What's happening in Honoka‘a

Aloooooooha from all of us at the Honoka‘a Business Association (HBA)!

Historically in Hawaiian culture, rain is considered a blessing from nā akua. That said, Hāmākua was truly blessed…and blessed…and blessed some more…in the month of March, weren’t we? Whew! Hopefully the very wet end to winter brings all of you blessings, and all of our farmers, ranchers, and local businesses great abundance in the months ahead!

The wet start to March certainly didn’t dampen spirits at last month’s First Friday Honoka‘a! Nearly all of our Māmane Street businesses braved the weather and stayed open. If anything, the rain encouraged most revelers inside, so it was a great evening for our local businesses to promote themselves, greet new customers, and make new friends. We hope everyone will turn out for this month’s First Friday on April 3 starting at 5 p.m. and support our local businesses!

Do you know about Funday Sundays in Laupāhoehoe? HBA member Laupāhoehoe Train Museum (36-2377 Māmalahoa Highway) hosts this event the third Sunday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s a great pick-me-up for those who don’t like having to wait a whole month between First Fridays! For event and vendor information, call 808-962-6300.

Last month we welcomed two new members to the HBA ‘ohana: International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 142 (ilwulocal142.org) and Gelato Ono. You can try Gelato Ono’s locally made deliciousness at most First Fridays and at Honoka‘a’s newest restaurant, Sea DandeLion Vegetarian Cafe and Awa Bar (45-3590 Māmane Street). Also new in town is The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Supply Company (45-3587 Māmane Street), a thrift and vintage store operated by Mama’s House featuring groovy collectibles, furnishings, clothing, and “endangered books and whimsy.” Please welcome our new HBA members and Honoka‘a’s newest businesses!

Over the past couple of years the Honoka‘a community has been incredibly thankful to see so many vacant storefronts occupied with new and creative businesses. We’re excited and hopeful that the Ujiki Building, one of the last remaining prime spaces on Māmane Street, will soon become home to E Ola Mau I Ka Pono: The Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hāmākua. Under the dynamic and passionate leadership of Lanakila Mangauil, the new center will offer classes to the community in hula, Hawaiian language, agriculture, history, and philosophy, and will host special events, speakers, and cultural exchange programs. The project has a very impressive business plan and a Kickstarter campaign in progress, and will be celebrating the home stretch of its fundraising campaign with hula, music, and demonstrations at the Honoka‘a People’s Theatre during April’s First Friday. Thanks to HBA member Laupāhoehoe Train Museum, all donations to the start-up effort are tax-deductible. Please give anything you can at http://kck.st/1GJhC6S to make this vital community asset a reality.

HBA members have a host of exciting events happening in April:

• If you have keiki in your ‘ohana, the Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is participating in the “National Youth Savings Challenge” throughout the month of April to promote savings and financial literacy for members 18 years old and younger. Visit the Honoka‘a branch at 45-690 Pakalana Street or online at hicommfcu.com.

• The North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center (NHERC, 45-539 Plumeria Street in Honoka‘a) invites the public to stop by its Heritage Center Gallery during the month of April to check out “Na Paniolo o Hamakua,” an exhibit featuring photographs and artifacts celebrating the cowboys and ranches of Hāmākua. The NHERC Heritage Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


• The Honoka‘a Hongwanji (45-5016 Lehua Street) will showcase Merrie Monarch and Easter fashions on Saturday, April 4. Come see new collections by Nake‘u Awai and enjoy music and hula by Halau Manu Le‘a Hawai‘i and art by Linda Rowell Stevens. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the show begins at noon. Tickets are $20. Call Alva at 808-333-6399 for more information.

• Who wants pancakes?! The Hamakua Lions Club is hosting its annual Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, April 19 from 6 to 10 a.m. at the Honoka‘a school cafeteria. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds benefit the Club’s community events. Want some papaya with those pancakes? The Boy Scouts will be there selling fresh papayas! For more information call 808-775-9763.

• Come celebrate spring with your Honoka‘a Business Association at our next quarterly general membership meeting! Our Annual Spring Fling will be held on Tuesday, April 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the NHERC Pavilion and will feature plenty of food and fun for the entire community. As always, we’ll be holding a pūpū contest, so whip up your finest delectable and bring a dish to share and be voted on. You could win three months of braggin’ rights!

Finally, all of us at the HBA wish to extend a warm mahalo nui loa to Jeanne Keller, our corresponding secretary who has faithfully written this monthly column to inform the community about what’s happening in Honoka‘a’s business community. Although she’s not leaving us immediately (or forever!), we wish Jeanne the best as she gradually hands over her duties to other HBA members. Come down to a Wednesday Open Mic Night at The Landing and give this wahine a big hug and your thanks for all she’s done for our community!

Have a lovely April and we’ll see you out on the town!

Liam Kernell
Board Member and Sergeant At Arms
Honoka‘a Business Association

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