More Than Just Pineapple
Wednesday - October 19, 2010
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By Mike Moon
Director of Operations for Dole Plantation
I first started working at Dole Plantation in 1992 as the operations manager. At that time, it was about three acres, and the store was only 10,000 square feet. A maze and a train? Those were just part of our hopes and dreams for Dole Plantation. When I told people I worked there, most people only thought of pineapples.
It was certainly understandable. The plantation has a long history in Hawaii. In decades past, central Oahu was synonymous with pineapple.
But today, Dole Plantation is Hawaii’s premier agritourism destination - and I am extremely proud to be the director of operations after returning in 2007. It’s 14 acres today, and our store is more than 25,000 square feet in size.
We have three attractions that are both educational and fun for the whole family. The Plantation Garden Tour highlights local agriculture past and present. The Pineapple Express Train tells the story of pineapple and agriculture in Hawaii. And the Pineapple Garden Maze is the world’s largest maze, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
I don’t want to be of the last generation of people who remember how important pineapple was to the history of Hawaii.
One way that we at Dole Plantation try to educate our young people is through our annual Family Fun Day event, which is set for this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Family Fun Day is the one time of the year when Central Oahu-area community groups and schools are invited in to Dole Plantation as part of the “pineapple experience.” Schools and area community groups - including Helemano and Haleiwa elementary, as well as Leilehua and Waialua high schools - will help run keiki games, food booths and other activities.
The Oct. 23 event also is the only day of the year when all members of the public - kamaaina, military and visitors - benefit from buyone-get-one-free admissions to the World’s Largest Maze and Plantation Garden Tour, as well as reduced admission to the Pineapple Express Train Tour.
And Dole Plantation’s Family Fun Day even features entertainment from local-area halau and dance troupes.
Authors of books about pineapples also will be at Family Fun Day. Of course, one of those authors is Richard Dole, author of The Story of James Dole, which he wrote to honor his grandfather and the history of pineapple in Hawaii.
Nothing could be more fitting.
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