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Paradise Roller Girls Annual Jell-O Wrestling Tournament

It’s slippery. It’s sticky. It’s silly. It’s the Paradise Roller Girls Jell-O wrestling tournament and calendar signing day at the Hilo Town Tavern! Come join the fun November 10 in downtown Hilo to watch your favorite derby girls battle it out in a pool of slimy goo before the presentation and signing of the Paradise Roller Girls newly released 2013 photo calendar.

Paradise Roller Girl’s 2011 Jell-O wrestling tournament champion Atomic Ace holds her hands up in victory.

This year’s Jell-O wrestling tournament is the third such event to be hosted by PRG. During last year’s tournament Atomic Ace defeated Firefly Fatal and Sasha Buzzkill before beating Derbutante Diva to become the 2011 Jell-O wrestling champion. Ace, who was just a rookie last year, explained that like derby, Jell-O wrestling is not a staged event – it’s the real deal!

“Yeah, we were really wrestling in there. It was a really rough match,” she said about last year’s final matchup with Derbutante Diva. “I had never Jell-O wrestled before, but it was kind of cool because it is a bar that I go to often and there are a lot of people there that I know.”

2010 Jell-O wrestling tournament champion Holly Von Slappenbitsch Zimmerman basks in the glory of her triumph.

Holly ‘Von Slappenbitsch’ Zimmerman, the 2010 Jell-O wrestling champion, explained that the event is not just for entertainment either. “It helps to raise funds for the Paradise Roller Girls and it is fun,” she said.

Money raised from the event helps to pay for some of PRG’s administrative and operating costs. Entrance to Saturday’s Jell-O wrestling tournament is $5, with the wrestling action beginning at 4 p.m. Hotdogs and hamburgers will be sold at a discounted price for all PRG fans and Tavern regulars who make it through the door. For more information contact Ann Illusion at 315-0494 or the Hilo Town Tavern at 935-2171.

Paradise Roller Girls is a women’s flat-track roller derby league located on the Big Island of Hawaii. PRG’s mission is to promote a healthy, athletic lifestyle in their community through the alternative sport of roller derby.

Floral Competition Taps Statewide Winners

Members of the statewide floriculture industry recently gathered for a lineup of horticulture seminars, market strategizing workshops and networking at the 4th Annual “Tropical Trends Collaboration Now in the 21st Century” conference presented by the Hawaii Tropical Flower Council (HTFC), Crop Productions Services and the Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association (HFNA).

Held October 19-21 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, the conference culminated on Sunday with the first Tropical Trends Design Competition themed for a destination wedding in Hawaii. Award-winning floral designer, author and educator Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, served as the contest’s lead judge, assisted by Carol Okada, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and Margarita (Day Day) Hopkins, retired economic development specialist with Hawaii County.

“The contestants exceeded my expectations, producing interesting designs that illustrated their mechanical and professional knowledge,” noted Gilliam of Design 358.

Participating design contestants from Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii Island were tasked with using a surprise package of materials to create a bridal bouquet, a table centerpiece and one table setting “for the sophisticated bride and groom from New York City.” The winning contestants took home cash and the public was invited to attend for free.

“A competition like this brings out the best of what Hawaii has to offer, both in product and floral design, added Eric Tanouye, president of HFNA. “Many of our local designers have the talent to compete on the larger stage. Their designs were beautiful and definitely cutting-edge.”

Iris Viacrusis of Iris Gill Design in Hilo

Taking first place was Iris Viacrusis of Iris Gill Design in Hilo, followed by second place winner Sue Tabbal-Yamaguchi of Su-V Expression in Honolulu. Lia Mercado of Ainahua Florals in Kamuela earned third place and the people’s choice award.

Lia Mercado of Ainahua Florals in Kamuela

“Local residents usually want flowers from the Mainland for their weddings but after seeing what we did with the Hawaii product, they were amazed,” shared Viacrusis. “Events like this can excite our citizens to request our tropical flowers for their weddings, which is more affordable than shipping product in.”

The first day of the conference focused on ways to improve floral production, delving into pest control, fertilizer and research. Saturday’s programs covered the importance of not only having a business plan, but also a marketing strategy with a Hawaii brand identity. Attendees learned about capitalizing on the trend in interior scapes, like “living walls,” and got an update on the global production and marketing of cut flowers, blooming plants and potted foliage by worldwide authority Henry Winogrond of Novelle Consulting.

While discussing “Trends, Design and Demand in the Floriculture and Nursery Industry,” Gilliam told growers they “have all the right things”—quality, product with interesting colors and textures and good delivery with Fed Ex—but need to better market themselves.

“The market is not going to come to the small grower; competition is fierce,” emphasized Gilliam of Canada. “Collaboration of all growers is essential to sell product to a targeted customer wanting the Hawaii brand and all the wonderful attributes the brand has to offer.”

Tanouye agrees, adding, “It’s important to stay in the top tier of the marketplace by delivering on the Hawaii brand promise of highest quality, consistency, an ever-changing diversified product, and service with aloha.”

The 4th Annual “Tropical Trends Collaboration Now in the 21st Century” is a partnership between County of Hawaii Research & Development, Crop Production Services, Flora-Dec, Hawaii Export Nursery Association, Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association, Hawaii Tropical Flower Council, Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Orchid Growers of Hawaii, State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture and University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.