5 Insider Tips for Shopping Local at the 2018 Made in Hawai‘i Festival

We’ll show you how to make the most out of your Island shopping spree.
Made in Hawai‘i Festival
photo: gregory yamamoto


Each year, vendors from across the Islands gather at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena and Exhibition Hall to showcase the best food, fashion, jewelry, produce, art and home goods the Aloha State has to offer, along with exclusive discounts and special offers. With more than 40,000 shoppers attending each year, the Made in Hawai‘i Festival is one of the biggest and best opportunities to find new and favorite local-kine goods in one place. Here are five tips for getting the most out of your #supportlocal shopping spree:


1. Craft your plan of attack.

Jana LamSide Order Pillows
handbags and clutches (left) by JANA LAM (@JANALAM) and spam musubi pillows (right) by side order pillows (etsy.com).
photos: courtesy of Made in Hawai‘i Festival


Do future you a favor: Before you go, jot down a list of booths you plan to hit. With 400-plus vendors this year, having a game plan will help keep you on track as you shop. Find info on participating vendors on the Made in Hawai‘i Festival Facebook and Instagram, and the full list on madeinhawaiifestival.com. Once you’re there, make sure to snap up a Made in Hawai‘i Festival program, which includes a complete list of vendors and a floorplan to help you navigate.


2. Get a head start on holiday shopping.

Naia Wood DesignsNalu Blue
Nai‘a wood magnets (LEFT) by nai‘a wood designs (@naiawoodhi) and decal (right) by nalu blue (@nalu_blue).


If Christmas seems to creep up on you each year, Made in Hawai‘i is an opportunity to treat yourself and cross a few names off your holiday list at the same time. If you plan to buy gifts for Mainland friends, look for nonperishable items—Hawaiian salts, small home wares, clutches, jewelry—that are easy to mail.


3. Pack some reusable bags …

Reusables for Life
eco-totes by reusables for life (@reusablesforlife).


… Or buy one while you shop. Ecolicious, Reusables for Life and Workshop 28 are among the vendors with stylish, locally made eco-totes for sale.


4. Stay for the entertainment.



There’s more to enjoy than just the shopping. The festival’s lineup of live performances—which include Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winners Melveen Leed, Kawika Kahiapo and Maunalua—and cooking demos by Hale ‘Aina Award-winning chefs are worth sticking around for.


5. Find new favorites.

Shelley Hoist Fine Fiber ArtMarr Artworks Necklace
palm-sheath baskets, vases and purses (left) by fiber artist shelley hoist (@shelley.hoist.fine.fiber.art) and necklaces (right) by kristopher marr (@marrartworks).


Shop around the state—no flights or car rentals required. Along with popular O‘ahu brands, the Made in Hawai‘i Festival will also have plenty of vendors from the Neighbor Islands, and more than 50 brands joining the event for the first time. Some of the new goods we’re keeping an eye out for include: a new line of snackable creations by Chef Chai; Hawaiian hot sauce, in flavor twists such as mango and Kona coffee, from Da Big Island Burn; handmade baskets crafted from palm sheaths, by fiber artist Shelley Hoist; and 100-percent grass-fed beef jerky and beef sticks by Kaua‘i-based RKL Ranch, to name a few. 


The Made in Hawai‘i Festival takes place Friday, Aug. 17, through Sunday, Aug. 19, at Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall and Arena. Admission fee is $6, free for children 6 and younger.