By Léo Azambuja
The 2014 Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau Fair, the “granddaddy of all our festivals on the island,” will be celebrating the theme “Back to Our Roots,” overall fair coordinator Melissa McFerrin said.
In accordance with the theme, the fair’s traditional Fruit & Vegetable Show will be showcasing root vegetables.
“Sweet potato and taro are so integral to our culture,” said McFerrin, adding roughly 80 percent of all taro produced in the state comes from Kaua‘i.
Each year, thousands of local residents and visitors converge to the four-day festival, made possible by donations and thousands of volunteer hours put together during the event’s organization, running and breakdown.
“Back to Our Roots,” McFerrin said, is what the fair is all about — it encourages people to have agricultural experiences but also to be part of the community.
“When you come to the fair, you’re supporting farmers and supporting the community,” she said.
People bring their families from all over the island, McFerrin said, and meet with others see they haven’t seen for years.
After all, a festival is where residents and visitors come together, and this is one of the oldest festivals on Kaua‘i, said McFerrin, adding even Frank Sinatra performed in one of the festivals back in the day.
Kaua‘i’s farm fair has the longevity and the history, but it also has new generations that come to enjoy and volunteer during the festival, she said.
As the festival’s overall coordinator, McFerrin said she has never been able to determine exactly when it first started, but she thinks it dates back to at least the 1920s, because of a newspaper article someone told her.
Year after year, the fair keeps a similar formula promoting community get-together and agriculture. But it’s never dull and always changing few features here and there.
“If you’re going to the fair to discover something new, you’ll always find it,” McFerrin said.
Some of the most anticipated features of the festival are the carnival rides. This year, the new kiddie ride Jungle Twist will join the Zipper, Century Wheel, Speedway, Scooter Bumper Cars, Fire Ball, Pharao’s Fury, Dizzy Dragon, Crazy Plane, Spring Ride and Super Sizzler.
Master hypnotist Tina Marie will be back, and other stage attractions include Paula Fuga, Hawaiian Teddy Bear, Frank Cruz and Cruz Control, Shar Carillo, Wally Rita y Los Kauaianos and Paradox Lockdown.
The entertainment will also bring taiko drumming, dance performances, bingos, karaoke, keiki Olympics, healthy baby contest, Gamekids, music from New Hope, eating contest and a special performance by the Hawai‘i Children’s Theatre.
And as always, there will be several agricultural and livestock exhibits, various food booths and dozens of vendors and nonprofit organizations showcasing their products and services.
The fair will be at Vidinha Stadium in Lihu‘e. On its first two days, Aug. 21 and 22, the fair is open from 6 p.m. to midnight. On Aug. 23, the fair is open from noon to midnight. On its final day, Aug. 24, the fair is open from noon to 11 p.m.
Visit www.kauaifarmfair.org for a detailed schedule.