Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
November 1, 2019 - November 10, 2019
Hawaii’s Oldest Food Festival Celebrates 49 Years
Toast the Roast at the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, November 1-10, 2019
1970 was a banner year for Hawaii: the Fabulous Five thrilled UH basketball fans, 36 swimmers dove in for the first Waikiki Roughwater Swim and Hawaii’s tourism accelerated as Pan Am began regularly scheduled jumbo jet service to Honolulu. On Hawaii Island, an iconic event also launched that year—Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.
It’s doubtful that missionary Samuel Ruggles was thinking of international acclaim when he brought the first coffee trees to Kona in 1828 or 29. Coffee changed the local landscape and set Kona on a new economic journey that continues today. For nearly 200 years much has been celebrated, discussed and enjoyed over a cup of Kona’s world famous coffee. Praised for its fine, light and memorable taste, Kona coffee once again takes center stage at the 48th annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival from November 1-10, 2019.
Kona’s annual coffee harvest has sustained this agricultural community and the community gathers to celebrate every November. The award-winning Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is recognized as the oldest and one of the most successful food festivals in Hawaii. The 10-day Festival honors Kona’s cultural heritage and recognizes the accomplishments of Kona coffee pioneers, farmers and artisans.
Nearly 50 events crowd the 10-day schedule where locals and coffee-loving visitors gather to celebrate the harvest. Festivities include a lantern parade that lights up the evening sky, several coffee and food events that offer tastings, hands-on cultural events, a collection of farm and mill tours and coffee art exhibitions. The scholarship pageant crowns its queens and the finest Kona coffees are announced.
A Sampling of Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Events
Events will be held at different locations in the Kona area. Please see the schedule of events for details: http://konacoffeefest.com/schedule-of-events/
Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll
Stroll through the quaint art district, visit galleries and choose from over 30 Kona coffee farms offering tastings and coffee for purchase.
Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pageant
Hawaii Island’s talented contestants compete for the coveted Miss Kona Coffee and Miss Aloha Hawaii titles. Did you know that a former Miss Kona Coffee Carolyn Sapp went on to become Miss America?
Kona Coffee Living History Farm Tour
A visit to this historic Kona coffee farm reveals the story of Kona coffee farmers from 1926-1945. It’s America’s only living history coffee farm.
Kona Coffee Cupping Competition
An international panel of professional cupping judges conduct side-by-side blind tastings as they sniff, slurp and taste their way through 50+ entries to crown the winner.
Kona Coffee, Beer and Wine Pairing
Savor small plates, smooth music and a Kona coffee, beer and wine pairing.
Kona Coffee Lantern Parade
Colorful lanterns wind their way through Historic Kailua Village at this parade that culminates in an evening of cultural music and dance.
Ethnic food booths, arts and crafts, lei contest, ikebana and all-day live entertainment featuring one of Hawaii’s most popular entertainers Robi Kahakalau.
Festival Button Required
A souvenir Festival button is required for attendance to all events and can be purchased for $3 at all events and many retail and farm locations throughout the Kona area. For a complete listing of 47th Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival events or for more information visit www.konacoffeefest.com. Follow the Festival on social media @konacoffeefest
Coffee and Kona
Sample a cup of Kona’s gourmet brew and you’ll savor the richness of its multi-cultural heritage that has been percolating for nearly 175 years. Each sip shares a story of Kona’s widespread coffee traditions that produced this true American legacy.
In 1813 the first ornamental coffee tree arrived in Honolulu by way of Kamehameha the Great’s Spanish interpreter and physician Don Francisco de Paula y Marin. Fifteen years later Reverend Samuel Ruggles, an American missionary, transplanted a Coffea arabica cutting from an orchard on Oahu to Kona, and it soon flourished. Kona’s rich volcanic soil, bright sunny mornings, afternoon cloud cover, ample rainfall and higher upslope elevation furnished the perfect recipe for success. Some say Kona’s gourmet beans get their full-bodied flavor from this very special place in paradise.
Early on, coffee was grown throughout the Big Island, but by the second half of the 19th century production centered mainly in the Kona district. Large coffee plantations flourished in Kona until the world coffee market crashed in 1899. Hardy immigrants from Japan seized an entrepreneurial opportunity and leased the failing lands in 3- to 5-acre parcels for $30 a year and a portion of the cultivated coffee. These family-run farms revolutionized the coffee industry and kept it alive.
The Kona coffee story is one often told throughout America – that of hard work and commitment to cultivate a dream for a better life. Immigrants to Hawaii from China, Portugal, Japan, Philippines, Korea and Puerto Rico along with Hawaiians and Caucasians endured endless hours of hard farm work, planting and picking the choicest coffee berries by hand. These Kona coffee pioneers added cultural diversity and a mix of ethnic traditions as they embraced “Aloha” as a shared value.
Today fifth generation coffee farmers work alongside newcomers to cultivate more than 600 estate and commercial Kona coffee farms as they continue to uphold the tradition of quality that has made Kona a coffee success.
Courtesy of Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.
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