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Festival in February will cheer all things chocolate

By Erika Engle


Time to plan to budget your calorie consumption during the upcoming holiday season, as the Hawaii Chocolate Festival on Saturday, Feb. 26, will not be a low-cal event.

An announcement bills the event as the inaugural Hawaii Chocolate Festival, but those long in the sweet tooth will remember the annual chocolate festival staged as a Valentine's season benefit for the Hawaiian Humane Society in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Back then, however, Hawaii didn't grow its own chocolate.

Special Events Hawaii calls the gathering at Dole Cannery Shops a celebration of "all things chocolate," a phrase that in and of itself is enough to spur ticket sales.

Exhibitor booths will feature chocolate fountains, chocolate pearls and chocolate vodka, and attendees will get in on as much chocolate tasting as each can withstand -- or possibly more.

Organizers promise a chocolate spa, chocolate garden, chocolate tea house, the Cocoa Cafe, chocolate film festival and a chocolate fashion show. Yes, the M&M's brand promise of "melts in your mouth, not in your hand" comes to mind, but we'll just leave the rest of that mental picture to you.

To lend some academic credence to the occasion, there will be guest speakers and educational displays about cacao, the plant.

"The festival will be a platform to raise the awareness of Hawaii's emerging cacao industry and to elevate Hawaiian chocolate as the state's newest 'ambassador of aloha' worldwide," said Amy Hammond, Special Events Hawaii president.

Leading up to the festival, in honor of Hawaiian-Grown Cacao Month, the company will stage a monthlong series of Hawaii Chocolate Festival Roadshow events at different locations. The website was not live as of yesterday afternoon, but the phone number for more information is 234-0404.

Ownership change for KRYL-FM

New Orleans-based Big Island Broadcasting Inc. President Joel Sellers has sold majority interest in KRYL-FM 106.5 Haiku to Hochman Hawaii-Five Inc., a partnership of Kauai-based broadcaster George Hochman and his two Indiana-based partners in other radio ventures, William Poorman and William Mays.

Hochman and his partners were essentially operating the station via a local marketing agreement, so the $450,000 transaction "is more like a merger than a sale," he said.

Sellers was the winning bidder for construction permits for the Haiku station and for 93.1 FM in Captain Cook, Kona, in a November 2004 Federal Communications Commission auction in which bidders showed what former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan might have termed "irrational exuberance."

Sellers' winning bids were $1.4 million for the Haiku frequency and $358,150 for the other, now KMWB-FM. Hochman has no designs on the Kona station, he said.

Other stations owned by Hochman and his partners include KITH-FM 98.9, KTOH-FM 99.9 and KJMQ-FM 98.1 on Kauai; KONI-FM 104.7 in Lanai City; KRKH-FM 97.3 on Maui; and KORL-FM 101.1 and KPHI-AM 1130 on Oahu.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at

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