The inaugural Made in Maui County Festival will feature 130 vendors, making it the largest product vendor show in the county. Originally limited to 102 vendors, the Festival—which runs Nov. 7-8–increased the total amount of booth spaces in an effort to accommodate the high demand. Vendor space is now completely sold out and there’s a waiting list.
The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Maui Chamber of Commerce announced the list of participating vendors this week. The wide variety of products available at the Made in Maui County Fest will include food, beverages, jewelry, photography, fashion, gifts, collectibles, books, toys, flowers, beauty products and more; a complete listing of the vendors, along with a list of the products offered, is available at the Made In Maui County Festival website, MadeInMauiCountyFestival.com/vendors-list.
“This Festival was created to help grow our islands’ businesses,” said Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa. “There’s such incredible talent here at home and we’re hoping to open doors for these hard-working entrepreneurs by providing opportunities for them to meet with prospective retailers and wholesalers and connect with new customers. Our small businesses are the backbone of our islands’ economy and their success will ultimately benefit our community at-large.”
The Made in Maui County Festival was inspired by the successful Made in Hawaii Festival on Oahu, which annually attracts more than 35,000 attendees. Maui County’s event organizers hope to capitalize on the successful formula used by their Oahu counterpart. Organizers are conservatively estimating approximately 8,000 visitors and residents attending their Festival in November.
Vendors had to meet specific criteria in order to participate in the festival, including having their business based in Maui County; products being offered for sale also had to meet a minimum 51 percent Hawaii value-added valuation. The event’s product mix, quality and creativity value of products were also considered during the selection process by this year’s event committee. More than 150 businesses met the event’s application requirements to be considered.
“We… continue to receive hundreds of emails and calls from businesses, residents and visitors looking to attend this year’s event,” said Teena Rasmussen, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. “It’s been extremely gratifying to see the overwhelming response from our community ranging from event sponsors who make the event financially possible to local businesses and individuals wanting to encourage entrepreneurship in the islands.”
For artist Kenneth Hiraoka of Hawaiian Carvings, whose hand-carved fish hooks, poi pounders and other collectibles can be seen at local galleries, the Festival offers an opportunity to showcase his Hawaiian heirlooms to a broader audience of residents and visitors.
“I believe that many of the people attending this product show will be looking for something different–something that represents our islands,” said Hiraoka. “This venue offers an excellent opportunity to share my artwork and our island’s host culture.”
Then, there are those like Made in Hawaii Festival veteran Michael Kilinski of Maui Jelly Factory, who is looking to expand the market share for his company’s jams, jellies, mustard, sauces, syrups, salad dressings and candy products.
“It doesn’t matter whether you started your business one year ago or decades ago–entrepreneurs who want to succeed long-term must get out there and connect with their customers,” said Kalinski. “That’s one of the reasons why events like this festival are so important. They help create opportunities and offer a vehicle for local businesses to get the word out about our products. I hope this Festival will become an annual tradition in Maui County.”
The festival, held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, will launch on Friday, Nov. 7 with an invitation-only event for retailers and wholesalers. On Saturday, Nov. 8, the event will be open to the public from 8am to 4:30pm. Public admission is $3, children 12 and under are free.
Photo courtesy of Made in Maui County Festival