Activities

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Celebrates 50 Years With Return of Some In-Person Events

October 21, 2021, 10:13 AM HST
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PC: Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

The 50th annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival will look a little different this year.

The Festival has introduced new format that will blend together both virtual and in-person events to celebrate Hawai´i’s oldest food festival.  

“Over the last 50 years, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival has had to overcome many obstacles to survive. None of these obstacles compare to holding a Festival during a pandemic,” said Kona Coffee Cultural Festival president Valery Corcoran. “Our board and committees have been innovative in designing a cadre of events where participants can safely attend in person, and others that we are filming and will broadcast online. It’s time to toast the roast, and we look forward to seeing you in person or virtually during the Festival.”

In-Person Events

Starting on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, Kona coffee farms tours take center stage. Plan to visit UCC Hawai´i Estate Farm, Greenwell Farms or Kona Historical Society’s Kona Coffee History Farm to learn more about how coffee is grown in Kona.  

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King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is the venue to visit for a slew of daily events. Interested in cultural activities and local artist demonstrations? Check out the Quilt Show, Kona Coffee 101 Seminar and Kona Coffee booths with tasting opportunities.

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A Festival highlight is the “Kona People” Art Exhibition at Donkey Mill Art Center. This curated exhibition pairs artists with Kona farmers to create works that convey the spirit of Kona People.”

Talent takes the stage during the Sugai Kona Coffee Talent Night, with multi-cultural musical offerings and dance performances. 

On Festival Friday, catch the Kona Coffee Latte Art Throwdown at Kona Coffee & Tea Company where local baristas create with 100% Kona Coffee. 

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The 100% Pure Kona Coffee Half Marathon kicks off on Saturday at 6 am with a run down Ali´i Drive to the “End of the World” and back. Those who wish to skip the run can head to the Holualoa Village Coffee and Art Stroll and spend the morning strolling through the art galleries, tasting the fresh brewed flavors from 20 Kona coffee farms and shopping with local vendors.

A $5 Festival admission button is required for events and also provides special rates for ticketed events. Buttons are available for purchase online, and at many retail and farm locations throughout the Kona area.

Virtual Events

A virtual schedule has been developed for those who can not attend the Festival in person.

The Festival’s lineup of virtual events gets underway starting on Thursday, Nov. 4 with the Opening Blessing Ceremony featuring opening ceremony program highlights and welcome messages from County of Hawai´i Mayor Mitch Roth, Festival President Valerie Corcoran and other dignitaries. Hula dancers from Halau Kala‘akeakauikawiki will perform with Kona’s own Lacey Deniz and Eddie O serving as virtual hosts.

Other notable events on the virtual schedule include the UCC Hawai´i Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship competition. The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival’s Miss Kona Coffee Carolyn Sapp won the Miss Hawai´i title and went on to win the Miss America crown.

Those tuning in to the Festival from their personal electronic devices can view the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition Awards Ceremony, Kona Coffee Cupping Seminar, Greenwell Farms Seed to Cup Farm Tour, UCC Hawai´i Estate Farm Tour, Kona Historical Society’s Kona Living History Farm Tour, Cultural Activities and Artist Demonstrations, Kona Coffee Latte Art Throwdown, Lantern Parade & Bon Dance, KTA Super Stores Cooking Demonstrations, UCC Hawai´i Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pageant and the Little Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Program.

Virtual ticket prices vary per event. Tickets can be purchased with a variety of options including, for a limited time only, the October Anniversary Box for $50, giving access to all Festival virtual events. Tickets can be purchased at www.konacoffeefest.com 

The Festival has stated that it is committed to delivering safe and memorable experiences for everyone. Check out the Festival website for the most up-to-date information, as events many change or cancel due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

For a complete list of both in person and virtual event listings, pick up a Festival magazine or log onto www.konacoffeefest.com.  Follow the Festival on social media @konacoffeefest.

Festival Accolades

Lonely Planet’s Global Coffee Tour book listed the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival as a “world’s best coffee experience.” National Geographic recently wrote that the “Festival is a Best Fall Festival in the United States” with the National Geographic Traveler listing the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival as a “Best Food Festival in Every U.S. State.” Country Living Magazine included this year’s Festival as one of the “Best Fall Festivals and Fairs Across the United States” and earlier as a “Best Fall Festival to Celebrate the Season.”

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is made possible through the sponsorship of UCC Hawai´i, Alaska Airlines, Kamehameha Schools, Hawai´i Community Federal Credit Union, KTA Super Stores, Alice K. Shingle and numerous corporate and community donors.

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