During the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, clients can visit three working coffee farms in Kona and participate in coffee tastings. // © 2011 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
Each fall, Hawaii’s Big Island buzzes during the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, celebrating its 41st anniversary from Nov. 4-13. Hawaii’s oldest food festival includes 10 days of activities that honor Kona’s economically successful coffee industry and the people who keep it alive.
A blend of history, culture and current coffee trends, the festival offers something for everyone, starting with an opening concert by noted Hawaiian entertainers. The Little Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship pageant showcases talented youngsters from ages 7 to17, while the International Lantern Parade lights the evening sky with a stroll through Kailua. Following the parade is a lively party with entertainment, international foods and a participatory Japanese Bon dance.
During the festival, clients can go on an art stroll pairing galleries with coffee tastings, visit three working coffee farms in north and south Kona and take part in a living history tour exploring the early coffee farm years from 1925 to 1945. Hardcore aficionados may prefer watching the Kona coffee cupping competition, during which area producers compete for the coveted first prize. Other visitor-oriented lures include the Kona coffee recipe contest, a coffee-picking contest, talent night featuring karaoke by residents and visitors alike, a silent and live auction and other food, music, dance and arts and crafts events from Kona’s diverse ethnic heritage.
With just a few exceptions, activities are free when clients wear a festival button, available for $3. Clients can purchase buttons at all events and most retail stores in Kailua.