Big crowds, big hopes of a rebound at the return of Made in Hawaii Festival

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many of the local vendors at the Made in Hawaii Festival said day one of the event looked promising and is off to a great start. Many of the vendors are small local businesses who had a rough 2020 and are just glad to be back in action.

In 2020, the event was forced to go virtual due to the COVID pandemic.

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“It’s nice to just have the product out in the open and not just for online viewing,” said Jill Chung of HiLife.

Aloha Revolution said getting back to events, like Made in Hawaii, has been a long time coming.

“We were rusty trying to get ready and trying to pack everything,” explained Edward Sugimoto, owner of Aloha Revolution. “We didn’t know what to pack, but I think we got everything here without a hitch so far.”

After surviving through the coronavirus pandemic, longtime local companies — like HiLife — are in recovery mode, hoping this weekend will be a boost for business.

“It’s tremendous; we just looked at our sales and it’s amazing. We see people in droves coming and the parking lot is crazy, but you know we’re welcoming back people, and we’re just happy to be here,” Chung added.

Ari South relies on these events as a big part of its revenue.

“We don’t have a storefront still so the Made in Hawaii events, the pop-ups throughout the year are really what allows us to see our customers and interact with them in a way that we can’t do online,” said Ari South, owner of Ari South.

From near and far, hundreds of shoppers were eager to support local. Long lines even brought new friendships for some. Shoppers said they are even enjoying the new location at Ala Moana Center.

“I mean, it’s so nice and open compared to the Blaisdell, and we’re not super close and tight, but it’s a little hot but it’s OK,” said Tracy Henrickson, a customer at Made in Hawaii.

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The Made in Hawaii Festival will continue through Sunday, Nov. 14, and local vendors are ready for a successful weekend.

“As local companies, it’s really hard to get the mainland reach, as well. So, to just see people supporting local and to see people ban together for an event like this is just quite amazing,” Chung said.

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