Hamakua Harvest announces First Annual Farm Festival

  • Hamakua Harvest is a unique agricultural hub offering a wide range of quality farm products and educational programs in Honokaa. COURTESY PHOTO

Hamakua Harvest, the farm hub that is blossoming at the intersection of Mamane Street and Highway 19, will host their First Annual Farm Festival on May 29, featuring more than 40 vendors and an all-day lineup of entertainment, cooking contests and educational presentations. The event commences at 8 a.m. and concludes by 4 p.m.

Community members can support their favorite local farmers, hang out and listen to local musicians, meet neighborhood farmers and ranchers, taste a variety of the Hamakua region’s artisanal food and visit the rodeo while in the neighborhood. County Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter and the Department of Research and Development provided funding to make this event possible.

Kid’s activities will feature a 10-member team of children from the Hiccup Circus offering acrobatics, face painting, juggling and balloon sculpting. Scavenger hunts, relay races and interactive games will be held at regular intervals throughout the day.

A silent auction will offer opportunities to bid on everything from fancy dinners and accommodations to local farm and ranch services and products.

The festival activities are being coordinated with the famous Hawaii Saddle Club Rodeo, a 60-year community tradition that takes place one mile away and commences at noon. A shuttle bus service will be available between the events, bringing the district’s vibrant ranching community closer together with the up-and-coming farmers who have succeeded the plantation era.

Former County Council member, Dominic Yagong, will be the festival’s emcee, introducing special guests, entertainment performers and prize winners throughout the day.

Veteran local food columnist, Sonia R. Martinez, will oversee cooking contests in three categories — appetizer, entree and dessert — based on best use of locally sourced ingredients, taste, appearance and originality. Visit the Hamakua Harvest website www.hamakuaharvest.org for contest rules and entry forms.

Entertainment will consist of four sets of musicians and a hula presentation by the Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hamakua. Musicians include James Lowe on acoustic guitar; The Rachel Scott Band playing a combination of contemporary, rock, folk and alternative music; Don May, a singer-songwriter originally from Austin, Texas, performing blues, country and Americana; and The Big Rock Band, a hometown favorite consisting of Steve Vujnovich, Rick Berman, Jim Millar, John Kahakalau, John Baldwin and Mike Pollard, playing classics from the ‘60s to ‘80s, including jazz and Latin sounds.

The festival’s three principal educational presentations will be conducted by masters in their fields, including a demonstration by Dick Threlfall, founder of the Hawaii Island Goat Dairy, of how he makes his award-winning classic goat cheeses.

Ken Love, globally renowned tropical fruit aficionado, outspoken advocate of the use of locally grown food and executive director of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Association, will give a talk entitled, “Fruits of the Future.”

University of Hawaii extension agent, Ty McDonald, will demonstrate tropical fruit tree grafting and offer valuable insights into this age-old form of fruit tree propagation.

Volunteers are needed to help with parking, carpentry, cooking contests, keiki activities, music/stage management and festival set-up. They will receive custom festival t-shirts for their support. If interested, contact Julia at [email protected] or (203) 903-1696.

Purchases using SNAP/EBT are welcome at the festival.

For festival questions, email Lori Beach at [email protected].

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