The frenzied holiday shopping season begins in earnest this week, with “Black Friday” specials bringing overnight crowds and veritable stampedes at big-box stores and malls everywhere. But if your gift giving trends toward unique, locally-made crafts and snacks, the Islandwide Christmas Crafts and Food Expo is the place to be.
There will still be a crowd, of course — this craft fair describes itself as Hawaii’s largest and best-attended craft fair, and on an island of craft fair crazy communities, that’s saying something. There will be over 400 talented crafters, artisans, and foodies selling a wide variety of wares, emphasizing original, hand-made items. As many as 30,000 people are expected to pass through the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall during the three-day expo.
There was a great write-up of the craft fair in Sunday’s Star Advertiser, profiling founder Caroline Infante and her daughter Esme Infante Nii. Caroline started sewing at home in 1968, and the craft fair is now in it’s 24th year. The headline, “Exponential growth,” said it all.
Esme is a fellow UH journalism graduate, and previously worked for the Honolulu Advertiser, where she ran its MomsLikeMe community. Now, on top of helping to organize and promote the craft fair, she’s preparing to launch MomsInHawaii.com.
An active Twitter user, she was also one of the earliest fans of Kukui High School. And thanks to her, my Kukui High partner Valentino Valdez and I will be one of the many vendors at this weekend’s expo. We’ll be selling a selection of items from our logo shop, including some new designs. We even hope to be able to print KHS diplomas on the spot. And on the handcrafted front, Valentino will be making a limited number of KHS holiday ornaments.
Whether or not you’ll be lined up outside of Best Buy overnight after Thanksgiving dinner, I hope you’ll check out the Islandwide Christmas Crafts and Food Expo this weekend. You’ll have your pick of over 35 kinds of cookies, for starters, and a chance to stock up on Kukui High gear. And in addition to great gift shopping and tasty local snacks, there’ll be live entertainment, $10,000 in prize giveaways, and a LOKAHI Giving Project booth collecting contributions to help needy families.
Hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (whew!) on Saturday, Nov. 27, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28. For more information, check out the website, or connect with the expo on Twitter @IslandWideExpos or on Facebook.