Made in Hawaii Festival moves online Friday
By John Berger Aug. 19, 2020
The 2020 Made in Hawaii Festival opens as planned on Friday but this year it’s virtual. What’s more, in addition to
cooking demonstrations and three afternoons of music, this year’s festival is launching the Made in Hawaii Festival
Marketplace that will make an array of Hawaii-made products available to a worldwide audience year-round.
“I felt compelled to do something, and I think ultimately it was the best choice for us,” Amy Hammond, executive director
of the festival, said in a telephone conversation recently.
“Quite a few” of the festival vendors sell only at the festival, she added. That meant that not putting on a festival in 2020
was not an option.
“I think we’re also fortunate that we’re down the line here a little bit later in time where people are comfortable (with virtual
events). They’ve seen the livestream concerts and things like that so they’re accustomed to what (virtual) is. The nature
of the cooking demonstrations and entertainment makes it fairly easy to make them into a virtual format,” she said.
Virtual shoppers can anticipate seeing the wares of more than 200 Hawaii-resident vendors with about 40 of the vendors
new to the festival. Among them are jewelers, clothing designers, candle makers, basket weavers, hat makers, and
purveyors of products ranging from hot sauce and beef jerky to macadamia nuts and nontoxic nail polish products.
And unlike years past when it all ended on a Sunday, the vendors and their products will be available at the online
“Getting the new site up has been a lot of work, but I feel like in the end we’ll have a very good end product,” Hammond
said. “We’ve tried to make the site very clean and fresh and contemporary (and) as easy as possible for people to utilize
from their phone or their tablet or their computer.”
Hammond said the logistics imposed by COVID-19 made it necessary to film the cooking demonstrations last week.
“We’re having to do things a little bit differently, but they’ll be uploaded to the site at the designated time. The segments
are really nice and I got to sample some things, and they’re phenomenal.”
Entertainment for the weekend will be streamed on the Made in Hawaii Festival’s Facebook page:
“We’re hoping to have a good launch (of the festival marketplace),” Hammond said. “Kicking it off with the addition of the
entertainment and cooking demonstrations will drive more people to the site. People will be curious, and then we will be
adding vendors as we go though the year, and we’ll be doing some more features.”
2020 Made in Hawaii Goes Virtual
By Olivia Peterkin
– Web Editor, Pacific Business News
Aug 11, 2020, 10:24am HST
The 26th annual Made in Hawaii Festival will be held online from Friday, Aug. 21 to Sunday, Aug. 23, as a way for Island producers to showcase and sell their goods online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The festival will be free for attendees and will feature cooking demonstrations by top Hawaii chefs, and live-streamed performances by Na Hoku Award-winning performing artists, including Melveen Leed and Bobby Moderow Jr., among other festival favorites. The three day virtual event will be held in conjunction with the launch of a new Made in Hawaii Festival Marketplace online shopping site.
The Made in Hawaii Festival Marketplace will feature more than 200 vendors from around the state.
“Faced with continuing uncertainties associated with the global coronavirus pandemic, we had three choices: cancel, re-schedule or re-invent the festival,” said Amy Hammond, Made in Hawaii Festival’s executive director, in a statement. “With local businesses facing unprecedented challenges, we made it our priority to support them. Ultimately, after hearing from many of our festival participants who said they might not be around by the next time we have a physical festival, we felt our only choice was to create a forum that supports our ohana of vendors."
The online festival marketplace is expected to be the largest online store to offer exclusively Made in Hawaii products that have met the festival’s strict guidelines.
Produced by the Hawaii Food Industry Association, the inaugural Made in Hawaii Festival was held in 1995 with 61 exhibitor booths in the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. Over the years, the festival has grown, with more than 450 booths showcasing the diversity of locally made products.
"From the early months of the pandemic we have been working closely with our festival partners and exhibitors to transition our live, three-day festival to a dynamic online experience that provides benefits to local producers, manufacturers and makers beyond the traditional festival timeframe," Hammond said. "We're very excited to be partnering with Central Pacific Bank Foundation and Mahi Pono as we stand together with Aloha to make this year’s festival a success.”