Let’s Talk Food: Happenings around town

Mark your calendars for these events happening around the island:

Love of the Arts

The 14th Annual Love The Arts celebration by the Volcano Art Center is slated for 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village.

This year’s theme, “Save the Arts,” is inspired by the threat of possible future arts funding cuts. VAC recognizes the need for a thriving and vibrant community that includes arts and cultural education programs that serve the people who are creative — from the area as well as the surrounding areas.

Live and silent auction items include a hand-pulled block print by Dietrich Varez, a stained glass panel by Claudia McCall and a progressive dinner hosted by three families.

The goal this year is to raise funds to build the Fire Arts facility and program to further enhance and expand upon current offerings.

Tickets are $55 for VAC members, $65 for nonmembers and can be obtained by visiting www.volcanoartcenter.arg/lta. Tickets also can be purchased at the Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Art Center administrative offices in Volcano Village and at Basically Books and Banyan Gallery in Hilo.

Kona Brewers Festival

The 23rd annual community celebration and fundraiser, presented by the Ke Kai Ala Foundation, for the environment, culture and youth, is scheduled for 3-7 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at the Courtyard by Marriot King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. General admission tickets are $85 and include a commemorative glass mug, 10 4-ounce brew tasting coupons, unlimited samplings of gourmet cuisine and afternoon entertainment. The upgraded Honu’s Tap Room and Lounge tickets at $185, which include general admission amenities plus admission to the taproom and lounge for the five-hour festival. There will be special beer and food pairings, entertainment and air-conditioned seating.

Tickets went on sale Dec. 16 at the festival website: www.konabrewersfestival.com.

Merrie Monarch Festival

This year, the Merrie Monarch Festival and all of its events are slated for April 1-7. You can be sure there will be no shortage of great Hawaiian food during this special week, celebrating hula.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival

The Ka‘u Coffee Festival is scheduled for April 21-May 6, with the seventh annual Ho‘olaule‘a at the Pahala Community Center. Coffee tasting, music, dance, arts, crafts and food are on the agenda. Check out the website at www.kaucoffeefest.com.

Big Island Chocolate Festival

The seventh annual Big Island Chocolate Festival gala event is set for 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. There will be more than 30 food stations, a variety of beer and wine, an all-you-can-eat chicken mole bar, as well as a silent auction. This year’s theme is “Chocolates Around the World.”

Hapuna Prince Beach Hotel is offering room rates that include festival tickets.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association.

Hilo Huli

The 12th annual Rotary Club of South Hilo’s Hilo Huli is slated for 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at Mokuola (Coconut) Island. With more than 25 food and beverage vendors, it again promises to be a great event, according to Chairman Pat Aiona Jr. The first vendor signed up for this year’s event is Chef Gray of Poke Market.

Hilo Brewfest 2018

The Rotary Club of Hilo’s Hilo Brewfest 2018 is scheduled for June 23. Last year’s event included a home brewers competition, which was sanctioned by AHA/BJCP. Categories included winners in the beer, mead and cider categories. Chairman this year is Steve Handy.

Hawaii Community College’s Bamboo Hale

This week, the featured foods include the cuisine of New Orleans as well as the Americas standard menu.

Next week, from Feb. 13-16, the Asian standard menu as well as the foods of India will be featured. Reservations are recommended. Call 934-2591 for seating times. Hours are 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Cafeteria also is open for business. Short order menu items can be ordered from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and hours are from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Call 934-2559 to inquire about the desserts of the day, availability of poke bowls and chirashi bowls.

The Cafeteria specials — Korean fried chicken or eggplant Parmesan — include a choice of rice, pasta or potatoes, hot vegetable du jour or tossed greens with house dressing and soup of the day.

Hilo Bay Cafe

It is nice to see chef Josh Ketner back at Hilo Bay Cafe. You might remember him from when HBC was located at its first location at Waiakea Center. He is working on tweeking the menu for the new year.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.