Law OKs vendors at Honolulu festivals

HONOLULU (AP) – Vendors again will be allowed to sell their wares at nonprofit festivals held in Honolulu parks under a reinterpretation of an ordinance enacted last summer.

Honolulu city attorneys took a look at the law and have given festival organizers the OK to hold the events, even if they involve commercial vendors.

Vendors at the nonprofit festivals can sell items ranging from food to electronics, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

“These festivals are part of the fabric of our community and must be allowed to continue,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Tuesday at a news conference.

The reinterpretation of the ordinance means the Haleiwa Arts Festival and Wahiawa’s Pineapple Festival can continue as in previous years, the newspaper reported. Festival organizers had been turned away when they went to the Department of Parks and Recreation for permits to hold both events this year.

The prohibition remains in place for Kailua and Kalama beach parks.

The ordinance was meant to bar a growing influx of kayak tours and other commercial activity at Kailua and Kalama beach parks. It ran into trouble when the parks department determined the language barred commercial activity at all parks.

Festival organizers expressed their thanks to the mayor.

“We understand the issues that arise from an overabundance of commercial activities in our parks; we also know that there are several wonderful annual events that strengthen our small communities,” said Moana Bjur, executive director of the Haleiwa Arts Festival. “When we lose the events, our communities begin to break down.”