Sunday’s Rice Fest was the seventh annual celebration of the staple grain that is essential to our island cultures. Thousands showed up on Auahi Street in front of TJ Maxx and Pier 1 Imports throughout the sunny afternoon for SPAM musubi and Paina Cafe Poke Bowl eating contests, food vendors and an appearance by the Spamerican! Tour, with a big truck giving out free SPAM treats, T-shirts and other SPAM swag.
The event benefits the Lanakila Meals on Wheels program that helps to feed Hawaii’s hungry seniors. They were on hand to accept monetary and brown rice donations all day.
Here are some of our favorite things from this year’s festival!
This cheerful mascot who alternated between taking pictures with people and dancing in the street.
The rice-loving pups that people brought down with them!
These beautiful poke cones from Aloha Cones.
The extremely popular handmade ice cream rolls from Sweet Creams.
These super cool Rice Love bags made of burlap rice bag material. Every bag bought meant a rice donation to a family in need.
The Pineapple & Rice Creme Brulee Tart from Riceipe Contest winners Chef Andy Dalan of Uber Factory and KITV’s Brandi Higa!
The eating contests (pics from the Paina Cafe Poke Bowl Eating Contest) and people’s faces when they’re scarfing down spicy ahi poke as fast as they can.
The yummy $1 sweet mochi rice stick and beautiful brisket the folks at Da Bolalohan & BBQ Grill were serving up.
This young lady’s beautiful musical tribute, along with her teacher, to Hawaiian music legends Guy and Ernie Cruz, brothers who passed away within a few days of each other last week. Her music was chicken skin!
This pop-up SPAM musubi street art, courtesy of an elusive local artist known as the “Yarn Bomber.”
This shirt, brah.
The awesome folks from Lanakila Meals on Wheels, who help to feed Hawaii’s seniors.
Here’s a few more photos from Rice Fest: