first-ever made in maui county festival will focus on growing islands’ local businesses

MADE MAUI_Kenneth_Hiraoka_(Hawaiian Carvings)This month’s 2014 Made in Maui County Festival is considered the largest product vendor show in Maui County. The inaugural event will offer a wide variety of made in Maui County products – including foods, produce, art, crafts, jewelry, fashion, gifts, collectibles and more – plus demonstrations and food trucks ALL in one location.

Held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, the event will kick-off on Friday, November 7, with an invitation-only event for retailers and wholesalers. On Saturday, November 8, the event will be open to the public from 8am to 4:30pm. Public admission is $3, children 12 and under are free.

“This Festival was created to help grow our islands’ businesses,” said County of Maui 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.”

For a complete listing of the vendors along with a list of the products that will be offered, please visit http://www.MadeInMauiCountyFestival.com/vendors-list. This year’s vendors had to meet certain criteria in order to participate, including having their business based in Maui County, products being offered for sale also had to meet a minimum 51% Hawai‘i 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.

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 Hawai‘i 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 is presented by the County of Maui, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Maui Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, visit http://www.MadeInMauiCountyFestival.com or call 244-0081.

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