The 25th Kona Brewers Festival slated for Saturday has been canceled amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The Ke Kai Ala Foundation, host of the Kona Brewers Festival, announced the postponement less than 48 hours before the anniversary celebration was to get underway on the luau grounds of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Organizers attributed the decision to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was a difficult and unanimous decision rooted in our commitment to do right for the well-being of our whole community for long term wellness. The Kona Brewers Festival has been following this situation closely, and has adjusted to each phase of information offered by the CDC and the State of Hawaii,” organizers said in a press release.
The postponement includes the Run for the Hops, Brewers Dinner, and Volunteer Mahalo Party events.
“We know that people come from near and far, investing so much in this beloved event. Like you, organizers had hoped the Festival could continue on, as we have for so long… through rain, shine, and even a Tsunami in 2011,” the press release reads. “We had hoped to do so with all the surprises and delights that we are so famous for. While this was our hope, the health and well-being of our island community is, and forever will be, our highest priority.”
The festival was slated to bring 36 chefs and 36 brewers from the Hawaiian Islands and mainland. Also planned was the signature Trash Fashion Show.
Over 3,000 people were expected to attend the festivities.
The Kona Brewers Festival raises funds for 28 Hawaii Island programs, working for the environment, culture and youth. Financial gifts from festival proceeds are made to selected nonprofit programs, who in turn staff the festival each year. Over the years, the festival has raised more than $1.3 million.
Festival spokesperson Summer Carrick said organizers are working diligently to find a new date and information for refund requests and will disseminate details as soon as possible.
“Please give them a couple of days to do this work so that they may announce as soon as possible,” said Carrick.