Monday, November 30, 2015         

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Around Hilo Town: Food and crafts draw crowds

By Barbara A. Hastings

Special to the Star-Advertiser


Thursday morning you couldn't get into the Sangha Hall craft fair. There was literally no parking in the entire vicinity. Now, this may be common enough for our Honolulu friends, but here in Hilo, we are unaccustomed to it … .

George Lewitzki of Golf Treasures found another piece of tradition reigned strong. For the 16th year, the folks with the "authentic kine Ono Hawaiian food" were set up next to Carpet Isle. They began constructing the temporary food booth Sunday and now it's in full swing.

Ka Uhane Hemolele O Ka Malamalama Church of Keaukaha began this fundraiser years ago with a much smaller footprint.  But as things go in Hilo, it turned out that Pastor Ronney Keawekane-Beer and Garret Sasaki, the owner of Orchid Isle, were classmates, hence, the location each year.

"Special mahalos to him. Garret and Ronney Sr. went to school together so he  donates space. Mahalo for generosity to the church,"  said the Rev. Billie Keawekane-Beer, Ronney's son, who is pastor now.

The lau lau they serve is incredibly packed and the chicken long rice is delightfully gingery with the noodles broken up to be edible without mess.

Poi ball vendors are back, too. These are delectable malassada-like confections.

Dawn Pung, Zontian, chair of the Hilo Medical Center Foundation and all-around community supporter, reported hats are the rage this year, with more styles and more selection. Dawn also braved the long lines for free tickets Wednesday night and we haven't had an update since!

We've heard the Naniloa Hotel on Banyan Drive has thrown heart and soul into Merriest Monarch this year.  And reports are the Hilo Shopping Center craft booths are swarmed.

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