Hawaii’s oldest food festival will be celebrating 50 years with both virtual and in-person events starting today.
The 50th annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is brewing an innovative new format this year honoring the many traditions of the festival while also prioritizing the health and safety of attendees.
“Over the last 50 years, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival has had to overcome many obstacles to survive. None of these obstacles compare to holding a festival during a pandemic. Our board and committees have been innovative in designing a cadre of events where participants can safely attend in person and others that we are filming and will broadcast online. It’s time to toast the roast, and we look forward to seeing you in person or virtually during the festival,” said Kona Coffee Cultural Festival president Valery Corcoran.
Starting today, Kona coffee farms tours take center stage.
Tours will be available at UCC Hawaii Estate Farm, Greenwell Farms and Kona Historical Society’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm to learn more about how coffee is grown in Kona.
King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is the venue to visit for a slew of daily events, cultural activities and local artist demonstrations. The Quilt Show, Kona Coffee 101 Seminar and Kona Coffee booths with tasting opportunities will also be held at the hotel.
A Festival highlight is the “Kona People” Art Exhibition at Donkey Mill Art Center. This curated exhibition pairs artists with Kona farmers to create works that convey the spirit of “Kona People.”
A world of talent is on stage during the Sugai Kona Coffee Talent Night featuring multi-cultural musical offerings and stunning dance performances.
On Friday, Kona Coffee Latte Art Throwdown at Kona Coffee & Tea Company showcases local baristas working their magic with 100% Kona Coffee.
The 100% Pure Kona Coffee Half Marathon kicks off at 6 a.m. Saturday, with a run down Alii Drive from Coconut Grove to the “End of the World” in Keauhou and back.
The popular Holualoa Village Coffee and Art Stroll returns this year. Spend the morning strolling through the art galleries, tasting the fresh brewed flavors from 20 Kona coffee farms and shopping with local vendors.
The Kona Coffee Cultultural Festival Ho‘olaule‘a will feature quilt displays, a lei contest, Kona Historical Society Exhibition, memorial lantern display and festival merchandise.
A $5 festival admission button is required for events and also gives special rates for ticketed events. Buttons are available for purchase online, at many retail and farm locations throughout the Kona area.
Virtual events will also be held starting today with the opening blessing ceremony featuring program highlights and welcome messages from Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth, Festival President Valerie Corcoran and other dignitaries. Hula dancers from Halau Kala‘akeakauikawiki will perform with Kona’s own Lacey Deniz and Eddie O serving as virtual hosts.
Other notable events on the virtual schedule include the much anticipated UCC Hawaii Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship competition. An official preliminary competition for the Miss Hawaii and Miss America Organization, candidates compete in private interview, on-stage question and social impact pitch, red carpet and talent.
Those tuning in to the festival from electronic devices can view the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition Awards Ceremony, Kona Coffee Cupping Seminar, Greenwell Farms Seed to Cup Farm Tour, UCC Hawaii Estate Farm Tour, Kona Historical Society’s Kona Living History Farm Tour, Cultural Activities and Artist Demonstrations, Kona Coffee Latte Art Throwdown, Lantern Parade and Bon Dance, KTA Super Stores Cooking Demonstrations, UCC Hawaii Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pageant and the Little Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Program.
For a complete list of in-person and virtual event listings, pick up a festival magazine, which was published in the Oct. 26 edition of West Hawaii Today, or visit konacoffeefest.com.
Virtual ticket prices vary per event. Tickets can be purchased at www.konacoffeefest.com.