I have wonderful news … our shop is again open! We have coffee to roast and sell. And the pickers are here today, getting the last third or fourth of our harvest, to be dry milled in 2024. In the next days we’ll have a good idea of our season’s harvest. It has been dark and drizzling before noon today, but the sun is coming out again.
Ten days of coffee festival activities are now over. There are so many things going on, we don’t go to all of them. Last year I decided to try one event new for me each year so I can get a feel for what it’s about. This year my new event was Kona’s Got Talent Showcase, which is held mauka (upland), not in Kailua. We almost didn’t go; inertia is so hard to overcome. We got over the hump by saying we’d go for at least an hour (this is often a trick I’ve used to get started on consulting projects for the day).
We saw more than these performers, but the Little Miss Kona Coffee participants (ages 7-12) were the cutest, so I snapped photos mostly of them. The winner demonstrated archery. We could use her help with our pigs. I apologize for the blurry photos.
At the Talent Showcase I learned that it was the late Fusao Sugai that insisted this event be held mauka. He and his family were honored at the event. The Sugai family is our direct neighbor.
For nearly thirty years, Sugai Kona Coffee farm owner Fusao Sugai supported the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. With his passing earlier this summer, Kona lost a Kona coffee pioneer. Fusao’s community involvement was vast and the Festival honors his commitment to the community and Kona coffee.Kona Coffee Cultural Festival 2023 Program
Saturday was the Ho’olaule’a at the Old Airport. It was great fun again this year. Great performances going on the whole time (9am-3pm), and a constant stream of locals and visitors milling about. Like last year, I helped Reiko teach how to make ti-leaf leis. We were only two (vs. three) this year, and we were constantly busy. There are always a few who are really delighted and so appreciative of learning how to do this … they make it all worthwhile. “I’m SO happy!! I’m SO happy!! Thank you SO MUCH!” I met a couple from O’ahu who stumbled upon the festival event along with their mainland friends/visitors. They said they had bought ti leaf leis to greet them, not knowing they’d have this opportunity to make them.
We were so busy teaching, neither Reiko nor I saw the displayed leis entered in the contest, which are these beautiful, ephemeral pieces of art. There’s a silent auction for them, so they had all gone to their new owners by mid-day. The photo for this post was a lei entry from 2022.
At the end, one of Reiko’s Japanese friends came by, who has been dancing hula for many years. She very quickly demonstrated one way to make the kupe’e lei, the greenery worn around the forehead, wrists, ankles, or as a hair ornament. It seemed straightforward until I tried to do it myself. What a disaster. She said she used to perform every Monday, and she’d have to make 20 kupe’e for that performance. And when there were competitions, others in her hālau weren’t as good at making them, so they’d cajole, “Auntiiieeee, can you make my kupe’e?” In other words, she’s had lots of practice over the years. She told me of many locations where she planted ti canes, including her condo complex, stealth at night. She needed a good supply of leaves. She told me that when she first moved to Hawai’i, she was fascinated by kupe’e and wanted to make them. She couldn’t speak English, and she’d just stare at it, and a dancer gave her her kupe’e, and she took it apart and tried to reverse engineer how to make it. Well, I have her example, and she told me, “YouTube!”
UH-CTAHR Extension had a booth right next to ours. Our Master Gardener classes were held at their extension office in Kainaliu. [By the way, if you’re local and reading this, you can apply for the 2024 Master Gardener class.] What was most interesting to me this time was the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles (CRB), and the huge larvae, they had to show. Ewww. The newest scourge to reach this island, just a month ago: “On October 11th, a Waikoloa Village resident found five large CRB grubs, or larvae, in a decaying palm tree stump on the property.” They significantly damage coconut palms, destroying their look, and can kill the tree. It is always something.
The last event was yesterday, the Kona Coffee Recipe Contest with tastings, and the Big Island Showcase and Kona Coffee Expo. More performances, gratitude expressed, and the recipe and the coffee cupping contest winners were announced. Following are just a few visuals. I didn’t take a photo of the big ballroom with all the tables and all the recipe and coffee contest samples. I was too busy getting my samples.