This weekend, over 10,000 residents and visitors converged on the Maui Arts & Cultural Center for the 2nd Annual Made in Maui County Festival setting a new attendance record. Taking center stage were the over 140 vendors who showcased the Islands’ depth and breadth of products during this two-day event held on November 6 & 7.
“The creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Maui County was on display for all to see at this event,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa who also got into the spirit of the event by modeling a silk shirt by designer Sarai Stricklin. “The diversity of products attests to the wide-ranging abilities and talents of the vendors.”
“Small business is the core of the economic engine that drives our local economy,” said Arakawa. “We are truly fortunate to have such dedicated and hardworking business owners involved in this showcase of Made in Maui County products that attracts visitors and local people alike. Helping our local businesses succeed long-term will ultimately benefit our community and economy.”
Among the early shoppers, were residents like Hachi from Kula. “This is the second year I’ve attended this event and I found so many wonderful things. There were many different products at this year’s Festival, a lot of which I’ve never seen before. That’s what made this Festival so exciting to see all these made on Maui products and to celebrate the abundance of talent here at home.”
“There were some very unique items here that you don’t see at crafts shows and other places on the island,” said Maui resident Denah Burnham. “I was very excited to do some early Christmas shopping.”
I love Maui County’s products” said first-time Festival goer and part-time Maui resident Liana Ramos. “I’ve bought so much art and jewelry. I love all the colors. It’s just my vibe.”
Shalea Ellis, buyer for Down to Earth in Kahului found some great items that she wants to carry in her Kahului store that had clean ingredients.
Vendors were also appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of the event.
“We traveled from Molokai so it was a really big deal to participate in the Made in Maui County Festival, but this event is definitely worth coming for,” said Jamie Ronzello, owner of Barking Deer Farm. “It’s great to see so many people supporting Maui County businesses and the connections we’ve made with new wholesalers and retail customers from the mainland and Hawaii will go a long way in helping our business succeed.”
“As a first-time vendor we didn’t know quite what to expect, but we were really impressed with the support that we got by the Festival folks helping us get prepared for this major products show,” said Tami Cadwell, owner of Hula Cookies. “We absolutely love this event and are excited with the amount of contacts we’ve made with big retailers.”
“This is our first big products show and I think it’s so awesome to see all this support for made in Maui County products,” said Sui Joao, owner of SuiKeala Jewelry from Molokai. “This event provided a great way to spread awareness of what we’re doing. Yesterday, we had a bunch of wholesalers interested in our products and this event has helped us 100% in helping to grow our business.”
“This is our first Festival-ever and the response to our beef jerky chips has been incredible,” said Blaine Apo, owner of Maui Crisps who sold out of their product by 1 pm on Saturday. “We made a lot of wholesale buyer contacts and were able to get valuable feedback from consumers which will help us to expand our product line.”
The Festival was co-presented by the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Maui Chamber of Commerce. Sponsors include: Hawaiian Airlines, Innovate Hawaii; Pasha Hawaii; Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company; HAWAI`I Magazine; Hawaii State Department of Transportation, Kahului Airport; The Maui News; Maui No Ka Oi Magazine; The Maui Visitor Channel; Pacific Media Group; Courtyard Marriott, Maui Kahului Airport; Island Honda; Kaiser Permanente; American Savings Bank; HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union; HHawaii Media; KAOI Radio Group; Maui Electric Company; State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism; First Hawaiian Bank; First Insurance Company of Hawaii; Goodfellow Bros.; Maui Printing Company; Matson; Roberts Hawaii; and Richard Kehoe, CPA.