IT’S TIME FOR SOME RICE, RICE, BABY. HERE’S EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS ONE-DAY EVENT ON SEPT. 9.
BY LENNIE OMALZA
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF HAWAI‘I RICE FESTIVAL
Rice is a daily staple in the Islands, but it really takes center stage in September, National Rice Month. The annual Rice Festival promises fun, entertainment, educational activities and, of course, lots of rice.
What It Is
The celebration of Hawaiʻi’s main grain offers six hours of cooking and eating competitions, live entertainment, ʻono food and more. In addition to being tons of fun, the event brings awareness to Lanakila Pacific’s Meals on Wheels program, which helps feed needy kūpuna. Brown rice donations, as well as monetary gifts, will be accepted at the Eighth Annual Rice Fest.
How Much it Costs
Admission is free, but it’s a good idea to keep some cash on hand for the more than 20 vendors that will be offering yummy grinds and other goodies.
Continuous live entertainment begins at 3:15 and will include taiko drumming, cooking demonstrations, ʻukulele performances and food-eating contests. The evening will finish up with the eighth annual Spam musubi eating competition at 8:30 p.m.
What to Know Before You Go
There will be lots of rice dishes available for purchase, including red rice loco moco from Chamorro Grinds and fried rice from Hula Shrimp Co., as well as other treats, too, such as shave ice from Shiga’licious and poi mochi from Uncle Lani’s. A few vendors will also be selling nonfood items, such as novelty T-shirts and musubi-shaped cookie cutters.
Registration for participation in the food-eating contests is on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you think you’re up to the challenge, check the schedule and get there early to sign up!
Where and When
The party runs from 3 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, on Auahi Street, fronting Ward Centre.
Find lots of free parking in the Ward Village Shops and Ward Centre parking garages. Valet parking is also available at Ward Centre, adjacent to Genki Sushi.