Local treats and treasures are all in one space

Published On: Aug 18 2013 08:07:01 AM HST

Local treats and treasures are all in one space. The 19th annual Made in Hawaii Festival at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall begins.

There's food, music, and jewelry and much more, all made in Hawaii. For many local artists, profits from venues like the festival are one of the main ways they can continue their trade. At least 35,000 people are expected to attend the festival generating $3 million to $5 million.

"They can test products at a low cost to participate, so I think it helps streamline their businesses," said Amy Hammond, director of the Made in Hawaii Festival.

Making hat bands, a longtime Hawaiian tradition, is a skill practiced for decades and passed down through generations. One hat-band artist is just one of almost 500 booths showcasing local products.

"My mother was my teacher, my daughter now teaches, my granddaughter works with me and my business, so we keep it going and to have the students be able to produce and do the work you see here today it speaks for itself," said Auntie Paulette with Na lima mili hulu no'eau.

The aroma that fills the center includes smell of spices steaming out of curry fried rice with cranberries. Chef Kai Cowell who has a small spice business says she relies on festivals to make the majority of her profits.

"It's one place that has so many people that come at one time. I've been doing this for seven years and it's really helped increase my business," said chef Kai Cowell of Kaiulani spices.

"Making things is part of what our kapuna did so we need to keep that tradition going so it's really important to have the venue to do that," said Lenei Sousa with La'anei Jewelry.

The festival will be going all weekend. Doors open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

For the first time, festival organizers are providing a trolley to transport customers back and forth from Waikiki to the Blaisdell.


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