Cool Fusion: Festival of 1,000 Bowls returns with modifications for safety, to be held at Donkey Mill Art Center

  • Broth is poured over the noodle and vegetable base in a ceramic bowl picked out by an attendee.

  • Sandy Sater demonstrates pottery wheel throwing during the 2018 Cool Fusion: Festival of 1,000 Bowls at the Keauhou Shopping Center. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Ceramic bowls of various sizes and designs were available to fill with cold noodle soup during the 2018 Cool Fusion: Festival of 1,000 Bowls at the Keauhou Shopping Center. (Photos by LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today)

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Donkey Mill Art Center is excited to serve up Cool Fusion: Festival of 1,000 Bowls next weekend.

Cool Fusion was held in recent years at Keauhou Shopping Center as it grew in popularity with hundreds in attendance. This year’s festival is scaled back to be held where it began at the Donkey Mill Art Center in Holualoa from 2 to 6 p.m. Sept. 25 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 26. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at


In compliance with social distancing protocols, a limited number of tickets for designated hourly time slots are available for sale to maintain group size. Ticket holders will select an available time slot of their choice within which they will have the opportunity to select from hundreds of handmade ceramic bowls.

With no more than 10 participants granted entry at a time, the center said it can ensure social distancing measures and safety protocols are followed.

“The Donkey Mill continues to be a vibrant arts organization in spite of the hardship and limitations our community is experiencing. With creativity and resilience, we prepare to celebrate our 25th anniversary hosting a modified version of our popular event Cool Fusion. We bring this event to our community that has continued to support and encourage us through this pandemic because we feel strongly that now more than ever, we are committed to provide art and cultural experiences to people of all ages and abilities,” said Cris Lindborg, Donkey Mill Board president and chairperson of the Cool Fusion event.

This year’s celebration is special in many ways; not only is Cool Fusion back home at the “Mill,” the beloved community event is also offering pre-ordered noodle kits, providing participants with all of the ingredients and fixins to prepare and enjoy the traditional cold somen noodle dish safely, in the comfort of their own home.

For anyone not able to attend, the center now has an online store where bowls can be ordered for shipping or pick up.

Cool Fusion is an invitation to experience Japanese ceramic and culinary arts traditions through the enjoyment of a refreshing bowl of cold noodles on a hot summer day. In addition to the bounty of handmade ceramic bowls, specialty ceramic items and Cool Fusion merchandise, the center has partnered with local restaurants, chefs and artists to create the first-ever limited edition signature cookbook “Somen Innovation: Where Tradition and Creativity Meet” featuring innovative recipes that put a spin on the event’s traditional hiyashi somen cold noodle dish. Participating restaurants and chefs include: Holuakoa Gardens, Kenichi Pacific, Magics Beach Grill, Chef Amelia Fisher of The Strawberry Patch, Chef Sam Choy, Fairmont Orchid, Foster’s Kitchen, Chef Adrienne Hew and the Morinoue ohana.

This year, there are three ticketing options: the “Solo Bowl” ticket for $20 includes one bowl of your choice and the original noodle recipe; the “Two-Person Party” ticket for $60 includes two bowls and cookbook and the “Party of Four” ticket for $120 includes four bowls, the special cookbook and a noodle kit for four.


Donkey Mill Art Center is the home of Holualoa Foundation for Arts and Culture, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art education organization. Its mission is to provide a stimulating environment that helps individuals discover, develop and expand their artistic abilities. For more information, visit or call (808) 322-3362.

The Donkey Mill Art Center is open 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

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