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Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_Dalia_LamaThe 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso, is touching down on Oahu this week to give public talks, take part in a panel discussion about “native cultures” with Native Hawaiians, and visit cultural and historic sites on the island.

The nonprofit Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) announced earlier this week that three Pillars of Peace Hawaii events featuring the Dalai Lama will be available for viewing via live stream. The events offered online include a talk tailored for students, a general public address, and the panel discussion, which will also feature including Pualani Kanahele (kumu hula and director of Hawaiian Traditional Knowledge Research, Hawaii Community College) and Nainoa Thompson (executive director of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and member of University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents).

In a news release issued by organizers of the Dalai Lama’s three-day visit (April 14-16), Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawaii Community Foundation, said: “We will be streaming select events in real time so that people in Hawaii and around the world have the opportunity to experience these extraordinary events as they unfold.”

Here’s the lineup of talks to be offered online.

Educating the Heart — Live stream starts at 11:45 a.m. Hawaii time (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time, HAST). The Dalai Lama’s talk starts at 1:30 p.m. HAST. The talk — tailored for high school and college students — will focus on the importance of practicing tolerance, perseverance and persistence in everyday life. The event will also feature musical performances with messages on peace from Jack Johnson, Taimane Gardner, Anuhea Jenkins and other Hawaii musicians.
Very limited tickets for the Student Talk may still be available. For additional information about tickets, contact the University of Hawaii Stan Sheriff Center Box Office at 808-956-4482.

The Importance of Native Intelligence in Modern Times —
Live stream and panel starts: 9:45 a.m. HAST on Sun., April 15. Panelists will consider the positive contributions of wisdom found in Hawaiian and other native cultures and explore Hawaii’s potential for global leadership. This event is available to the general public only via the live webcast.

Advancing Peace through the Power of Aloha — Live stream starts 11:45 a.m. HAST; and the 
Dalai Lama’s talk, 1:30 p.m. HAST. His Holiness will speak to the general public about the role of peace and compassion in daily life and encourage future community discussion and dialogue. The event will include musical performances with messages on peace from Michael McDonald, Amy Hanaialii and Henry Kapono and others. Tickets for this talk are no longer available.

The Dalai Lama’s visit marks the launch of a new Hawaii Community Foundation initiative titled Pillars of Peace Hawaii: Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha. The program, supported by the Omidyar Ohana Fund, aims to bring global peace leaders to Hawaii to exchange ideas about forms of peace that exist here at home in Hawaii and around the world. The Dalai Lama is visiting Oahu at the invitation of Pierre and Pam Omidyar. Support is being provided by a lead grant from the Omidyar Ohana Fund in addition to other partners providing in-kind and cash donations.

For more information about the Dalai Lama’s visit to Oahu, click here or call 1-855-PEACE00 (1-855-732- 2300).

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photo: dalailama.com

Hawaii_Merrie_Monarch_hula_festival_HiloHawaii’s top hula halau and competitive dance groups, featuring both women and men, from elsewhere are now focused on final rehearsals for the 49th annual Merrie Monarch Festival’s three-night competition, which will begin tomorrow night on the Big Island with the Miss Aloha Hula Competition.

But before the world’s premier hula contest gets under way in Hilo, festivalgoers are invited to peruse the Merrie Monarch Invitational Arts Fair, which opens today at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. The fair will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Fri., April 13; and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., April 14.

Among the fair’s highlights: Sunrise Shells Hawaii — last year’s winner of the “Best Booth Design” award. Its booth will feature handcrafted pendants (pictured, below) as well as shell lei and earrings. The shells, which are indigenous to Hawaii, are a type once worn only by the Islands’ alii (Hawaiian royalty). Brian Emery, who co-owns Sunrise Shells Hawaii with his twin brother, Kevin, told us: “We design our jewelry in a way that preserves the shells’ natural form.” He added, “We don’t drill holes because drilling weakens and disrespects these sacred shells.” For more information about Sunrise Shells, click here. Hawaii_Merrie_Monarch_hula_festival_Hilo

Also in the under way today: a free hula exhibition set to begin at 6 p.m. at Edith Kanakaole Stadium.
Tickets are needed to attend the competitive performances. And they may now be hard to come by. In recent years, the overall event has sold out before the dancing started. But hula fans need not despair. You’ll be able to catch every graceful movement and synchronized shake online or on high-definition television here in the Islands.

Hawaii TV network KFVE will live stream the entire contest from Hilo’s Edith Kanakaole Stadium. For a complete live-streaming schedule, click here. If you’re here in the Islands, tune into KFVE’s high-definition broadcast on all three nights on Channel 5.

Each night’s competition will start at 6 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (HST). That’s midnight on the East Coast, 9 p.m. on the West Coast.  Tonight, a program titled Backstage: LIVE at the Merrie Monarch, will air from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hawaii_Merrie_Monarch_hula_festival_Hilo

The Miss Aloha Hula Competition — slated for Thurs., April 12 — will spotlight soloists performing both hula kahiko (ancient hula) and hula auana (modern hula). Hula halau (dance groups) will perform in a kahiko competition on Fri., April 13 and an auana competition on Sat., April 14.

The festival is a nonprofit organization that honors the legacy of King David Kalakaua, who was called the “Merrie Monarch” for his love of the arts, especially music and dance. During his reign, from 1874 to his death in 1891, he supported the revival of hula, which had been discouraged by missionaries. Early Hawaiians used chant and hula as vehicles to express everything from mythology and history to religion.

The Merrie Monarch Festival will wrap up with the celebratory Merrie Monarch Royal Parade through downtown Hilo, 10:30 a.m. on Sat., April 14. All festival events, except for the competitive hula contest, are free and open to the public. For more festival information, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: (top and bottom) Merrie Monarch Festival, (middle) Sherie Char 

Hawaii_Honolulu_airfareAllegiant Air, a Nevada-based airline owned by Allegiant Travel Company, announced today that it will start providing nonstop air service from the mainland to Honolulu in late June.

The carrier will offer introductory fares as low as $174 one-way, including taxes and fees, between Honolulu, Oahu and Fresno, Calif. and Honolulu-Las Vegas. The Honolulu-Fresno flights will begin on June 30; and Honolulu-Las Vegas flights, June 29.

Allegiant's introductory fares are limited, not available on all flights and must be purchased by April 30, 2012 for travel by Nov. 13, 2012. For more information about flight days and times, click here or call 702-505-8888.

In a news release issued by the company, Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant’s president, said: “The announcement of service to Hawaii is a great achievement for Allegiant." He added, “With the addition of the four aircraft we have acquisitioned, we plan to expand service to other mainland cities in the future."

Allegiant Travel Company specializes in providing low-cost travel packages that include air, hotel, rental car and attractions. Founded in 1997, Allegiant became a public company in December 2006, under the Allegiant Travel Company name and trades on the NASDAQ under ticker ALGT.

Here are some more details tied to the introductory one-way fares.
Prices include PFC, segment tax and Sept. 11th security fee of up to $10.80 per segment. A segment is one take-off and one landing. A convenience fee of $10 per segment, per passenger is included in the introductory one-way fare. A fee of $14.99 per segment, will apply when purchased through Allegiant call centers. Purchases made at any Allegiant Airport Ticket Office will not incur a convenience or call center fee. For ticket counter hours of operation, click here. Baggage fees of up to $35 per bag, per segment will apply to one carry-on and the first two (2) checked bags. Additional higher fees will apply for three or more checked bags. Fare rules, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice. For more information about fares, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photo: (Kailua, Oahu) David Croxford


We’ve counted the votes from our latest HAWAII Magazine Facebook Ohana poll question: What’s your must-have Hawaii food (That nosh you crave immediately upon arrival in the Islands. The top five vote-getters are on the pages ahead.

Bonus picks — In addition to sharing favorite gotta-eat grinds, many members of our Facebook ohana mentioned beverages, too. The top drinks: a classic mai tai (pictured, above) and POG (sweet blend of passion fruit, orange and guava juices).

If you’d like to join in on our next poll and vote, click here then press the “like” button at the top of our Facebook page. Become part of our HAWAII Magazine Facebook ohana and you’ll get our “Hawaii favorite” poll questions as soon as we post them. You'll also get instant updates on your Facebook wall when we post our daily HawaiiMagazine.com stories and features.

We’ll be posting our next Ohana Poll question on HAWAII Magazine’s Facebook page in the days ahead, so join soon if you haven’t yet. OK, here we go. Here’s the top five countdown of our Facebook ohana’s favorite must-have Hawaii eats:


No. 5 (tie)

loco moco 

The least-disputed loco moco origin story dates service of the first plate of the high-calorie comfort-food creation to the late 1940s in Hilo on the Big Island at the now long-gone. Lincoln Grill. A group of hungry teenagers prompted the grill’s owner to serve up a filling concoction of white rice, topped with a beef patty and brown gravy. A fried egg would follow later — at the top of the loco moco. Today, there are countless variations of the loco moco, featuring everything from Spam on top to fried rice underneath. Even celebrity chefs pay homage to the humble dish. Nori’s Saimin & Snacks, a popular Hilo noodle shop, serves up a basic loco moco pictured above featuring a handmade hamburger.


plate lunch 

The quintessential Hawaii plate lunch consists of two scoops of rice, one scoop of island-style macaroni salad, and an entre made with Pan-Asian ingredients. Sometimes, a little green salad turns up on the plate, too. The plate lunch pictured above includes chicken katsu, a take on the popular Japanese restaurant dish tonkatsu (or pork cutlet). Chicken katsu is essentially a chicken cutlet taken to more crunchy extremes. The recipe is easy enough: Deboned chicken thighs, butterflied, battered in flour, egg and panko (Japanese bread crumbs) then fried to a crisp, golden brown. A small cup of tonkatsu sauce (sweeter and thicker than Worcestershire sauce) is usually served on the side for dipping. Use it.


Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_Waikiki_ElvisMemphis-based Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. this week announced a vacation package to Hawaii tied to the 40th anniversary of his Aloha From Hawaii concert held on Jan. 14, 1973 in Honolulu.

The package, Jan. 10-15, 2013, will feature concerts, panel discussions and tours of Elvis-related locations on Oahu, such as Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay, which were featured prominently as the backdrops in the films Blue Hawaii (pictured, right) and Paradise, Hawaiian Style.

The Aloha From Hawaii concert was broadcast live via satellite from the Honolulu International Center — now the Neal Blaisdell Center. It was the first musical event to be broadcast worldwide by satellite.

The concert served as a fundraiser for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund. Lee, a Hawaii composer and entertainer who died of throat cancer in 1966, was the composer of the song “I’ll Remember You,” which was recorded by Elvis. Aloha From Hawaii featured that song along with several older hits and tunes from the 1960s and ‘70s. The lineup ranged from “Blue Suede Shoes” to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and the Beatles’ “Something.”

According to a press release issued by Elvis Presley Enterprises, the vacation package dubbed Elvis Presley’s Aloha from Hawaii, the 40th Anniversary Celebration, includes a five-night stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Wakiki Resort.

Here are some of the celebration’s highlights

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest (hosted by Legends in Concert  Waikiki)  — 8 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 12, 2013 at the Royal Hawaiian Theater in The Royal Hawaiian Center, just a few blocks from the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Legends in Concert Waikiki is also presenting an Elvis tribute show spotlighting top-notch tribute artists on Fri., Jan. 11 and Sun., Jan 13, at 8:15 p.m.

Aloha From Hawaii screening — Mon., Jan. 14 (evening) at Neal Blaisdell Center. Elvis fans will gather in the venue where four decades ago Elvis took the stage for his famous concert. The screening of the Aloha from Hawaii show will feature re-mastered video on giant, multiple screens. Included will be rare footage and audio, according to Elvis Presley Enterprises.

The celebration’s concerts will feature musicians who performed with Elvis at the Aloha From Hawaii show and other Elvis fan favorites, according to Elvis Presley Enterprises. Among the guests slated for Elvis-related panel discussions are Jerry Hopkins, author of Elvis in Hawaii and Jan Shepard, Elvis’ co-star in King Creole and Paradise, Hawaiian Style.

For additional information about Elvis Presley’s Aloha from Hawaii, the 40th Anniversary Celebration, click here

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.

Hawaii_Maui_County_Agricultural_Festival_WaikapuThe saying goes, “Know your farmer. Know your food.”

If you’re on the Valley Isle on this Saturday (April 7), one of the best places to simultaneously accomplish both is the Maui County Agricultural Festival. The free annual fest, held against the majestic backdrop of the West Maui Mountains at Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu, offers residents and visitors a stellar showcase of the island’s farm-to-table culinary movement and growing popularity of buying local.

Stocked with produce booths, food vendors and cooking demonstrations highlighting Maui’s exceptional agricultural bounty, the fest is foodie heaven, as well, drawing more than 7,500 attendees annually. But great noshing is only part of its intentions.

The Maui County Agricultural Festival was launched in 2008 following the shuttering of the popular Upcountry Maui agriculture event fondly known as “The Ulupalakua Thing,” which also attracted thousands of attendees. Created in 1992 with similar goals of supporting and raising the profile of local agriculture, The Ulupalakua Thing was hosted annually at Ulupalakua Ranch and Maui’s Winery until 2005.

“When The Ulupalakua Thing ended after 13 years, there was no longer a signature agriculture event to bring together the industry and the community,” explains Warren Watanabe, executive director of the Maui County Farm Bureau. “The County of Maui and the Ulupalakua event organizers asked us to create a ‘replacement’ event. We believe the general public needs to learn about the day-to-day workings of the industry and the issues facing agriculture on Maui.”Hawaii_Maui_County_Agricultural_Festival_Waikapu

The Maui County Agricultural Festival addresses that goal by offering the community an opportunity to interact directly with farmers, ranchers and growers. Its centerpiece is a huge Grown on Maui farmers’ market where the fragrance of tuberose stems and fresh plumeria lei mix with the sweet earthiness of just-picked produce.

The market’s 50-plus booths offer everything from humble vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cabbage and potatoes to world-famous sweet Maui onions, even sweeter Kula strawberries, super-sweet Maui Gold yellow pineapple, gourmet island-grown coffee and taro cultivated in the Native Hawaiian communities of East Maui. Farmer Sylvestre Tumbaga, whose Syl’s Produce supplies sweet corn, eggplant, tomatoes and more to farmers’ markets and retailers throughout Maui, wouldn’t miss it.

“People can see firsthand the quality of our products,” says Tumbaga. “They always notice how much better local produce tastes than imported.”  Hawaii_Maui_County_Agricultural_Festival_Waikapu

Flower growers from all over Upcountry and East Maui are well represented, too, with their showy protea, delicate orchids and other blooms. Also available for sale: pesto, sauces, pickled onions, kim chee, jams, jellies and fruit-infused butters.

Explore the fest grounds long enough and the tantalizing aromas of beef, pork and seafood on the grill and sautéing fresh veggies will lure you to another popular attraction: the Grand Taste Education area. Here, island chefs, farmers and ranchers at more than a dozen booths create dishes that highlight seasonality and the best ways to showcase local ingredients. For $25 you can fill up your plate and vote on which booth’s creation gets the coveted “fan favorite” prize. One of this year’s most delectable entries is sure to come from Maui private chef, Riko Bartolome, who last year crafted a broccoli chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard) that was crazy good.

“Participating in the festival vividly illustrates the valued relationship between chefs and farmers,” says Bartolome who, like most participating chefs at the fest, is as passionate about Maui’s farmers and ranchers and their products as he is about the food he prepares. “Truthfully, for me it’s simple and self-serving. In order to use local products, there need to be local products. In order for there to be local products, the farmers need to succeed. In order for the farmers to succeed, they need our support. Hawaii_Maui_County_Agricultural_Festival_Waikapu

“I believe it’s our responsibility as chefs to build public awareness about our farmers to give them an advantage in the local market and allow them to thrive.”

If you go, don’t miss the festival’s Victory Farm—a living farm where you can see and learn about crops that grow and thrive on Maui. Let the kids get up close and personal with farm animals, ride a horse or plant their own vegetables in handmade planters. Chat with a chef about how to make those Molokai sweet potatoes you just purchased so delicious everyone in the family will clean their plates. Ask the fest’s farm doctor about how to get rid of pesky garden pests ruining your tomatoes.

Get to know a farmer. Get to know your food.

• Maui County Agricultural Festival, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., April 7, Maui Tropical Plantation luau grounds, Waikapu. For additional information about the fest, click here.

(This feature was originally published in the March/April 2012 issue of HAWAII Magazine.)

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: Maui County Agricultural Festival

Hawaii_Oahu_taste_Waialua_mill_The fifth annual Taste of Waialua is set for Sat., April 7, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the historic Old Waialua Sugar Mill on Oahu’s North Shore.
Waialua, a once-bustling sugar mill town that produced what locals lauded as the "world's best sugar," is now known for its thriving entrepreneur and artisan efforts, which are producing everything from world-class surfboards and silkscreen fashions to handmade soaps, chocolate and island-style soda pop. The Waialua Sugar Mill closed its gates in 1996, after more than 100 years of operation. The mill (pictured, right) now serves as the processing site of Waialua Coffee and Cacao/Dole.

Here are some of the Taste of Waialua highlights.

Waialua Farmers Co-op Market — Waialua-grown fruits and veggies. The market will open at 8:30 a.m. The Co-op is made up of former sugar workers, now growing produce on land previously reserved for the sugar crop. For a list of co-op members, click here.

• A history of coffee in Hawaii — The Hawaii Coffee Association in tandem with coffee expert Shawn Steiman (owner of Coffea Consulting and author of The Hawaii Coffee Book: A Gourmet’s Guide from Kona to Kauai) will present a seminar about the history of coffee in Hawaii and the emergence of Waialua Coffee and Cacao. The presentation is slated for 9:30 a.m. at Island X Hawaii. After the talk, Steiman will discuss and demonstrate (with Waialua coffees) issues tied to “coffee strength.” 

• Area tours — Two free “Waialua Historical and Agricultural tours” will be hosted by the North Shore Chamber of Commerce. Both bus tours will feature a narration highlighting the area’s agricultural history. Plus, there will be visits to local farms, ranging from a taro farm to a cacao farm. Tours will depart at depart at 10:30 a.m. and at 1 p.m. Call 808-779-7439 to pre-register for a tour.

Taste of Waialua will also spotlight live Hawaii music, with performances scheduled from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Plus, more than 50 vendors/exhibitors will be selling island-style food and art at the historic mill. For additional information about Taste of Waialua, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photo: Taste of Waialua/Island X Hawaii

Hawaii_Maui_Kapalua_arts_festivalThe 20th annual Celebration of the Arts Festival, which invites attendees to experience “Hawaiian heart and soul,” is slated to get under way on Fri., April 6 at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui's northwest shoreline.

Opening ceremonies for the two-day event will include traditional oli (chants) from Hawaiian practitioners while music and hula will be continuous throughout the weekend. Festivalgoers — both Hawaii residents and visitors — may take part in hands-on art workshops, demonstrations, films, cultural panels, music and dance events scheduled between10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday and on Sat., April 7.

The interactive offerings range from opportunities to make your own traditional and contemporary art keepsakes to designing your own jewelry with Hawaii’s treasured with Niihau shells. Among the activities slated for children is “The Rainbow Within You,” which will feature renowned Hawaii music entertainer and festival co-founder Henry Kapono encouraging children to contribute to a mural titled A Beautiful Hawaiian Day.Hawaii_Maui_Kapalua_arts_festival

There will also be Hawaii-focused talks, such as The Evolution of the Canoe, given by watermen Kimokeo Kapahulehua and Iokepa Naeole; and The History & Responsibilities of The Royal Hawaiian Guard, presented by Paulo Feafine, the executive director of The Royal Hawaiian Guard. Click here to check out the full events schedule.

Among the festival’s highlights is the Celebration Luau and Show, set for Saturday night, featuring foods of traditional Hawaii and the contemporary cuisine. On both nights, a Celebration After-Hours Party will be held in the hotel lobby’s Alaloa Lounge, with no cover charge from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. In addition, there a Celebration Easter Brunch is set for Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about the festival, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

 Photos: Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua (Maui)

Hawaii_Big_Island_Kau_coffee_competitionThree Big Island coffee farms are ranked among the top 10 in the Roasters Guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual Coffee of the Year international competition for 2012.

All Kau area coffee farms, the Hawaii winners are:

• The Rising Sun/Will and Grace Farms — farmers Will and Grace Tabios;

• Rusty’s Hawaiian — farmer Lorie Obra; and

• Alii Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee — farmers Francis and Trinidad Marques.

The other winning coffees come from farms in Honduras, Columbia and Ethiopia.
More than 250 coffee samples representing 26 countries vied in the prestigious competition — held last week in Long Beach, Calif. — to be recognized as the best specialty coffee from around the globe for the 2011-2012 season. 

A panel of experienced coffee-cupping judges blindly evaluated the sensory attributes of each coffee and issued scores for fragrance and aroma, taste, flavor, acidity, aftertaste and body.  Hawaii_Big_Island_Kau_coffee_competition

In a news release issued by the Kau Coffee Festival’s organizers, Rusty’s Obra said: “This is a special day at Rusty's Hawaiian Coffee.” She adds, “It was my late husband Rusty's vision that Kau would become one of the world’s top coffee-producing origins. Seeing three Kau coffees among the Coffees of the Year winners continues to keep his legacy and vision alive. This victory is for Rusty, for Kau, for Hawaii and the USA.”

Alii Hawaiian Hula Hands’ Trinidad Marques linked the farm’s success to a sacred source. “It’s the spiritual connection to the aina (land). As Hawaiians, the aina and nature speak to us. I knew one day we would make it. It feels great to see the results of our perseverance.”

The coffees and the growers will be celebrated at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s 24th annual Expo in Portland, Ore., set for April 18-22 and again at the fourth annual Kau Coffee Festival in Pahala on the Big Island, May 12.

Festival organizer Chris Manfredi of Kau Farm and Ranch Co., said: “I’m again so pleased and proud of all the Kau growers.” He added, “Their dedication, combined passion and willingness to work together make Kau a very special place and Kau coffee exceptional.”

For details about the festival, click here. And for more information about the Specialty Coffee Association of America, click here.

To subscribe to HAWAII Magazine, click here.

Photos: (top) Bull Kailiawa and Will Tabios (right) will represent Kau coffee at the Speciality Coffee Association's expo in Portland, Ore./ photo by Julia Neal; (bottom) David Croxford.
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