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New festival will focus on growing local businesses

By Staff | Oct 30, 2014

Jeff Ferguson of MauiGrown Coffee will join Maui Coffee Roasters and Maui Oma Coffee in presenting a “How to make the best cup of coffee” demonstration. In addition to offering fabulous shopping, the Made in Maui County Festival will also include cooking and crafts demonstrations, a book reading and a fashion show — all featuring participating vendors’ products.

KAHULUI – On Saturday, Nov. 8, Maui will welcome a new event: the Made in Maui County Festival. At the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, over 130 vendors will offer a wide variety of made in Maui County products, including foods, produce, art, crafts, jewelry, fashion, gifts, collectibles and more, plus demonstrations and food trucks – all in one location.

Patterned after the successful Made in Hawaii Festival on Oahu that annually attracts more than 35,000 attendees, Maui County’s own version hopes to capitalize on the successful formula used on Oahu. Maui County’s event organizers are conservatively estimating 8,000 visitors and residents will attend the debut festival.

“Not all Maui County businesses can afford to go to Oahu for the Made in Hawaii Festival,” said Teena Rasmussen, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. “Costs for transportation, accommodations and staffing can quickly add up. That’s why this new event was created – to make it more affordable and convenient for our local businesses to showcase their products right here at home.”

If the event’s beginnings are any indication, the Made in Maui County Festival is well underway to becoming an annual tradition. Originally, the event organizers hoped for a total of 102 vendors. The number of local businesses participating now numbers over 130 (12 of them coming from Molokai). A waiting list of local businesses hoping to participate in this year’s event continues to grow, and a list has already started for 2015.

The festival is now touted as the largest products show on Maui.

“This festival was created to help grow our islands’ businesses,” said County of Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

“There’s such incredible talent here at home, and we’re hoping to open doors for these hard-working entrepreneurs by providing opportunities for them to meet with prospective retailers and wholesalers and connect with new customers. Our small businesses are the backbone of our islands’ economy, and their success will ultimately benefit our community at-large.”

Event hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Public admission is $3 (children 12 and under will be admitted free). The first 2,000 attendees will receive a free logo shopping bag. Parking is free.

The festival is presented by the County of Maui, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Maui Chamber of Commerce.

Event sponsors include Innovate Hawaii, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company, HAWAII Magazine, The Maui News, Maui No Ka Oi Magazine, Pacific Media Group, Paradise Television, Courtyard Marriott Maui Kahului Airport, KAOI Radio Group, HHawaii Media, Bank of Hawaii, D.R. Horton-Schuler Division, Goodfellow Bros., Hawaii Gas, Maui Electric Company, Matson, Maui Printing Company and Zippy’s.

For more information, visit www.MadeInMauiCountyFestival.com, e-mail info@MadeInMauiCountyFestival.com or call 244-0081.