Made In Hawaii With Pride

By Ray Ono
Wednesday - June 21, 2006
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(from left) Dick Botti, Amy Hammond and Ray Ono show off items that will be on sale at the Made In Hawaii Festival in August
(from left) Dick Botti, Amy Hammond and Ray Ono
show off items that will be on sale at the Made In
Hawaii Festival in August

There’s nothing like the excitement you feel when you walk into the Made in Hawaii Festival. You can’t help but be happy for the many talented artists, chefs and craftspeople throughout our state, not to mention the grateful customers.

From its inception, the Made in Hawaii Festival has seen tremendous growth. The first Made in Hawaii Festival in 1995 showcased 61 exhibitor booths. Last year, the festival featured more than 420 booths and nearly 33,000 people attended. This year, on Aug.18-20, we expect an even larger turnout of exhibitors and visitors to the Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall and Arena.

In 1995, then state Rep. David Morihara envisioned an event that would provide a venue to showcase all the products of Hawaii. From that vision came the Made in Hawaii Festival. The festival is produced by the Hawaii Food Industry Association and receives assistance from the state Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Academy of Recording Artists. First Hawaiian Bank is proud to have been the title sponsor of this special show since the start.

The festival was created to help local businesses sell their goods and, in some cases, secure contracts with local retailers. The goal is to encourage businesses of all sizes that manufacture or produce Hawaii-made products. This year we are focusing on bringing in first-time exhibitors of Hawaii-produced products including food, books, gifts, fashions, plants, art, crafts, and more.

The products showcase a wide range of offerings - from high quality koa furniture, jewelry, hula implements, hats, gourmet fruit curds, produce, and plants to organic fertilizer. What makes this festival so great is that there is representation from most of the islands. Approximately 25 percent of the exhibitors are from the Neighbor Islands, bringing sausage from Maui, wine from the Big Island, cookies from Kauai, baked goods from Molokai, and much, much more.

For a product to be labeled Made in Hawaii, according to state law, “at least 51 percent of its wholesale value must be added by manufacture, assemble, fabrication or production within the State.” We make every effort to ensure our show abides by this. Exhibitors sign affidavits stating that they understand the law on Made in Hawaii labeling. Everything they sell at the show follows both the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ and the Department of Agriculture’s guidelines for the past two years, to ensure that exhibitors comply.

Economic development is a vital concern of every community and county in Hawaii. An important component of economic development is the growth of small businesses. In statistical terms, small firms represent about 99 percent of employers, employ approximately half of private sector workers and generate between 65 and 75 percent of the net new jobs in our state.

The Made In Hawaii Festival inspires and encourages entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams. By testing the popularity of their new or first-time local products at the Made in Hawaii Festival, many then create their own employment.

This year, the festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 18-19 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20.

There are still a few more exhibitor booths available.

For more information visit

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