Tatum Viezbicke, 4, pets Sparky the Pony, led by Hannah Hodgins at the 10th Annual Up Country Faire at Christ Church in Kealakekua on Monday. (Laura Shimabuku/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Balloon artist Duane Nishimori, right, hands his creations to a delighted Josephine Killino, 5, at the 10th Annual Christ Church Up Country Faire in Kealakekua on Monday. (Laura SHimabuku/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Kaipo Takaki-Jacobs had one thing in mind when she got to the Up Country Faire at Christ Church Episcopal on Monday morning.
Where was she headed?
“On the bouncy castle,” the 3-year-old said. “It’s fun.”
This year marked at least the 10th year the South Kona church has put on the Labor Day fair, which featured balloon popping, ring toss, basketball shooting and golfing games. Kids could also trade scrips for face-painting and a chance to win goldfish.
The money raised at the event benefits the church, Events Coordinator Beryl Spalding said.
“We have a big campus,” she said, adding the property can be expensive to maintain. The church has several buildings, a cemetery and a Hawaiian immersion preschool on the property.
The sweet, sugary smell of cotton candy mingled with the savory aroma of cooking meat as dozens of parents walked into the church’s parking lot with keiki of all ages.
One of the most popular spots at the fair was Duane Nishimori’s balloon modeling tent. Nishimori, of Hawaii Balloon and Photo in Honokaa, twisted long, skinny balloons into palm trees, complete with coconuts and a monkey clinging to the side, multicolored flowers with petals and fish on a fishing pole. Children and parents gathered to watch Nishimori craft the designs, before handing over their tickets to purchase the inflatable artwork.
Noah Yeaton, 3, scored a fishing pole with a green fish on the end.
“I’ve got a fishy,” he said, waving it around, as he turned in circles.
What’s the fish’s name, an observer asked. “Frankie,” Noah said.
Eleven-year-old Haley Wilkes, and her brother, James, 7, were back at the fair after having attended in previous years. James sported an orange hat, one of many prizes he claimed while using the tickets his parents gave him. He said he also won two swords, a fish and a balloon. With one ticket left, he was deciding how to best spend it.
“I don’t know yet,” James said.
Haley said she was having a good time at the fair.
“I already played a bunch of games,” she said. “The fish game was cool. Riding the horses is pretty cool.”
She was also enjoying watching Nishimori make the balloons.
“I can do a little bit of balloons,” she said, adding she wasn’t as skilled as Nishimori.
Down the hill from the games, parents could find a few prizes of their own at a rummage sale.
The Kona Lodge Free and Accepted Masons was offering free keiki identification cards, using a small scanner to get images of children’s thumbprints and a webcam to capture a photo. The images were saved to a template on which parents can fill in information about a child — name, nickname, address, school — as well as distinguishing marks, height and weight. Dan Miller, master of the Kona Lodge, said parents can also attach a hair or fingernail clipping, to provide a DNA sample.
“It gives the parents a tool to use in case their child becomes lost,” Miller said.
Last year, the group handed out more than 100 of the cards, he said.
The fair was to run through 2 p.m. and feature five-time Grammy Award winner Keoki Kahumoku and magician The Great Baruski.