Festival promotes local products

Moani Silva
Moani Silva
Dan Belmont
Dan Belmont
Morris Nakamura
Morris Nakamura

By Kristine Uyeno - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Thousands of residents celebrated statehood at an event that promotes the best local products.

First Hawaiian Bank's 14th Annual Made in Hawaii Festival hits the Blaisdell with a record number of vendors.

By looking at the sea of people there, you'd never think we're in a recession.

"It's really good exposure. A lot of people come out to support the local businesses," said Moani Silva with Recycled Sweetheart.

Businesses that sell everything and anything made in the islands.

More than 35,000 people are expected to attend the event to see 500 vendors, which is the most for this event.

That's nothing new for Dan Belmont. This is the 6th time he's had a booth here to sell fudge.

And this festival, always helps.

"We actually get a few new customers to sell our products, usually from the outer islands, they come here. And a lot of new people try our products, locally," said Belmont.

That's what other vendors, like Morris Nakamura, are hoping for. He has muscular dystrophy and sells paintings he creates, without using his hands.

"I happy for do that," said Nakamura. "You gotta keep on going because one thing I understood about what the Lord said, if you have a talent, you gotta keep going."

There are businesses that are brand new to this event. Recycled Sweetheart sells a unique type of clothing line.

"I collect fabric, recycled fabric from old aloha shirts or muumuus and I resell them as modern day dresses for girls," said Silva.

Despite the economy, people are still willing to go local.

The festival is at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall and Arena.

It runs until 9 p.m. tonight, tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $3.