Hamakua Farm Festival showcases a bounty of food and education

  • Dozens of booths offer locally produced foods and activities at the annual Hamakua Harvest Festival. (COURTESY PHOTO/HAMAKUA HARVEST)

WAIMEA — Last year, 1,800 people attended the Hamakua Farm Festival and this year even more are expected.

The third annual event will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday at the Hamakua Harvest site, where Mamalahoa Highway and Mamane Street intersect just outside Honokaa. It will feature a creative combination of Hamakua Harvest’s offerings, including locally produced goods and artisanal food, an all-day lineup of local entertainment, top-notch educational presentations, an expansive kid’s activity area and a silent auction.

ADVERTISING


For a true taste of the Hawaiian culture, Joshua Lanakila Mangauil of the Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hamakua will open the festivities with a traditional Hawaiian protocol. Guests can learn all about taro — a Hawaiian staple — from planting the “huli” to pounding poi.

For live entertainment, at 8:30 a.m. The Rachel Scott Band will take the stage to perform contemporary, rock and folk music. At 10 a.m. the Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hamakua Community Hula Hui will perform and at 11:45 The Big Rock Band will play classics from the ‘60s to ‘80s, including jazz and Latin sounds. At 1:15 p.m. Dennis Padilla and Friends will share their Hawaiian melodies and acoustic tunes. Aerial arts performances will be displayed by CirquéOhana, and visitors can learn how to juggle at their booth.

At an expanded keiki zone adjacent to the Learning Garden, children can visit a petting zoo, take miniature donkey rides, play interactive games, participate in gardening, arts and crafts, mosaic art and origami classes, or try bean bag tosses, bubble fun, face painting and henna.

Adults can enhance their knowledge at one of four educational presentations that day. The first class, “Agroforestry Solutions for Hamakua,” will begin at 8:30 a.m. when Dave Sansone will share how agroforestry can help beat weeds and pests, improve the soil and increase production naturally. At 10:15 a.m. Ty MacDonald from CTAHR will teach how to graft avocados. At 11:45 a.m., “Growing a Complete Diet in Hawaii” will be led by Wade Bauer. He will share how to efficiently grow food at home to provide a fresh organic balanced diet, followed by “Sustainable Tropical Fruit and Nut Production” at 1:15 p.m. by Alyssa Cho from CTAHR.

Hands-on educational programs will allow participants to see, touch or taste something unique, beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the “Grow Your Own Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms” class. Zach Mermelwill will share how to grow specific mushrooms for food, fun and possibly profit by demonstrating how to easily cultivate functional fungi on “waste” materials found around a farm or homestead. At 10:15 a.m., based on his experience working with Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Andy Collins will lead the “Make Your Own Humpback Whale Hats and Gyotaku Fish Print” class. At 11:45 a.m. Curtis Tate will provide information on growing sugar cane from cuttings and guide participates in propagating their own sugarcane using various methods. At the final class at 1:15 p.m., Keoni Aweau Turalde from the Lihikai Hawaiian Cultural Learning Center will show how to make Hawaiian drums for hula and traditional ceremonies.

The silent auction will feature items ranging from fancy dinners to local products available for bidding. Donations are still being accepted.

As part of Hamakua Harvest’s Waste Wise initiative, a free shuttle bus will service overflow parking areas around Honokaa town. SNAP/EBT purchases will be welcomed.

ADVERTISING


Sponsored by Hawaii Tourism Authority, the event kicks off the historic Honokaa Western Week. Additional sponsors are BEI, Hawaii Beef Producers, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union and Hamakua Coast Realty.

Volunteers are needed for the community event, and will receive a custom t-shirt and a mahalo pizza party. For donations or to volunteer, contact Hamakua Harvest at info@Hamakuaharvest.org.