial and administrative departments, while helping to create a business plan for the magazine’s next stage of growth and development.

Barbara Garcia, publisher and owner, has recently updated Ke Ola Magazine’s mission and vision statements. The updated mission states Ke Ola is in business to help other businesses reach new customers, while perpetuating Hawai’i Island’s arts, culture and sustainability.

Ke Ola is the only island-wide magazine that is published to reach people who live on Hawai’i Island, as well as frequent visitors. Its five-part vision statement includes points such as offering marketing solutions for businesses that want to reach new and existing customers while providing opportunities to support Hawai’i Island’s artists, writers and the subjects they write about. By using Hawaiʻi Island and native Hawaiian culture as a model, Ke Ola aims to help educate the rest of the planet on sustainable (pono) practices to preserve all lands and cultures.

Big Island Film Festival Announces 2016 Official Selections

Now in its eleventh year, Big Island Film Festival (BIFF) has announced its 58 Official Selections, to be screened May 26-30, 2016. BIFF, the “talk story” film festival is a celebration of narrative filmmaking in the luxury resort setting of the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii and The Shops at Mauna Lani.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

The new, independent shorts and feature-length films are widely diverse, with something for every movie fan genre from sci fi to all kinds of romance, belly-laugh comedy, zombie suspense, martial arts action, captivating mysteries, family stories, and a short, “Cosmopenguin,” by a 7-year old Austrian filmmaker.

Michael Gross

Michael Gross

Michael Gross, best known as Steven Keaton, Michael J. Fox’s TV dad in “Family Ties,” stars in the new feature “Last Call at Murray’s,” showing Sunday night. Gross will attend in person, following a salute and reception in his honor. Bellamy Young, who plays ambitious First Lady on “Scandal,” will also be honored at BIFF, with a salute and reception on Saturday. Tickets for both events are available online.

Bellamy Young

Bellamy Young

Of note are feature films to be screened at the Fairmont Orchid’s Plantation Estate, where no-host bar and snacks make movie-watching even more fun, and beach chairs are welcome. On Saturday, “Winter’s Dream,” a futuristic sci fi drama pairs with “Plan Z,” a gripping trip through the zombie apocalypse, with soundtrack by artists like Rhianna, the Black Eyed Peas and more. Friday’s lineup includes a hilarious defense of family leave, “The Bad Mother,” and a multi-level love story filmed on our island, “Throuple.” On Sunday, “The Closer” is an intense drama about super high stakes real estate during the boom and bust of Brooklyn’s subprime meltdown.

A scene from "Throuple"

A scene from “Throuple”

“I am so impressed with the quality of films this year,” said Executive Director Leo Sears. “Picking the Official Selections was very difficult. The features are excellent, and the shorts are so good that we added an extra film block so we could show six more. Many of the daytime movies are good enough to be shown in the prime Festival Venue, but we only have so much space. This is a great selection that any movie-lover will enjoy and we hope everybody will come and support indie films with us.”

The Official Selections for BIFF 2016 are:

A Mighty Nice Man
As You Like It
Bernie and Rebecca
Between The Miles
Beyond Shattered Lenses
Blue borsalino
Boomerang
Breathe
Catfish Blues
Cosmopenguin
Cuddle Party
Danny Boy
Diablo (Devil)
Dream Land
Ellis
Fade
Frankie – Italian roulette
God Is A Dog
Green Lake
Hook Man
Indigo
Instance
Jack’s Apocalypse
Jagon
Last Call At Murray’s
Market St.
Monty and the Runaway Furnace
New Generation
OUT OF THE VILLAGE
Plan Z
Popolo
Prick
Psychoanalysis
Rated
Regression
Reservations For Three?
Ribbons
Romantic Rouse
Speaking of Fairies
Spunkle
Stoked Steves
Superior The Movie
The Bad Mother
The Bench
The Boy
The Closer Movie
The End aka John Doe
The End of Blessings
Kidnapping of a Fish
The Light Thief
The Schoolboy
The Surrender Call
THROUPLE The Movie
Water Girl
West of Her
White Lies, Blue Dream
Wifey Redux – A Short Film Based on the Story by Kevin Barry
Winter’s Dream

The five-day schedule includes free Opening Night and family films at The Shops at Mauna Lani, daytime movies and screenings under the stars at Plantation Estate, special events, screenwriting workshops, Awards Brunch and more.

A limited number of ballots will be given to audience members during each screening. Votes are tallied at the end of the festival, to determine the Audience-choice Feature and Short to be screened at Best of the Fest on Monday, May 30. An exciting closing night event, Best of the Fest will kick off with a Hawaiian music concert, and two ways to give back: a silent auction for Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center, and a portion of each ticket sold donated to Hawai‘i Island Food Basket.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 26-30. Major sponsors include the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP. For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.

BISAC Splash Bash Entertains Hundreds

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) hosted one of its annual events in Na’alehu. The Ka’u Splash Bash, is an event which celebrated community, promoted positive messages, and provided opportunities to enhance family relationships.

splash bash

Over 40 community organizations participated in providing the community with resources and family-fun activities. In true style, BISAC had carnival games, entertainment, massive water slides, prom dress distribution, a water balloon battle of over 4000 balloons, and closed the event with a Bubblicious Foam Fest. Hundreds of individuals took part in the event.

BISAC through its events and long standing positive reputation in the community continues to inspire positive changes and helps individuals and families reclaim their lives. “This event was just amazing. To see the community come together in celebration of their families while learning positive messages, made for a very successful event” says BISAC’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita. “We are already gearing up and taking Splash Bash to Kona in October, so come out and join us.”

Splash bash2

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse and mental health. They offer a continuum of services that are culturally appropriate and aligned with the ever-changing behavioral health field.

For more information about BISAC and all of its programs call 969-9994 or visit www.bisac.org.

Easter at Prince Kuhio Plaza

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation, in partnership with several groups and businesses, invites keiki age 17 and younger to its free Easter at the Plaza holiday event Friday, March 25, at Hilo’s Prince Kūhiō Plaza.

Prince Kuhio PlazaRegistration opens at 9:30 a.m. at the plaza’s center court. Keiki activities, including Easter crafts, coloring station, carnival games, tattoos, face painting, and balloon sculpting, will be offered from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Prize giveaways will occur every half-hour.

A special milk drinking contest, sponsored by the Hilo Jaycees and Kandi’s Drive-Inn, and an ice cream eating contest, sponsored by Dairy Queen/Orange Julius, will be held at 12:30 p.m. Contests open to keiki age 12 and younger.

Easter at the Plaza is a drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free event.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks partners Prince Kūhiō Plaza, Hilo High School Key Club and AVID, Waiākea High School Key Club, Hilo Jaycees, Living Waters Assembly, Circle K at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, East Hawai‘i Kiwanis, and Kandi’s Drive-Inn for helping sponsor the Easter at the Plaza event.

For more information, please contact the Hilo Recreation Division of the Department of Parks and Recreation at 938-2014.

Second Annual Free Easter Egg Hunt at Botanical World Adventures

Children from age two to eleven can enjoy the fun of searching for over 2,000 plastic eggs during the Second Annual Free Easter Egg Hunt at Botanical World Adventures, 16 miles north of Hilo.

maze

“The event was a huge success last year so we made it even bigger this year,” explained Kika Nixon, Operations Manager at Botanical World Adventures. “There are more eggs for the children to find and more and larger prizes for adults. “Every child will receive candy or a small prize. Plus we are having drawings for free rides on our Zip Isle zip line tour and on our unique Segway Rainforest tour.”

Mrs. Nixon said the Easter Egg hunt will take place on both Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 27. The egg hunt starts at 10:00a.m. each day. Children will gather the eggs then turn them in for candy or prizes. Admission to the beautiful World Botanical Gardens at Botanical World Adventures is free for children and families attending the egg hunts.

“We want to give back to our community and just felt this is one fun way to do that,” Mrs. Nixon added. “We look forward to seeing everyone.”

A special Sunrise Service by the Hilo Coast United Church of Christ will also take place at Botanical World on Easter Sunday from 6:00 – 6:45a.m. “All are welcome. The service will be at the Kamae’e Falls overlook here at Botanical World and we have easy to access to a tent in case of rain,” said the Operations Manager.

Botanical World Adventures is located 16 miles north of Hilo at mile marker 16 on Highway 19. Additional information is available by calling (808) 963-5427; (toll free: 888-947-4753), and on the web at www.ZipIsle.com or BotanicalWorld.com

11th Annual Laupahoehoe Music Festival

Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School (LCPCS) will host the 11th Annual Laupahoehoe Music Festival on Saturday, April 23, 2016 from  9 a.m.to 6 p.m.at beautiful Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park. Proceeds go to the LCPCS agricultural and technology programs.

Laupahoehoe Music Festival

First organized in 2005 under the foresight of Laupahoehoe resident musician Braddah Smitty, the nonprofit Malama Hawaii Nei hosted the event until 2015, awarding nearly $27,000 in scholarships to the students.

This year’s Hawaiian style event features some of the island’s best music and hula entertainers performing at Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park, noted for its sacred and natural beauty and was a regular stopover by Kamehameha in his canoe voyaging conquest of the islands. The LCPCS Ukelele Band will play this year, featuring secondary school students under the direction of music instructor Todd Otake.

Music Festival Laupahoehoe

Tickets are $10 in advance at Hilo Guitars, Basically Books, CD Wizard and Hilo Music Exchange in Hilo, and Sakado Store in Laupahoehoe, Taro Patch in Honokaa, and in Kona at Music Exchange, or $15 at the gate. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.LaupahoehoeMusicFestival.org. Age 10 and under are free.

Traditional cuisines such as Hawaiian style, Thai and more will be available for sale.  Vendors are still being accepted. Please contact Gerry Delgado at (808) 962-2200 or email gerry.delgado@lcpcs.org before March 10th.

Sponsors include Kau Coffee, Big Island Toyota and Ke Ola Magazine. For event sponsorship opportunities, please contact Delgado at the contact information provided above.

The 2015 Music Festival drew 500-600 people to the Point. This is a great opportunity to spend the day with ohana. Games for keiki are $5 for eight games with automatic prizes.

Hui Kako-o O Laupahoehoe, the LCPCS non-profit organization, will again offer a silent auction, with proceeds going to the arts and garden projects at the school.

It’s a day of music, music, music, ono grinds and crafts. Drinks available on site. No coolers please. This is an alcohol and drug free event.

Hikianalia’s Upcoming Hawaii Island Events

Hikianalia, the sister ship of Hokule’a, will be coming to the Big Island soon and the public is invited to some of the upcoming Hawaii Island events.
malama honua hawaii island visit

  • Friday, March 4 – Education Engagement Day Location: All throughout West Hawaii.  Organize and pair up schools and community organizations who malama honua for community service learning or classroom visitation.  To RSVP and for more information contact: nakalaiwaa@gmail.com
  • Saturday, March 5, 8:00-10:00 a.m. – Waa Talks: Location: Pua Ka Ilima (Kawaihae Coral Flats).  Geared for educators: E Lau Hoe Waa Teacher Training Activities.  RSVP on website.
  • Saturday, March 5, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – Malama Honua, WW Voyage Festival.  Location: Pua Ka Ilima (Kawaihae Coral flats).  This event is free and open to all families and community members. Featuring three demonstrations: Fish Surveys, Water Safety and Waa Mele & Oli
  • Wednesday, March 9, 5:00-7:00 p.m. – Waa Talks, Location: Kona – Keauhou Shopping Center. Special Guest Speaker: Celeste Hao from Imiloa Astronomy Center sharing the Kolea Waa Tool Kit, which is soon to be available to teachers.
  • Friday, March 11, 10:00-11:30 a.m. – Special Screening for schools, Location: Kahilu Theatre.  Screening of: Te Mana o Te Moana, $2 Event Fee RSVP: pomai@kalo.org
  • Friday, March 11, 7:00-9:30 p.m. –SAIL-A-BRATION FUNDRAISER, Where: Kohala Village HUB Barn. What: Music and Entertainment. Donation at the Door, No RSVP needed.
  • Saturday, March 12, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. – Make Happy, A hui hou Hikianalia! Location: Kawaihae, Hawaii.  Community is invited to say a hui hou to Hikianalia. Potluck for community participants and Ohana Waa – bring something to share.

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy to Participate in the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s 3rd Annual “Hawaii on the Hill” Initiative in Washington D.C.

More Than 50 Hawaii Organizations to Participate in the Two-Day Agenda, June 7-8, 2016

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy will be entertaining, with his Poke recipes, culinary skills and joyful manner, some 1000+ distinguished guests that are anticipated to attend the 3rd Annual Taste of Hawaii event as part of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s “Hawaii on the Hill” initiative in partnership with Senator Mazie Hirono.

Sam Choy will be featured in Washington DC. Photo by Douglas Peebles Photography

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy will be entertaining guests in Washington D.C. at the “Hawaii on the Hill” event. Photo by Douglas Peebles Photography

“Sam Choy is a pioneer of Pacific Rim cuisine, and I’m excited to have him as part of our 3rd annual Hawaii on the Hill hosted in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. For decades, Chef Choy has been committed to sharing the culture of our state through its food, and is the latest local celebrity to participate in Hawaii on the Hill, joining Willie K, Amy Hanaialii, and Aidan James. Hawaii on the Hill has grown to be one of the most anticipated state showcase events because of participants like Chef Choy and Tiki Shark Art, who truly bring a slice of the Aloha State to Washington, D.C.,” commented Senator Mazie K. Hirono.

Mazie Hirono with Abbas Hassan and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker

Sen. Mazie Hirono with Abbas Hassan and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker

“It was an honor for me to get a direct invite from the Senator to attend this event. My cell phone rang and it was Mazie Hirono on the other line…wow!” he exclaimed. “I am so pleased to see that Poke, a true Hawaiian food, is making its way to the mainland in a big way,” he added.

“The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii is very excited and pleased to welcome Chef Sam Choy to this year’s Hawaii on the Hill initiative and, particularly, our Taste of Hawaii on the Hill event, which has grown to over 1,000 attendees,” said Chamber President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. “Having Chef Choy represent the Aloha State with Tiki Shark Art will add even more stature and a colorful dimension to our line-up of participants. This will be our third year in a row to lead this effort, in partnership with Senator Mazie Hirono and her team, and we’re looking forward to sharing Hawaii’s food, culture, and industries with our nation’s leaders, and other officials and representatives, again.”

More than 50 organizations from Hawaii are participating in the Taste of Hawaii representing made-in-Hawaii products and the tourism, agriculture, innovation and technology, manufacturing and military industries. The Taste of Hawaii is one of several events slated for the two-day Hawaii on the Hill agenda, which also includes a “Talk Story” hosted by Senator Hirono and a Policy Summit with Congressional committee members and other officials.

This year’s Hawaii on the Hill will take place June 7-8. For additional information, please contact Lori Abe with the Chamber at email: labe@cochawaii.org or by calling (808) 380-2605.

Parking on Kamehameha Highway to Be Restricted Near Waimea Bay for the Eddie Aikau Tournament

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is alerting motorists of parking restrictions on Kamehameha Highway on Oahu’s North Shore in anticipation of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surf tournament. No parking will be allowed on either side of Kamehameha Highway from Iliohu Place to the Saints Peter & Paul Mission beginning Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 at 10 pm through the duration of the tournament.

Eddie contest

Temporary barriers will be placed in the shoulders to prevent parking and allow safe pedestrian access. Honolulu Police officers will be patrolling the area enforcing the parking restriction. Vehicles parked within the restricted area will be cited and/or towed at the owner’s expense. Should the event be cancelled the barriers will be removed as quickly as possible and the parking restriction will be lifted.

HDOT is postponing planned lane closures on Kamehameha Highway along Oahu’s North Shore in anticipation of the crowds of people venturing to Waimea Bay. Previously planned utility installation and repair work on Thursday, Feb. 25 will be postponed.

Electronic message boards will be strategically placed at key decision making points including Wahiawa, Kahaluu and Kahuku to alert motorists of parking restrictions and heavy traffic on the North Shore. Additional signs will be placed on both ends of the designated area near Waimea Bay to notify drivers of the parking restriction.

We ask those travelling to the North Shore to be patient, drive safely, and expect delays. As with past Eddie’s, we expect the number of cars on the road to significantly exceed the capacity. HDOT has been in coordination with the Honolulu Police Department, City & County of Honolulu Parks and Recreation Department, and Department of Transportation Services to mitigate impacts to the best extent possible.

To view a complete list of the scheduled roadwork around the state visit the Hawaii Department of Transportation website by clicking here.

Hawaii Island Prom Dress Drive to Help Local Ladies go to Prom

Friends of the Children’s Justice Center are having a Prom Dress Drive to help local young ladies go to a prom. Donate a formal dress to give a local high school student an opportunity to join their friends at a memorable High School event and do so with confidence.

Prom Dress Drive

Collecting new and gently used prom/party dresses & evening gowns, shoes, jewelry & accessories.

Collection Location, Hilo Naniloa Hotel, 93 Banyan Dr. Hilo, HI:

  • Friday, March 11th 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Saturday, March 12th 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM & 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Sunday, March 13th 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM