Ho'olaule'a returns to WCC
By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer
KANE'OHE The ho'olaule'a festival returns to Windward Community College in September after a hiatus of several years.
What: Windward Ho'olaule'a When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 6 Booths: To reserve a booth, call Art Machado at 845-4111 or 239-9003; or Janis Chun at 373-5026.
At a glance
What: Windward Ho'olaule'a
When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 6
Booths: To reserve a booth, call Art Machado at 845-4111 or 239-9003; or Janis Chun at 373-5026.
It was such large crowds about 20,000 in peak years that made the event too much for the college to handle, but that isn't expected to be a problem now with a committee of residents pitching in to help.
This year's event, which is set for Sept. 6, will be called Windward Ho'olaule'a.
The college will join with organizers of the Windward Ho'olaule'a, which has been held on Kawa Street in Kane'ohe and at Windward Mall but which has struggled financially.
"Now we have help because we have this whole community of people," said Libby Young, a WCC journalism instructor.
In evaluating last year's Windward Ho'olaule'a, organizers decided they needed to reduce costs and the appearance of commercialization by severing its association with Windward Mall, said Art Machado, one of the event's organizers.
The mall and the outside events had separate financing but they worked together in the planning, he said.
But, "people did not want to give us sponsorship because they thought it was a Windward Mall thing," Machado said.
The situation was aggravated when the city pulled its support because of dwindling city revenues.
The ho'olaule'a cost about $30,000 and last year the event lost about $400, with some of the expenses coming out of Machado's pocket.
All the money questions haven't been answered for this year's event, but Sandi Oguma, president of the Kane'ohe Business Group and event organizer, isn't worried.
"Hawai'i is a very giving state and when things happen in your community that celebrates camaraderie, whether it comes bouncing in at the last minute or whether it's in the form of hard cash or soft cash donation, somehow it just comes together," Oguma said. "You hate to say that, but it just does."
Involving the college also eliminates the need to get permits to close the street and to hire police, further reducing the cost, she said.
Holding the event on campus also gives residents an opportunity to see the college's new facilities, Oguma said. The school has agreed to open its theater, art gallery, Imaginarium, cafeteria, Aerospace Exploration Lab and the NASA Flight Simulation Lab during the ho'olaule'a.
This year's ho'olaule'a will include two stages for entertainment, at least 40 art and craft booths, 25 food vendors and the college cafeteria serving special meals, she said.
Radio stations KQMQ and The Breeze are partnering with the school, Kane'ohe Business Group, Zippy's, volunteers from schools and other groups to put on the event.
The community college's ho'olaule'a went on for more than a decade before it got so large that it was becoming unmanageable, Young said. Some 20,000 people were showing up and only the school staff was available to operate it.
Angela Meixell, Windward chancellor, said everyone on campus is excited about bringing the ho'olaule'a back on campus and giving the greater community a chance to see all that is available there.
"We've been successful in bringing a good percentage of the community up to the campus," Meixell said. "It's not everybody. It's the business leaders, the educators and the children. But this now will be the opportunity to bring the whole family."