HONOLULU — Hawaii Craft and Foodie Fest launches its first twice monthly night market at Ala Moana Center, 4-9 p.m. Aug. 12. The Ala Moana Center Night Market is set for every second and fourth Friday of each month. The next event will be on Aug. 26.

What You Need To Know

  • Hawaii Craft and Foodie Fest’s Ala Moana Center Night Market is set for every second and fourth Friday of each month coming up on Aug. 12 and 26; follow HCFF on Instagram for the latest

  • Kalena Hanohano and her husband, Dane Awana, started up Da Lemonade Squad in June 2020

  • Hanohano founded Hawaii Craft and Foodie Fest in Nov. 2021

  • Hanohano’s words of wisdom: “Take it day by day,” and “Sometimes you have to dare to do it because life is too short to wonder what could have been”

Attendees will enjoy the offerings of more than 25 local food and drink trucks, small businesses, retailers and vendors, as well as a live DJ and music, giveaways, a photo op with The Lei Bus, and fireworks courtesy of Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The food options are plentiful with an array of cultural dishes to choose from, as well as dessert items such as mochi and sweet treats. Find jewelry, Hawaiian print accessories, essential oils, personal care items and more. All are locally owned businesses started by grassroots entrepreneurs.

At the core of this venture for HCFF Founder Kalena Hanohano is supporting the local community. “It will always be about supporting local businesses and having the community come out to enjoy what HCFF offers,” she said.

Hanohano’s journey didn’t happen overnight. It began at the height of the pandemic when she and her husband literally turned lemons into lemonade when they started Da Lemonade Squad in June 2020.

Hanohano and husband Dane's first venture was Da Lemonade Squad that infuses lemonade with local flavors. (HCFF)

Then 31 years old, Hanohano had been an assistant store manager until she had to leave her position to care for her children at home and help with online schooling. Her husband Dane Awana, 35, was a merchandiser who was furloughed like so many others because of businesses having to close their doors. But why lemonade?

“My family and I love lemonade, and anytime we see lemonade, we always get it!” said Hanohano. “We had an idea of wanting to infuse local flavors with lemonade and that’s how our journey of Da Lemonade Squad began.”

The couple set up a pop-up tent on the side of the road with other vendors every weekend, but then the state issued another shut down. They were forced to pack up their tent.

“We couldn’t let that affect us since it was our family’s only source of income,” said Hanohano. “So, we were forced to buy our first wagon in Aug. 2020, which was small, but we made it work. We were considered ‘essential’ to operate (a) business with the wagon, and provided the community with our lemonade. Everything took off after that and six months later, we upgraded to a full-sized food truck.”

Hanohano says the vendor community is very close-knit and although she and her husband could operate out of the food truck, many of her friends who only had pop-up tents, couldn’t. So as a hui, they brainstormed.

Handmade creations are sold by island entrepreneurs. (HCFF)

“I wanted to be able to create an outlet for our vendor friends to stay in business, bring the community together, and have an event to enjoy and bring some goodness to our community as we were locked down,” said Hanohano.

In Nov. 2021, Hanohano launched Hawaii Craft and Foodie Fest. It seems any challenges she and her husband had faced while building their business simply added to the lessons learned in paving the road toward creating HCFF. This was just the next step.

“HCFF loves to support the local and nonprofit communities,” said Hanohano. “We give back a portion of the proceeds from HCFF’s Windward Mall Ohana Night monthly to local nonprofits and do community events such as celebrating the OIA Division II Champions, the Nanakuli Varsity Baseball Team at HCFF’s Westside Night Market at Ka Waihona O Ka Naauao Public Charter School.”

Attendees will find lots of food choices for dinner, snack or dessert. Bring the family so you can try a selection! (HCFF)

For anyone starting a business, she encourages entrepreneurs to never give up, even though it will be rough at the start. “Take it day by day. You’re going to have your good days and bad days, but it’ll be rewarding in the end.”

In these uncertain times of local, national and global issues confronting the population daily, is it a good idea to start something new?

Hanohano said, “You can’t always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes you have to dare to do it because life is too short to wonder what could have been. I live by this quote each day when making decisions in life and business. I don’t want to look back when I’m older and wonder if I did this, how life or business would be.”

For Hanohano, the perfect time is now, and she hasn’t looked back.

Sarah Yamanaka covers events, environmental and community news for Spectrum News Hawaii.