Uncle Robert’s Night Market shuts down

HILO — Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar and Farmers Market held its last Night Market for the foreseeable future on Wednesday as the popular event has been shut down indefinitely.

A statement from Night Market staff to vendors explained that the market will be closed until further notice and apologized for the inconvenience.

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According to the statement, the shutdown is partially because of “underage drinking, sales of illegal substances and ohana rules being disrespected or ignored.”

The weekly event, which typically runs from 5-10 p.m. every Wednesday, has been run by a local family, the Keli‘iho‘omalus, and attracts hundreds of visitors and dozens of vendors.

“Our ohana has decided to close the market for now … due to a few bad apples ruining it for everyone else,” said Andrew Keli‘iho‘omalu, grandson of Uncle Robert’s namesake Robert Keli‘iho‘omalu, in a Facebook video. “It’s sad, because for the most part everyone’s been awesome … but it’s really unfortunate that some people have to go and ruin it for everyone else.”

Kalapana resident Ikaika Marzo, who is family with the Keli‘iho‘omalus, said that the closure might only be for “a short period of time” or could be “indefinite.”

Marzo explained that the market serves as a home for his family, and keiki on the property are threatened by a handful of “rotten eggs” using the event to carry out illegal acts, such as using and selling drugs.

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“The place needs time to rest,” Marzo said. “After being open so long, a lot of people in the neighborhood take advantage of the situation.”

Uncle Robert’s will remain open at normal hours throughout the week.

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