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Celebrate the Fourth Annual Taste of Waialua: a trip to Old Hawai‘i

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Anyone for time travel? On April 23, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can amble back in time to Old Hawai‘i without the help of a souped up Delorean with a flux capacitor. How? Once a year, the pulse quickens in the sleepy North Shore community of Waialua, and the town awakens to host The Taste of Waialua. The event celebrates the resurgence of business in the area after the Old Sugar Mill closed down in 1996 after one hundred years of producing what some say was “The World’s Best Sugar.” The mill is now the processing site of Waialua Coffee and Cacao/Dole, and many other businesses that produce locally made products.

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Sweet history

When sugar was unceremoniously dethroned, the former sugar growers regrouped and established the Waialua Farmers’ Co-op. Soon they began producing quality fruits and vegetables on the same land that previously grew sugarcane. So while you’re sampling freshly roasted Waialua Coffee, mouth-watering chocolate, and island-style shave ice, be sure to visit the farmers’ booths and take home a big bag of Waialua aloha.

Enjoy the music, food, and festivities, and browse around the unique shops. Learn how soap is made at the North Shore Soap Factory and tour Third Stone’s surfboard manufacturing shop, where you can learn how surfboards are made and watch local surf films. Admire the varied art of local crafters and artists, and check out the array of island treasures that fill the shelves of Island X and other reclaimed sugar mill buildings. Caution: you may accidentally learn something, as the buildings and artifacts are also used for community and visitor education. Shh! Don’t tell the kids.

So, whether you’re local or an island visitor, grab the o‘hana and mosey on back to Old Hawai‘i and support the future of North Shore businesses, manufacturing, and agriculture at the Fourth Annual Taste of Waialua—a small community with a big, Hawaiian heart.

Event schedule

8:30 a.m.—Waialua Farmers’ Co-op Market opens.

9:30 a.m.—At Island X, The Hawai‘i Coffee Association and Dr. Shawn Steiman of Coffee Consulting will present a short history of coffee in Hawai‘i and the emergence of Waialua Coffee and cacao. Following will be a demonstration of brewing methods. Shawn will be available to sign his book The Hawai‘i Coffee Book: A Gourmet’s Guide from Kona to Kaua‘i.

Free behind the scenes tours of the coffee and cacao mill will be conducted by Mike Conway from Dole, the founder of Waialua Coffee and Cacao. Space is limited. Please call Bill Martin at 808-637-4558 to reserve a spot. For more information, go to www.gonorthshore.org.

10:00 a.m.–Music begins with Sunset Beach Elementary School Ukulele Class, followed throughout the day by North Shore and Waialua artists: Bla Pahinui and Friends, The Abrigo Ohana, Kalei Gamiao, Ke Kani Nahe, Halau Hula Makana a ke, as well as, Aloha and Roshan & Shivani/Clear Sky.

How to get there

From Honolulu, take H-2 to Hale‘iwa. Go west (left) at the round-about and follow the signs to Waialua. Look for the sugar mill chimney. From Kailua, take Kamehameha Hwy. past Hale‘iwa, and continue west to Waialua.

For mill tours, North Shore historical tours, and general information, go to www.tasteofwaialua.com,www.islandxhawaii.com, and www.gonorthshore.org, or call 808-637-4558. Note: Island X offers daily coffee and cacao mini tours throughout the year.

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