65th Annual Hawai’i County Fair Opens Thursday
Hawai’i County Fair weekend is the one weekend out of the year that Hilo children and families circle on their calendars.
A cornerstone of the Hilo community and an integral part of summer’s end, the 65th annual Hawai’i County Fair is geared up and ready to roll with community favorites like local foods, non-stop entertainment, and all of the usual E.K. Fernandez rides and games, including last year’s new attraction, Area 51, and old favorites like Fireball, Century Wheel, Pharaoh’s Fury, Super Sizzler, the Zipper, and Scooter, along with a number of children’s rides.
The fair will run from Thursday, Sept. 10 through Sunday, Sept. 13 and include day-long rides, food vendors, exhibits, games, and entertainment, ranging from Puna Taiko on Thursday to Bruddah Waltah and Sudden Rush on Friday, Aunty Darlene Ahuna and Ryan Hiraoka on Saturday, HI Pulse and Salsa Latino on Sunday, and many more throughout the weekend.
Kelton Chang, a veteran event organizer who has held multiple roles in the Hilo Jaycees’ organization and planning of the annual event says that it’s an 11-month process to plan for a four-day affair.
“It’s all volunteer work. Nobody with the Hilo Jaycees gets paid. We all just do it out of the goodness of our own hearts,” said Chang, who noted that an average of about 15 core organizers come together each year to plan the event.
One of the highlights inside the entertainment tent this year is a pair of performances from popular OC16 comedy duo Da Braddahs. The popular duo, Tony Silva and James Roche, will appear Thursday night at 8 p.m. and Friday night at 8:15 p.m.
Other highlight performances include Mana’o Company on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. and Mr. “Fish and Poi” himself, Sean Na’auao, a 4:30 p.m. on Sunday/
A special feature of the this year’s event is the dedicated kupuna day on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. There will be cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, and various programs to connect the elderly of the community with different services.
“We worked this year to really include our kupuna in the fair. With it being our 65th anniversary of the fair, we have a lot of elderly roosters helping out so much that we wanted to bring more awareness about kupuna,” said Chang. “They are going through the processes of going into senior living so we worked with the Hawai’i County Office of Aging to provide them the opportunity to connect with services they may not know are available.”
Other activities include a poke contest on Thursday, a plant, fruit and vegetable sale on Friday, a craft fair on Saturday in the Butler Building, a vendor expo in the Afook-Chinen Civic Audiorium, and various other demonstrations.
If you feel like this year’s fair crept up on you, that’s because it did. Chang says the 2015 event fell one week earlier than usual due to barge availability that moved every fair in the state up a week.
Fair admission is $2.50 for children, $6 for adults, and free for seniors 60-years-old and over. Wristbands will be sold on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. for $30 and includes tickets for 10 rides. Wristbands become void at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday entry will be half price. Between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., entry fees can also be paid through a food donation during the Hilo Jaycees food drive. Three cans per adult and two cans per child will get you into the fair free.