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Merrie Monarch Festival Craft Fairs

Posted April 20, 2017, 01:49 PM HST Updated April 20, 2017, 02:10 PM HST
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In addition to nightly hula performances, the 2017 Merrie Monarch Festival brings craft fairs at a number of Hilo locations, with something for everyone from an abundance of artists and crafters, along with local food and entertainment.

The craft fairs run though Saturday, April 22; hours of operation vary with individual locations.

Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair
Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium & Butler Buildings
323 Manono St.
Thursday and Friday, April 20 and 21, 9a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

An annual favorite, this free event features local artists, crafters and entertainment.

Among the many vendors in the Civic is Kumu Hulu Nui (master of ancient Hawaiian featherwork) Rick San Nicolas. San Nicolas is completely self-taught and began learning feather lei making from the book that Auntie Mary Lou and Paulette Kalalepuna wrote—Feather Lei as an Art.

“I read, learned and made my first feather lei,” explained San Nicolas. “Once I completed that first lei, I knew I had to continue to see what I could do next.”

He began this journey in 1998, and today he is making feather capes, cloaks, helmets, kāhili (a feather standard, symbolic of royalty) and more.

This week on display the Civic Center is a cape and a helmet consisting of approximately 250,000 feathers handmade by San Nicolas. They are part of a large commission project he is working on for the Hawaiian Legacy Forest. This cape is No. 4 of 14 feather cloaks he has been asked to make.

San Nicolas explained the featherwork is part of the Aha Ula O Kamehameha Kunuiakea (the advisors of Kamehameha), which is based on a painting by Brook Parker. This beautiful work depicts King Kamehameha and his circle of advisors—all members of his ʻohana.

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    Marketplace at Grand Naniloa
    93 Banyan Drive
    10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    The Naniloa features Kim Taylor Reece, Project Runway Stars Kini Zamora and Ari South, as well as local vendors—HI Cravings, Tea Cravings, Nihau Shells, Hoku Creations, Wao Kele Honey, Paradisus Jewelry, Uncle Lani’s Poi Mochi, Ulu Wehi Creations and more.

    Nancy Bright of Wao Kele Honey and Ulu Wehi Creations explained that to make the Kūpeʻe cascading earrings, the shells must be collected at night; they are nocturnal.

    “We don’t clean them, so what we do is to get the animal out, we bury them for two or three months and the ants will clean them,” explained Bright.

    The Kamani necklaces are made in a similar way. Bright explained that her uncle collects the kamani seeds when they fall, dries them and removes the outside husk.

    “He then buries these also so ants can eat out the center,” said Bright.

    The Kamami necklaces are then sanded and varnished by hand.

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    Sanga Hall
    424 Kīlauea Ave.
    9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    The Sanga Hall craft fair features local favorites, crafts, food, artists and more.

    Merrie Monarch Craft Fair
    Hilo Hawaiian Hotel
    71 Banyan Drive
    8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    The Hilo Hawaiian craft fair is filled with jewelry, clothing, crafts, art and much more.

    Manono Street Market Place
    681 Manono St.
    9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Featuring vendors Sugarcane and Coconuts, Akua Bless, Kealoha Kreations, J’s Creations, Crafty Desgins by Percy, Lovely Creations by Liza and many more.

    Hawaii Arts, Crafts & Food Festival
    Nani Mau Gardens
    421 Makalika St.
    9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    The Hawaii Arts, Crafts & Food Festival at the Nani Mau Gardens is a new craft fair location this year. This craft fair features Salty Creations Hawaii, Wild Love Creations, Riding with Ray Photography, Alohi Swimwear, Kalo Kini, Ka ʻAila Niu, Lucjewelry, Nizo Natural Precision and many more.

    Nizo Natural Precision is a locally owned custom wood awards and gifts business owned by Micheal Nizo. Nizo specializes in wood puzzles, boxes, lamps, keychains, earrings, magnets and more. The wooden puzzles feature Hawaiian shapes, themes and language.

    Nizo explained that his puzzles are filling a vital need in classrooms where Hawaiian language is used. He got the idea for the puzzles from family members who teach in the Hawaiian immersion schools and Kamehameha Schools.

    KTA Sidewalk Craft Fair
    Puainako KTA
    50 E. Puainako St.
    10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Handmade items by KTA employees on the KTA Puainako sidewalk.

    Boys & Girls Club – Hilo Clubhouse
    100 Kamakahonu St.
    10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Admission is free; proceeds will directly support BGCBI. The craft fair is headlined by Manuhealiʻi and also features Coconut Girl Jewelry, Hana X Swimwear and With Aloha Lehua.

    “We invite the community to have a good time at our fundraiser,” said BGCBI Partnership & Resource Development Director Jasmine Branco. “Along with beautiful clothes and crafts, folks can enjoy ono Hawaiian food and music.”

    Artwork by Kathy Long at the Merrie Monarch Craft Fair at the Civic Auditorium in Hilo, April 19, 2017. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Hawaiian language puzzles by Nizo Natural Precision at Nani Mau craft fair. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Kamani necklaces and Kupeʻe cascading earrings at the Marketplace at the Grand Naniloa. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Hilo Hawaiin Merrie Monarch Craft Fair on Banyan Drive in Hilo. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Big Island musician Christy Lassiter performing during to 2017 Merrie Monarch Craft Fair at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, April 19, 2017. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Lori’s Creations at the 2017 Merrie Monarch Craft Fair in the Civic Center. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    The 2017 Merrie Monarch Craft Fair at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, April 19, 2017. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Mark Yamanaka at the Hawaii Arts, Crafts & Food Festival at Nani Mau Gardens. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Kumu Hulu Nui Rick San Nicolas with his feather cape and helmet on display at the 2017 Merrie Monarch Craft Fair at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, April 19, 2017. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Salty Creations Hawaii booth featuring handmade ocean inspired jewelry by Jeannine Saragosa-Taoy at the Hawaii Arts, Crafts & Food Festival at Nani Mau Gardens. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Handmade clutch by Celeste Tapia of Wild by Love, bikini by Julia Lee of Alohi Swimwear and jewelry by Elvie Cacho of Lucjewelry at Nani Mau Gardens. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Vintage Style Hula Baskets at the 2017 Merrie Monarch Craft Fair at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, April 19. Photo: Crystal Richard.

    Crystal Richard
    Crystal Richard moved to East Hawai’i in 2005 to attend UH Hilo. While earning her bachelor’s degree in English and a certificate to teach English as a second language, Crystal served as the editor-in-chief of “Hohonu,” UH Hilo’s academic journal, and as assistant editor-in-chief at “KeKalahea,” UH Hilo’s student newspaper. From a young age, Crystal fell in love with the written word and has always dreamed of a career in journalism. She has worked as a Big Island Now freelance reporter since September 2016. She is a wellness and health advocate who enjoys swimming, gardening, reading and spending time with her animals and loved ones.
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