After rolling layoffs for the last few years during hotel renovations, Lāna‘i residents are enjoying 3.4% unemployment, three points lower than this time last year. This weekend will be a particularly exciting on Lāna‘i, priming for the July fourth holiday with the Pineapple Festival on Saturday. HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.
The 25th Annual Lāna‘i Pineapple Festival happens Saturday July first, 2 to 9:30pm in Dole Park on Lāna‘i. Exhibits, ono food, prizes, crafts, and games are planned along with entertainment from popular local singer, Anuhea. Food TV contest winner, Adam Tabura, will run the 4th annual Pineapple Chop Contest, too. A fireworks display caps the day at 9pm. For those interested in a day trip, Expeditions on Maui will be running a late ferry back to Lahaina, call 808-661-3756 for reservations. That ferry will run late Friday,too because Lāna‘i’s Fifth Friday town party is set for this Friday, June 30th, with music, food, and entertainment. What a weekend!
Kay Okamoto is president of the Lāna‘i Community Association, which sponsors the annual Lāna‘i Pineapple Festival.
Okamoto: The pineapple is celebrating the idea that we were the pineapple island even though we aren’t any more. We serve pineapple throughout the day. We also have a cooking contest that is run by a former Lāna‘i boy, who won one of the road shows on TV, the food truck competition, Adam Tabura, so we do a cooking competition.
Okamoto says Lāna‘i chefs are given specific ingredients and a set time to cook them a la Chopped while the crowd watches them go at it. Health, safety, and cultural booths pop up in Dole Park, Lāna‘i City’s handsome central green. Locals sign up for booths sporting homemade handicrafts and treats. Okamoto says there are always seven or eight spots to get a full plate dinner.
Okamoto: There are lots and lots of former Lāna‘i residents who return home for the festival. Usually there are three to four class reunions going on at the same time and they center it around this time since many people are coming. Families will have family reunions at that time and it becomes more like an old home week.
Okamoto says, in part, the Lāna‘iPineapple Festival aims to encourage the economy, so neighbor island visitors are encouraged to come for the weekend, or just a day on the pineapple isle.