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Visitors participate in an activity with Kona Historical Society

Coffee, Canoes, and More: Learn About Kona’s Rich History at These Kona Historical Society Events

The Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii. They are able to achieve this mission by operating a full calendar of events each month, with activities that allow visitors to get hands on with history, lectures that offer unique educational opportunities, and tours of their facilities that help to bring history to life.

Kona Historical Society operates from two locations: their Kalukalu Headquarters, located at 81-6551 Mamalahoa Highway in Kealakekua and the Kona Coffee Living History Farm at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook. Memberships help to keep the Society operational and providing these great services — consider joining today. You can learn about membership on their website.

Here are four upcoming opportunities to learn more about Kona Historical Society and the amazing stories that they help bring to life.

Holoholo Saturday at Kona Coffee Living History Farm – Free Admission Day!

The Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook is opening its doors for free to Hawaii residents this Saturday, February 29. This complimentary admission day, called Holoholo Saturday, is offered the last Saturday of every month through 2020 by Kona Historical Society. Holoholo Saturdays is an event aimed at encouraging Hawaii residents to visit a historic place they’ve never explored, return to an old favorite, or simply pop by to get a quick hit of history and culture while on their weekend journey. It’s supported by a grant from the Freeman Foundation, allowing Hawaii residents to visit for free (with valid ID). Hawaii Island visitors are welcome at Holoholo Saturdays and are subject to the following admission: $15 for adults and $5 for students (children ages 7 to 17). Kona Historical Society members and children under age 7 are always free (see annual membership meeting event below for more information).

During Holoholo Saturdays, a featured Hands On History activity will be offered. Hosted by Kona Historical Society’s Museum Programs Staff and volunteers, Hands On History activities help farm visitors explore Kona’s history in a deeper and more sensory way. On February 29, farm visitors will learn about games children played while growing up on the Kona coffee land and can make their own toy buzz saw to keep as a souvenir.

This historic 5.5-acre working coffee and macadamia nut farm is located at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook, on the makai side, between mile markers 110 and 111. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Holoholo Saturdays. Kona Historical Society’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm is significant for its association with the development of coffee farming in the Kona districts and for its illustration of the gradual process of acculturation of immigrants to Hawaii. It is an amazingly intact example of the typical structures that shape the coffee farm lifestyle and technology used from 1900-1950 by coffee farmers in Kona. As the only living history coffee museum in the U.S., it provides the public the chance to see the process of cultivation, harvest, maintenance, as well as experience the final product of Kona coffee and cultural traditions that comprise Kona’s rich history.

Visitors participate in an activity with Kona Historical Society

Girls’ Day Doll Making

On Tuesday, March 3, visitors to KHS’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm (82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook) will have the opportunity to participate in some of the beloved traditions that make up Girls’ Day (Hina Matsuri), a Japanese holiday observed by a variety of families in Hawaii. Inside the historic farmhouse, the public will see a display of elaborate dolls, generously provided by Kona Historical Society members Antu Harvey and Paul Schneider of Holualoa. This doll set is called hina ningyo and represents the Japanese emperor, empress and their court, all in traditional costume and often seated on tiers. Families with young daughters display these doll sets starting in late February. The dolls are immediately taken down after March 3 to avoid a superstition: some people believe dolls left on display too long delay the marriage of the family’s daughters. Kona Coffee Living History Farm visitors can also make their own paper dolls. In addition, the farm will have arare, bite-sized rice crackers, for visitors to eat as a snack.

Visitors participate in an activity with Kona Historical Society

Kona Historical Society Annual Membership Meeting

To be even more involved in the work that KHS is doing, consider becoming a member. Their annual membership meeting, held on Tuesday, March 12 this year, promises to be an exciting one. The event will be held at KHS’s Kalukalu Headquarters, located at 81-6551 Mamalahoa Highway in Kealakekua. This year’s event includes a special pop-up exhibit that shares a sneak peek of treasures that include artifacts and photographs from the Society’s collections. The pop-up will help to illustrate the Society’s work on its current capital project, a building planned for the Kalukalu Headquarters that will serve as an exhibition space, displaying similar artifacts and photographs. Members will have the opportunity to learn more about the capital project, as well as participate in the election of a new Kona Historical Society Board President and the re-election of the existing Board of Directors.

Light refreshments from Lilikoi Farms Catering, KTA Express-Kealakekua and Kona Brewing Company will be served. Attendees will be entered in a raffle for several exciting prizes, including a Body Glove Hawaii tour and admission to one of Kona Historical Society’s award-winning Jeep Trip programs. The event is open to the public, but you must become a member to attend. You can do that, and RSVP for the event, by calling 808-323-3222, emailing khs@konahistorical.org, or signing up online. Kona Historical Society’s membership levels start at just $35 per year and are tax-deductible donations. Members enable the Society to fulfill its mission by providing excellent programs for the community to learn from and enjoy. Members are granted free admission to Kona Historical Society living history programs, 10 percent off all purchases in its Kona Coffee Living History Farm kiosk and online, and access to exclusive member events.

Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture: “Heart of the Wa‘a”

The next installment of Kona Historical Society’s Hanohano ‘O Kona: Wahi Pana Lecture series will be held on Wednesday, March 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, which sits on the shores of Kamakahonu Bay and Ahu‘ena Heiau. This free lecture will delve into the significance of Hawaii’s relationship to its natural surroundings and connection to the ocean through Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing. From the importance of koa trees and canoe carving, to the people preserving these cultural traditions, the distinguished presenters, including respected kupuna from different canoe clubs, will share the history and stories of canoe culture.

“Our journey to document and amplify the voices of Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing are part of a movement to capture intangible cultural heritage. In listening to these stories, you’ll discover the Big Island’s pivotal role in shaping outrigger canoe racing for the world,” said Alexis Ching, the keynote speaker and a lifelong paddler with a background in Anthropology and qualitative research. “We are fortunate to still have kupuna willing to share their wisdom and their stories of long ago. It is important to document these histories so future generations may understand the depth in which Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing shaped communities and made its mark as a sport in the world.”

The Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel will be offering discounted parking to attendees, who must present their parking ticket to Kona Historical Society staff at the event’s welcome table. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase at this lecture.

To learn more about Kona Historical Society, its programs, historic sites, and special events, like Kona Historical Society on Facebook or visit konahistorical.org.

All photos courtesy Kona Historical Society.