Hanapepe Art Night has been happening for 20 years. Started in 1997 by the newly formed Hanapepe Economic Alliance, local business owners and leaders sought to strengthen the small community and provide a new experience for locals and visitors centered around the arts. It has been well received and continues to thrive. I look forward to Friday evenings at art night, when we can stroll the main street, browse local art galleries, listen to live music, taste excellent food and enjoy the ambiance.
Hanapepe has always had an eclectic, free-spirited feel to it. Unlike many of the other towns that have evolved in Kauai over the last few decades, it was not established as a sugarcane plantation town. It was home to entrepreneurial immigrants, who found life in the sugar mills to be too laborious, stifling and restrictive. They came to the fertile valley of Hanapepe to start their own small farms and grow bananas, taro, poi, and rice. In the 1900’s, Hanapepe welcomed labor union organizers, who were not allowed to reside at sugar and pineapple plantation camps due to their activism. It was home to several opium dens, some of which survived up until the 1930s. It has certainly evolved over time and is a small town that you shouldn’t miss if you are visiting Kauai.
From 5-9 pm on Friday nights, the streets come alive with local vendors, artists, food trucks, and live music. This family-friendly event has something for everyone, from sophisticated art gallery openings, to kids karaoke and homemade guava jelly for sale. You can grab dinner from a gourmet food truck or have table service with margaritas at the Mexican restaurant. You can dine on a delectable “Hanapepe Roll” at Japanese Grandma’s or have a refreshing Ono Pop while gathered around a performing musician on the street. No matter what your vantage point—there is something for everyone and lots of prime people watching.
I am excited that you can now enjoy margaritas and Mexican fare at Hanapepe Art Night. El Azteca is a new restaurant to the Hanapepe scene that is only open on Friday nights for Art Night. It is part of the popular and successful Paco’s Tacos family of restaurants.
In conjunction with the 20-year anniversary celebration, local business owners are passing out unique limited-edition commemorative buttons. If you collect 10 out of the 13 different Hanapepe Art Buttons before December 31, 2017, you can enter the drawing to win a limited edition serigraph by James Hoyle valued at $7,500! Enter the drawing at Amy Lauren Gallery, 4545 Kona Road Hanapepe. The drawing will be held on January 31, 2018, and you need not be present to win. For more information, click here.
In case you needed more incentive to visit Hanapepe, the 3rd annual Kauai Chocolate and Coffee Festival will be held on October 20th from 5-9 pm and October 21st from 10 am – 4pm. While it is free to attend, you will need a passport to sample the showcases and talents of local farmers, chefs, roaster, chocolatiers, baristas, manufacturers, and crafters. Passports are $12 in advance or $18 at the event. This year there is something special planned—the Princess Ka’iulani Keiki Festival will feature a parade and special events at Storybook Theater and on the mainstage on Saturday. There will also be informative demonstrations on growing chocolate and coffee in Kauai.