9,200 Attend Maui’s Largest Products Show
An estimated 9,200 residents and visitors attended the 6th Annual Hawaiian Airlines Made in Maui County Festival, held this past Saturday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, Maui, according to event presenter, the Maui Chamber of Commerce.
The two-day event featured over 140 vendors from Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi offering hundreds of locally made products. The Festival also attracted over 600 registered wholesale buyers/distributors from throughout the state, on the US Mainland, and international markets.
“Often times it can be challenging for our local entrepreneurs to get the word out about their products, especially to markets off-island,” said Pamela Tumpap, President of the Maui Chamber of Commerce. “What this festival does is provide a world ‘stage’ for local vendors enabling exposure to thousands of shoppers, wholesale buyers and distributors, and national and international industry professionals. Markets from Maui to across the globe are being exposed to the tremendous talent, creativity, and diversity of products created by Maui County’s niche manufacturers.”
According to Maui County Mayor, Michael Victorino, “Providing the opportunity for markets beyond the limits of our shores to see our local entrepreneurs and their products is critical. Not only does supporting our small businesses help boost our islands’ economy, but it also builds self-confidence in these vendors – entrepreneurs who stick their neck out and work so very hard to make their businesses successful. And, when they are succeed, Maui County succeeds.”
Rhis year’s event highlights included the following:
Hawaiian Airlines signed on as the Title Sponsor of the Festival for two years (2019 and 2020). “Hawaiian Airlines is proud to support this major Festival,” said Jennifer Lee, Hawaiian Airlines’ Manager, Marketing Promotions for Hawaiian Airlines. “Our goal in working together is to support innovative minds from our island home and to share the incredible diversity and creativity of these local products with the world.”
The winners of this year’s Made in Maui County Festival Best New Food Product Contest sponsored by Minit Stop were: Haleakala Supah Shots (1st place) for their Lilikoi Elixir, Maui Pie Pops (2nd place), and Hula Cookies & Ice Cream for their Ma‘alaea Monkey. The contest, which was open to participating vendors who have a packaged food or beverage product; recognized distinguished achievement in the introduction, development, and marketing of new products. This year’s winner, Tina Kekoolani of Haleakala Supah Shots will have the opportunity to feature her Lilikoi Elixir in 19 Minit Stop stores on Maui and the Big Island.
The event also recognized this year’s Mayor’s Booth Contest winners. HI Spice took top honors as “Best in Show.” Winners in the Tent Division were Da Bee Hive Maui (1st Place), Sherri Reeve Designs (2nd Place), Maui Sugar Mamas (3rd Place). In the Table Division, winners were So Real (1st Place), Sparrow Seas (2nd Place), and Kanilehua Enterprises (3rd Place).
Pasha Hawaiʻi held two drawings with the winners receiving a Certificate of Passage for a personal vehicle to/from Maui and San Diego. Winners were: Dale Rudischhauser from Kihei and Ben Mills of Kihei.
Vendors who participated in this year’ Festival shared about the opportunities presented by the Festival.
“This event really showcases the innovation and vibrancy of our Maui Nui entrepreneurial community and the shoppers who come to this event really know what they want,” said first-time festival vendor, Tina Keko‘olani of Haleakala Supah Shots. “A lot of people have heard about my products, but they don’t know where to get it, so this is a great event to educate them more about my products.”
Multiple Grammy Award winner and Maui renaissance man, George Kahumoku Jr. was thrilled with the impact of the festival. “This was the first time I participated as a vendor in this event. I made over 1,000 contacts on the first day for my farm’s products. We sold our guava jam, sold out all our t-shirts, our coffee, and made connections for other products that I sell on the farm, as well as my books. I’m definitely going to participate in this festival from now on.”
“This festival offers a great platform for all local products to reach a much wider audience than you can do with other shows or independently,” said Heidi Cramer of Maui Cookie Lab.
According to Justin Orr of HI Spice, “We love the community interaction at this festival! The internet does amazing things, but with a product that you have to eat, smell and taste; seeing it in person is critical in retaining your fan base and getting new ones. Food has to taste good. You can’t read how good something tastes.”
“During last year’s Festival, I was invited to participate in the Hankyu Hawaiʻi Fair in Osaka, Japan,” said Debbie Jokovich of Sassy Saks. “I learned a lot about exporting and doing business in international markets which has really helped to grow my company.”
Dorothy Keene from Marlboro, Massachusetts, winner of the Made in Maui County Festival’s 2018 Instagram contest, also shared, “This was the first time I’ve attended this event and it was wonderful to see the diversity, creativity, talent and friendliness of all the people on Maui. My husband and I had a ball.”
According to Tumpap, “Those who were unable to attend the festival can find this year’s vendors at www.MadeinMauiCountyFestival.com, on Facebook (Hawaiian Airlines Made in Maui County Festival), and Instagram (@MadeInMauiCountyFestival). They can also find our vendors year-round on the Made in Maui County Marketplace at www.MadeinMauiCounty.com. As our worldwide exposure grows, we encourage people to continue to buy quality products made in Maui County by local hands and hearts who take great pride in sharing the Spirit of Aloha with the world.”
The Festival was presented by the Maui Chamber of Commerce and supported by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development. Hawaiian Airlines was the event’s title sponsor.
The Festival’s 2019 sponsors were: Hawaiian Airlines; Pasha Hawaiʻi; Minit Stop; HawaiʻiUSA Federal Credit Union; Maui Visitors Bureau; HAWAI‘I Magazine; KAOI Radio Group; Maui No Ka Oi Magazine; Pacific Media Group; MauiOnLine, The Maui Visitor Channel; The Maui News; American Savings Bank; HHawaii Media; Maui Printing Company; Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center; Waste Pro Hawaiʻi LLC; Bank of Hawaiʻi; Central Pacific Bank; First Hawaiian Bank; Maui Electric Company; Maui Hotel & Lodging Association; Maui Research and Technology Center; State of Hawaiʻi Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism; and Na Koa Brand.
The 2020 Hawaiian Airlines Made in Maui County Festival will be held on November 6 and 7.