Will sluggish economy affect Punahou Carnival turnout?

Keely Sarr
Keely Sarr
Melrose Edralin
Melrose Edralin

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's the largest student-run carnival in the US. But some at Punahou School are concerned about this year's turnout in light of our economic downturn.

It takes a lot of muscle and teamwork to get an event of this size together.

"It's been a lot of hard work," Keely Sarr, Punahou School junior, said. "I mean, we've been busy for a very long time."

"We're all excited," Casey Tong, Punahou School junior, said. "Carnival is always a really fun time and especially because it goes to such a great cause."

Each year, proceeds from the Punahou School Carnival go toward financial aid packages for about 50 to 75 students. But will the sluggish economy be able to do what rainfall hasn't -- keep people away?

"We've definitely been a little bit worried about that especially with the economy as it is," Sarr said. "But we're really hoping that people are still going to come down."

Organizers hope bargains on apparel, house wares and a variety of island treasures will draw shoppers on a tight budget.

"They have really nice stuff," Tong said. "It's all donated, but it's all at really cheap prices. So it's a great deal."

You don't have to tell Melrose Edralin twice. The 72-year-old arrived at 5 am -- six hours early.

"Oh, I have to come early to find parking space," the Salt Lake resident said.

While she waits at the head of the line, she peeks in the tent and checks out the goods.

"What have you seen so far that you're interested in?" this reporter asked.

"I'm interested in Japanese things, dolls, some purses," Edralin replied.

This year's carnival features 18 rides and 64 booths, including the famous mango chutney tent. The 8,000 jars are expected to sell out quickly.

"What is the deal on the mango chutney? Why do people go so nuts about it?" this reporter asked Penny Holbrook, who was at the front of the mango chutney line.

"It's great," she replied. "If you haven't had it, they don't have enough to give you samples, but it's really wonderful."

Holbrook, a former Hawaii resident, flew in from Nevada just to be at this event.

"I think it's going to be as good as ever and I think it's still a good buy," she said.

The carnival is open until 11 pm Friday, and again from 11 am to 11 pm Saturday.