Kai Cowell, owner of Kaiulani Spices, cooks up samples for festival-goers
Kai Cowell, owner of Kaiulani Spices, cooks up samples for festival-goers
Kai Cowell, owner of Kaiulani Spices, cooks up samples for festival-goers

HONOLULU – There is no excuse for visitors to this year’s Made in Hawaii Festival to go home hungry. With Island chefs putting on cooking demonstrations throughout the three-day festival, and nearly 120 of the 400-plus exhibitors sampling and selling their locally made food products, beverages and fresh produce, the challenge will be deciding how best to navigate all of the culinary choices.

Presented by First Hawaiian Bank since its inception 20 years ago, this annual showcase of food, health and beauty products; apparel and accessories; gifts, books, artwork, crafts and other Island-made goods takes place at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena and Exhibition Hall on Friday and Saturday, August 15 and 16, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Sunday, August 17, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event also will feature a line-up of award-winning Hawaii musicians on the entertainment stage in the Pikake Room.

Festival-goers can look forward to stocking up on their favorite Island treats from across the Hawaiian Islands, from Kona Gold Rum cakes and Big Island coffees to Molokai bread from Kanemitsu Bakery, Adoboloco’s hot sauces from Maui, gourmet peanut butters from North Shore Goodies, and Aunty Lilikoi’s new, award-winning  Passion Fruit Mango Chutney from Kauai.  And they can look forward to discovering products that are new to the Made in Hawaii Festival this year, such as Maui Fruit Jewels fancy fruit confections, premium dried fruit and vegetable snacks from Kahala Fresh, German-style bratwurst from Paradise Brats, Taro Brand’s Taro Pancake Mix, and Maffles (mochi waffles).

Also new this year is the New Product Showcase, organized by Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) in the Blaisdell Center’s Pikake Room.  This special ‘festival within the festival’ includes five food-product manufacturers that are part of INNOVATE Hawaii, a program of DBEDT’s High Technology Development Corporation that helps local manufacturing companies create, build, and grow their business. They include:

Herbologie Studio, Oahu (bulk herbs, teas, spices featuring Hawaii grown botanical ingredients) www.herbologiestudio.com

Life Foods, Maui (superfoods veggie burgers, healthy versions of ketchup, mustard and mayo, dressings and sauces) www.lifefoodsinc.com

Manoa Chocolate Hawaii, Oahu (A bean-to-bar, artisan chocolate company)  www.manoachocolate.com

Mauna Kea Tea, Hawaii Island (Hawaii grown tea including premium green and oolong, island green, sweet roast green and coconut green tea) www.maunakeatea.com

Papalua Island, Kauai (tropical flavored biscotti, tropical granola, Ko Bakery Crisps) www.papaluaisland.com

Also participating in DBEDT’s New Product Showcase are artisans and practitioners from the Hawaii Culture and Retail Association (HCRA) and fashion designers from the Hawaii Fashion Incubator (HIFI).

Watch award-winning chefs cook onstage
When it’s time to take a break from exploring the festival’s product-laden booths, the popular cooking demonstrations by some of Hawaii’s top chefs offer a welcome respite – and tasty samples of the prepared dishes.  The demonstrations take place throughout each day in the Blaisdell Arena.  (Schedule attached)

Admission to the Made in Hawaii Festival is $5.00 per person, with children age six and under free.  Discount coupons are available at all Oahu First Hawaiian Bank branches beginning in mid-August, while supplies last.  A Hilo Hattie shuttle will provide free transportation between Waikiki and the Blaisdell Center via Hilo Hattie on Nimitz. Find more festival information at www.MadeInHawaiiFestival.com and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter searching MadeInHI.

Produced by the Hawaii Food Industry Association and sponsored by First Hawaiian Bank each year, the not-for-profit festival has become the state’s premier “Buy Hawaii, For Hawaii” event.

First Hawaiian Bank (FHB.com) is Hawaii’s oldest and largest bank offering financial solutions for businesses and individuals for over 155 years.  The bank operates 57 branches in Hawaii, three on Guam and two in CNMI.

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards. Hawaii Reporter has a weekly television news show, News Behind the News, which airs on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.