History of the Royal Coconut Coast
The Wailua River was considered an extremely important area to Hawaiians and their Ali’i, or royalty. It’s clear, based on the type and extent of the many ancient archeological features here, that this area was indeed sacred to the Hawaiians. With the arrival of westerners, the use of the Coconut Coast region became an important sugar cane, rice and pineapple growing area. The plantations began cultivating groves of coconut trees along the coast in hopes that copra, the dried meat that produces oil, would be a viable crop. The many coconut trees along Kuhio Highway from Wailua to Kapa’a are left-over from the old plantations and this area’s significance to the Kaua’i Ali’i give the corridor its distinctive Royal Coconut Coast name.
History of the Festival
Nearly twenty years ago, Bob Bartolo, a long-time member and director of KBA, started what was then a small festival celebrating the coconut, local artists, entertainers and cooks. As time has passed the festival has grown into the east-side’s signature event.
Over the years we’ve had many TV shows feature the Coconut Festival for example Jennifer Bushman, host of the west coast syndicated television show “Nothing to it” filmed her show and featured 6 of Kauai’s best chefs in our first cooking demonstration area. In 2003 the festival was featured on the Food Network’s “All American Festivals” program. Then in 2011 the Coconut Festival.
The festival offers non-stop entertainment on a main stage, keiki (children’s) stage, cooking demonstrations by Kauai’s best chefs, the largest gathering of Kauai artisans (featuring certified Kauai Made Vendors), crafters and Polynesian products of any festival, kooky coconut games, pie eating contests, local folks competing to win a coconut cook-off contest, hands-on activities, an area dedicated to teaching the uses and by-products of this unusual seed, cultural and historical presentations, hands-on activities, and everything you can imagine to eat made with…Coconut!