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Maui Matsuri 2014: A Festival You Don’t Want to Miss

Are you ready for the 14th Annual Maui Matsuri festival?

I don’t know about you, but I can hardly contain my excitement! I’ve already started working on a festival checklist, and the event is still a few weeks away!

  1. Charge camera phone for selfies & photo ops with Hello Kitty.
  2. Wear stretchy pants to accommodate food consumption.
  3. Go to the ATM for some spending money.
  4. Get pumped up & work up an appetite (refer back to “wear stretchy pants”).
  5. Bring reusable grocery bags for omiyage (gifts) & take-out food.
  6. Write a blog post about the festival. Check!

Maui Matsuri

“Matsuri” means “Japanese festival,” and the Maui Matsuri incorporates some of the most notable cultural exhibits, educational activities, entertainment and food in order to bring the community together to celebrate Japanese American history, heritage and culture on Maui. The event is produced for the public by a volunteer team, and admission is free.

The official theme of the festival is “kodomo no tame ni” or “for the sake of the children.” Each year, the popularity of Maui Matsuri grows, and there are thousands of people in attendance. Proceeds of the event go to the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui to support the work they do to preserve and perpetuate Japanese culture on Maui.

Maui Matsuri

The 2014 Maui Matsuri festivities will begin on Friday, May 2 for the kickoff event, featuring karaoke, taiko, kendama, obon odori (bon dance) practice, and more from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall center stage.

The festivities continue the following weekend on Friday, May 9 with a storytelling night from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the University of Hawaii – Maui College student center (Pilina Building) in Kahului, followed by the actual Maui Matsuri festival on Saturday, May 10 from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the University of Hawaii – Maui College great lawn or courtyard.

This is the first year that Maui Matsuri is introducing the storytelling night on Friday, May 9, and it will feature fables and stories from Hawaii and Japan, including obake (ghost) stories. One of the performers for this event will be Maui’s own “Tita,” radio personality, actress and emcee, Kathy Collins.

Here is a sneak peak into this year’s festival on Saturday, May 10:

  • Onolicious grinds (delicious food). What can be better than being able to savor fresh and tasty poke bowls, bento, abalone, teriyaki, chow fun, poi mochi and shave ice conveniently in one place? You only have to walk a few steps to get to all of these amazing food booths instead of driving all over town.

Maui Matsuri

  • Contests gallore. Maui Matsuri will have the following contests: eating (natto and saimin), hanafuda/sakura (Japanese card game), Cosplay (costume), video-gaming, kendama, and Manga (Japanese comic cartoon or anime) and art drawing. If you are competitive at heart, want to have fun with your friends, or just love to people-watch as others compete for prizes and bragging rights, this part of the festival is definitely for you.
  • Live entertainment and demonstrations. From taiko (Japanese drumming) and karate demonstrations, to Japanese singers like Hikariyama Torao, A.K.A. Tevita Apina (who also just won the karaoke contest at Kawaii Kon, by the way… wow!) and the group Bento Rakugo from Oahu that specializes in magic shows and variety acts. Bento Rakugo also tells obake (ghost) stories and will be performing on Friday, May 9 for the storytelling night.

Maui Matsuri

  • Kodomo (kids) corner. If you are looking for fun for the entire family, this is the place to be! The kids will enjoy a variety of activities, while the adults join in the fun, snap a few pictures, or simply take a moment to savor their chow fun and poi mochi. Some of the activities at this year’s festival include: make your own hachimaki (Japanese headband), gyotaku (fish printing & painting), and Japanese food games such as a colorful dango (rice dumpling) stacking game and takoyaki flipping.
  • Cultural exhibits. Bonsai, Mokichi Okada Association (MOA) Sangetsu flower arranging, Maui Ki-Aikido martial arts, Consulate General of Japan, and the art of calligraphy are just some of the many exhibits you can visit at this year’s festival.
  • Craft booths. Buy local. Support local. Meet local artists, crafters and vendors, many of whom feature Made in Maui or Made in Hawaii products.
  • Obon odori or bon dance (Japanese group dancing). Kickoff the Maui obon season with obon odori on the great lawn. Follow along and join in the dancing dressed as you are. No kimono or happi (pronounced “hoppy”) coat? No problem! T-shirts and rubba slippas welcome.

Maui Matsuri

Arigato (thanks) for your support, and I look forward to seeing you at the festival! As the P.R., Marketing & Social Media Chair for Maui Matsuri, I’m sure you will see me there. Look for the gal running around, taking photos, and posting about the event with the rest of our social media team. The other members of our social media team include: Brian Nagami, Jody Yoshida, Sherman Peros, Yuki Lei Sugimura and Kay Fukumoto. If you know any of them, please feel free to say “hi” and stop them for a photo op!

The festival website is www.mauimatsuri.com, and the official hashtag for the event is #MauiMatsuri. There will be 2 Instagram contests this year, and the winners will receive free festival t-shirts, so be sure to like/follow Maui Matsuri on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get all the contest announcements.

Kashiko (sincerely yours),

Traci Giordano Silva

Silva GangAbout the Guest Blogger: Traci Giordano Silva is a freelance designer & writer at Miso Creative; partner & marketing specialist at Fukumoto Engineering (FE); PR, marketing & social media chair for Soroptimist Maui & the Maui Matsuri; & blogger & creator of “Life on a Silva Platter,” a whimsical blog focused on finding humor in life’s quirks. She lives on Maui with her hubby Mike & their “kids” (pet cats & dogs). She blogs for fun, loves making new friends in the blogosphere, & enjoys giving back to the community. Blog: www.silvagang.com. Twitter & Instagram: @SilvaGang

 

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#PeaceLoveHaiku – The 21st Annual Haiku Ho’olaule’a & Flower Festival – April 12, 2014

peacelovehaiku_Peter_Liu007

With a hashtag like #PeaceLoveHaiku you just know that the 21st Annual Haiku Ho’olaule’a & Flower Festival is going to be amazing! You may be asking yourself, is this just a place for flower lovers? Is this like the Rose Bowl with a bunch of floats covered in flowers? The short answer: Nope! The long answer: This free festival is for everyone, local residents and tourists alike. The added bonus: this event helps the keiki of Haiku with the proceeds going to Haiku Elementary School, the Haiku Boys & Girls Club, and the Haiku Community Association.

Haiku-Festival_Sean_Hower

If you’re planning on being in Maui on Saturday, April 12, 2014, take the drive to Haiku, Hawaii, on the North Shore of Maui, for an event you are sure to never forget!

10 Reasons to Go to the Haiku Ho’olaule’a & Flower Festival:

Note: This list is in no particular order…I find them all equally amazing!

1. Yummy Food. This festival is a spot for foodies, no doubt. “Restaurant Row” features local Maui restaurants, caterers & food trucks, so you can try some of the best cuisine Maui has to offer, all in one location! Just to name a few of this year’s restaurant row businesses: Mana Foods, Flatbread in Paia and Life Foods Inc., all 100% donors to the festival (i.e. all funds will go back to the keiki in Haiku). In addition, Haiku School PTA provides ono grinds in Kau Kau Row. And there are plenty of delicious baked goods in the Famous Haiku School Bake Sale!

Haiku-Festival_Peter_Liu038

2. Fun People. With over 7,000 attendees each year, you are sure to meet some fun, interesting people from all over the world!

Haiku-Festival_Joyce_Chin050

3. Live Entertainment. From live music to dance and acrobatic performers, you are sure to enjoy the great entertainment lineup including Divino and the Maui Ohana Band, Maui Underground and more!

Haiku-Festival_Joyce_Chin027

4. Help Keiki. As mentioned before, the proceeds for the festival go to help the kids of Haiku Elementary, Haiku Boys & Girls Club, as well as the Haiku Community Association. It doesn’t get much better than helping keiki.

5. Maui Farmers. Love farm fresh veggies? Flowers? Plants? Then come shake a Maui farmer’s hand and take home some Hawaii-grown produce for yourself.

6. Keiki Zone. This festival is fun for the whole family! The kids will have a blast playing carnival games, jumping in the bounce houses, face painting, getting their hair done in our Haiku hair booth, playing Mauisaurus Mini Golf, and kids’ entertainment at the Keiki Stage, just to name a few activities. And don’t forget to bring the swimsuits and towels – there will be water bouncers and a dunk tank, too!

Haiku Festival_Joyce_Chin

7. Unique Auction. From local artists’ pieces to amazing baskets filled with items to upcycled art like a surfboard turned mosaic outdoor shower, this silent auction is one of the most unique ones on the island. Come see what you can find!

8. Green Awareness. The festival continues to make a concerted effort in being greener. In fact, you are encouraged to bring your own water bottle for refills, plates and utensils for food, and your own shopping bag to eliminate even more waste. Living on a tiny island, being green is key.

 

HHFF2013_Sean_Hower141

9. Book Swap. Get a head start on your Spring cleaning by decluttering some of your unwanted books. The Haiku Elementary Library hosts a Book Swap where you get one book buck for every ten books donated. Stock up on new-to-you books and support the school library. While you’re at it, you’ll get to meet Holly Gates, the school librarian. Read more here.

10. Made in Hawaii. Meet local artists, crafters and vendors in the Crafters Marketplace, then take home a unique Made in Hawaii craft for yourself!

I’ll be taking photos at the festival this year and would love to see you there as well! If you live on Maui and would like to volunteer for the festival, you may sign up online here. If you are a Made in Hawaii crafter, local business or non-profit, farmer, restaurant, etc. to get in the festival brochure please apply online by March 12 (sorry, I uploaded this past the deadline :( – Liza). You may register a booth after the deadline, however, your name won’t make the brochure. For more information on this fun, free event contact Co-Chair Jennifer Oberg at haikuhoolaulea@gmail.com or visit http://haikuhoolaulea.org/. #PeaceLoveHaiku

With mucho aloha,
Jennifer Poppy

Note: A special “mahalo” to the 2013 festival photographers: Sean M. Hower, Peter Liu and Joyce Chin.

Jennifer of Island Gypsy HawaiiAbout the Guest Blogger: Jennifer Poppy was born & raised in Texas but has always been an island girl at heart. After moving to Maui in 2012 her lifelong dream of living in Hawaii came true! She sees beauty in the ordinary and has a passion for turning trash into treasure. Follow her Hawaii adventures, upcycling projects and lifestyle photography at islandgypsyhawaii.com.

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Food Trucks on Maui

 

Food Trucks on Maui

I promised the Food Trucks on Maui “fans” an updated list of food trucks.  As much as I wanted to write a nicer post I think I will settle with this list format and will just update this at a later time with more photos and commentaries.  This post is a “work in progress” and I will continually update this so please do check back

I divided the lists into “regions” because our mobile app also does it that way. I know … I need to update the app… will do too. I am not giving up on this … I ma just slooow…

So here is the quick list for now. Please follow our Food Trucks on Maui Facebook Page to get a updated news and photos.

CENTRAL (Kahului-Wailuku) 

There are 3 main locations where #FoodTrucksOnMaui can be found and then there are other places listed too:

I. At the Kahului Beach Road, at the harbor, across the street from the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.  The daily usuals are

1.  Gestes Shrimp 298-7109 – I call this the “grandfather of the foodtrucksonMaui – it’s been very popular with the tourists for a long time. A little pricey for locals but good shrimp plates.  Not as great as the Oahu Shrimp Trucks but still good!

2.  Lau Hee Chicken Hekka 268-4538 – Another older food truck, specializing in Chicken Hekka and Chow Fun.

3.  Dibs Da Ribs  463-8950 – a new food truck, with a variety of choices in their menu but ribs is the main.

4.  Gyros  – 205-0887 popular among local who live and work in the area. Big portions and yummy food.

5.  Ohana Kine Grindz 757-1208 – I was told they are there but I don’t see them when I go there.

There is no eating place here. Just buy the plate lunches and eat in your car or go to the park across the street.

II. At the Maui Swap Meet – this is a Saturday only deal. The usuals are

1. Tru Grindz – cute little hut trailer; friendly service, good grindz!

2. No Ka Oi Shave Ice – nice food truck specializing in Shave Ice and Coffee for the people at the Swap Meet.

3. Maui Girlz Shave Ice -

4. Sumo Dogs – usually parked across from Tru Grindz and No Ka Oi Shave Ice. If you like hotdogs, you must try this.

5. Donut Dynamite – a cute little trailer with a wide variety of donuts, freshly cooked – must try.

6. Aloha Juice Hut -

7. Maui juice Company -

III. The FoodTruck Food Court a little past the road to Costco Gas Station

1) Like Poke?  757-2239

2. Threes Food Truck - 344-2161

3. Slightly Salty -

IV. Other locations:

1. Kalamas Local Grinds 264-4462 – owned by a local family from Hana.  Has a variety of local food (Plate lunches)  in their menu. New Location: 315 Ho’okahi in the Wailuku Industrial Area  across from Saigon Palace

2. Maui Streatery – Kahului

3. Wow wow Waffle and Fresh Lemonade – Kahului

SOUTH (Kihei – Wailea – Makena)

1. Beach Beach BBQ  264-6332 – the way to Makena Beach (you won’t miss it) – This one I highly recommend.

2. Jawz – two trucks, one on the way to Makena Beach, the other one in the entrance. The third truck we don’t know (used to be at Kamaole Parking lot)

3. Bubba’s Gourmet Dog Shack – also at Makena

4. Horhitos Tacos – at the Maui Market Place, across from Kalama Park in Kihei – permanently parked there.

5. Kinaole Grill 280-9048 – across from Kam II at the Ke Alii Alanui rd. Their foodtruck has a great painting – nice and colorful.  Good to try.

6. Surf Dog Coffee Company 856-6033 – nice coffee food truck. Used to park at Kamaole – not sure where they are now.

7. Pura Vida – (808) 419-6673 Authentic Costa Rican Food. Used to be at Kamaole Parking lot. – not sure where they are parked

 

WESTSIDE (Lahaina, Kaanapali)

The main place for foodtrucks on the Westside right now is at the Kaanapali Train Station (1 Puukoli Rd)

1. Shark Pit – 298-7776 – I had been hearing a lot of great reviews. Must try.

2. Kinaole Grill – their second truck is parked here too.

3. Nobu’s lunch wagon – 669-4118 cute little pink food truck. ☺ – the grandmother of foodtrucks on maui ☺ – Chef Sambrano blogged about it – search Nobu’s Lunch Wagon Chef Sambrano and you’ll find it.

4. 808 Antojitos – authentic Mexican … 280-4025

5. Iron Imu

 

OTHERS:

1. Kula Country Farms – great food truck, great food. They switch to serving on Sundays only

2. Olowalu Fruit Stand – stationary food truck

3. Twin Falls Fruit Stand – stationary food truck

4. Tuk Tuk Thai – 810 Haiku Rd – 808-463-4166

5.  Akamai Coffee – stationary kiosk across from Home Depot

6. Brazilian Food Truck (new)

7. Bowls Maui – not sure where they are now ….

8. Nui’s Thai – upcountry – not sure where they are parked.

 

TAKE NOTE – aside from the usual locations, these food trucks are mostly found in the Maui Town Parties, called Maui Fridays.

Do you know of any other food trucks not listed here? Please let me know and I’d add them to the list!

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Best Pizza on Maui – Where to Find … (Bucket List)

MonkeyPod Pizza

Aloha, y’all! It’s Jennifer of Island Gypsy Hawaii, again, and I’m stoked to be sharing about my Maui Pizza Bucket List today. Sound like a weird bucket list? Well, hang with me because if you visit the island you’re gonna wanna know where to find some yummy food, right? So this list is for YOU (and me, too, of course) :)

Why a bucket list? Well, because I compiled it by asking my local friends, family and scouring the internet. I’ve been fortunate enough to try out some of these places, but would absolutely LOVE to try them all. Wouldn’t you???

Round Table Pizza

Round Table Pizza

via Round Table Pizza

Round Table Pizza was a vote for the entire family. Offering two locations: one on the Westside for all of you Kaanapali folks, and one on the Southside for the Kihei peeps. So, if you’re looking for a kid-friendly environment and quick service this would be a great place to try out.

Monkeypod Kitchen

With local ingredients sourced from Hawaii farms, Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea definitely made my Maui Pizza Bucket List. My local friends said this would be a great date night or adults only pizza night. They even offer a happy hour on their pizzas every night, giving a half-off discount! Now, if you know me, then you know saving money is my love language, and they had me at “half-price”. Make a reservation or simply walk-in. I hope to do so in the near future! (The photo on top of this post is a butternut squash and pine nut pizza from Monkeypod)

The Outrigger Pizza Truck

outrigger pizza

via Outrigger Pizza

 

 

The Outrigger Pizza Truck touts the proud statement of having Maui’s first original mobile woodfired pizza oven. They travel the island with their ono pizzas. Find them on Tuesdays and Fridays at the Azeka Plaza in Kihei; on Lahainaluna Road on Mondays and Thursdays; and at Long’s in Kula on Wednesdays. Yum…just thinking about these pizzas is making me hungry!

Flatbread Company

flatbread paia

via Island Gypsy Hawaii

Located on the Northshore of Maui, Flatbread Company is an excellent choice for large groups or couples. My husband and I love the fresh ingredients Flatbread uses to create their works of art, a.k.a. pizza. I highly recommend checking out Flatbread Company in Paia, Hawaii, to satiate your pizza cravings! Their fresh salads are wonderful as well. An added bonus? You just may see good ol’ Willie Nelson or one of the Wilson brothers grabbing a bite to eat there as well, seeing as they just live up the street from the restaurant.

What’s your favorite pizza place in Maui? Which one are you going to try next? Hmm…decisions, decisions. ;)

With mucho aloha,
Jennifer

 

PS:

Aloha, this is Liza “talking”.  The other day I posted on Facebook the question “Best Pizza on Maui, what do you recommend?” and we got  132 replies! Flatbread, Serpico, Shaka Pizza, Pizza Madness and Dollies were mentioned a lot.  We probably will do a  follow p post after Jennifer and I try all these pizza places :)  Here is the link to our Facebook page in case you’re interested to see what the reader’s choice are:. Go to My Own Maui Facebook Page.

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