From its inception 21 years ago as a small, rural party to today's huge extravaganza, Haiku Ho'olaule'a & Flower Festival still benefits Haiku groups.
This year's green event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Haiku Community Center and grounds. As usual, it will draw crowds with local agriculture, a keiki zone, food booths, a music lineup, historical displays and arts and crafts.
"The first event took place in September with no insurance or proper permits, and was very seat-of-the-Haiku-pants style, but so many people came out to help us that it was heartwarmingly successful," says founder Mike Gagne.
Last year’s attendees get into the Haiku groove with headbands and posies
SEAN M. HOWER photo
Savor healthful fare, such as vegan burgers with kraut and kim chee, by Life Foods.
LIFE FOODS photo
Today, the Haiku Ho'olaule'a has grown beyond anyone's expectations. Funds raised go to support art classes, dance, music, field trips, library, special education, technology and much more.
"This year's theme is Malama Ke Aloha, which means 'cherish the love' - and we do," says Jennifer Oberg, event cochair. "We cherish the love and support of our Haiku community for their generosity and kindness to our keiki.
"This event brings together people from all walks of life in Haiku - community members, parents, teens, grandparents, part-time residents, alumni of Haiku School and more."
>>> Haiku Ho'olaule'a & Flower Festival: Free and open to the public, the event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Haiku Community Center and grounds. Highlights include a restaurant row, Growers Market, Keiki Zone, silent auction, live music, book swap and more.
Since this is a green event, bring your own water bottle. Refills cost $1 to $2, depending on size. You are also encouraged to pack your own cutlery and plates in and out; and to bring your own shopping bags as you peruse the 75 craft booths.
There will be a silent auction with more than 400 items to bid on; a huge book swap; and in the Growers Market, there will be plants, flowers and produce.
Some of the vendors include Bee Pono, Maui Coconut Care, Plant Works, Rainbow Acres Cactus, Whispering Wind Bamboo and Exotic Orchids of Maui.
After the opening blessing and the keiki marching parade, there will be adult as well as keiki entertainment. Enjoy Marty Dread, the Haiku Hillbillys, Dr. Nat and Rio Ritmo, Benny Uyetake and Kalama Ukulele Band SeaFire Aerial Performers, Divino and Maui Ohana, Maui Underground and the Worrell Family Band.
"Hungry? From pizza to barbecue ribs to vegan delights, we'll have something for everyone," continues Oberg.
"Each year, we try to offer more and more healthy options, and are thrilled to have great vendors joining us. We welcome the Maui Coffee Association this year, as our coffee sponsor in the famous Haiku School Bake Sale. Come early to get your baked goods and treats -items always sell out early! Our own kau kau chefs will prepare additional delights, including staples like chow fun."
Participants that will donate 100 percent of the day's proceeds include Mana Foods with spicy Thai beef salad over rice, and sesame tofu with kale salad and rice; Flatbread Pizza Company will bake sausage and cheese slices; Life Foods will do vegan burgers with kraut and kim chee and gluten-free burgers on salad; and Maui Children's Book Store & Cafe will do keiki sandwiches on sticks in free-range turkey club options or with organic veggie-and-cheese.
Those giving 50 percent donation of the proceeds include sister restaurants Cafe Des Amis and Cafe Mambo, and Dazoo with its newly renovated Moana Bakery. DeRay's will serve poi mochi, Dibs on Da Ribs will present barbecue fare, and you'll also find Fiji Indian Food, Maui 8 Wonder Tacos, No Ka Oi Kettlecorn, Nutty Day, Pono Pies, Shaka Pops and Three's Bar & Grill all there serving and donating 50 percent of proceeds.
"The Keiki Zone is bigger and better this year," says Oberg. "With new additions of a bubble station by American Windsurfing Tour, and a hairdo booth by Vanity Salon in Makawao. Rachel DeBoer returns this year with her fabulous face-painting crew, as well as the beloved Toni Martin of Ohana Ranch with her adorable miniature ponies."
Crowds are expected to flock to this popular event.
"We thank A&B for allowing us the use of their land across the street from Haiku Community Center, for a second year in a row," says Oberg. "Plenty of parking is available for only $3 a car. The Haiku Community Association will be manning the lot, and all funds will go to benefit Haiku's keiki."