Starting with Kauai’s biggest little town of Hanapepe, art nights have popped up and begun to flourish all over Kauai. Art nights are not just about the artwork on display, although that has much to do with it. It’s about the artists, craft makers, clothing designers, food purveyors, and live entertainment that light up the evening. Art nights have quickly made its mark on Kauai’s social scene, turning visiting small towns into an eclectic experience that visitors and locals have come to love.
Hanapepe Art Night
Every Friday, from 5-9 pm, the town of Hanapepe comes alive with Hanapepe Art Night. Once upon a time, Hanapepe was a lively and thriving port town with all commodities and goods arriving on Kauai through the nearby docks. As Kauai developed and grew, the official port of call moved central on the island and Hanapepe’s economic vitality significantly slowed until it became a town of empty buildings. After Hurricane Iniki in the early 90’s, the town was all but deserted.
That all changed in the early 2000s, when small art galleries began to pop up in the town. Slowly, the town began to reinvent itself into a destination where visitors could experience old Hawaii town, outfitted with clapboard style buildings and a quaint swinging bridge that connected residents of Hanapepe Valley to the main town. Then came Disney, using Hanapepe Town as their inspiration for the town featured in the film Lilo and Stitch. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Hanapepe Art Night has become its own attraction and thousands of visitors flock to the small town each year to stroll through the art galleries, shop the local crafts, and taste some delicious food truck delicacies. Banana Patch studio has a variety of handmade items, including kitchenware and other goods handpainted in their studio that is adjacent to the shop. It’s common to see artists painting while you through their store. Another popular spot is the Talk Story book store, the owners encourage talking and connecting through conversation while shopping their collection of new and used books. While shopping, don’t forget to pick up some taro chips to snack on from the Taro Ko factory. Lastly, pick up a custom made dress at Machine Machine apparel, many items made from recycled mu’u mu’u (Hawaiian gowns) and Hawaiian shirts.
Old Town Kapaa Art Walk
If you are planning to drive through Kapaa Town on the first Saturday evening of each month, you may want to reconsider driving through and instead stop and have some fun! From 5-9 pm, Kapaa Town is the place to be with live music and sidewalk vendors on every corner. Businesses stay open late to showcase their unique offerings, while people are encouraged to meander in and out of the number of bars and restaurants lining the streets.
Kilauea Art Night
On the north shore of Kauai, the once sugar plantation town of Kilauea is home to some of Kauai’s most unusual and one-of-a-kind shops, especially at the centrally located Kong Long Center. Kilauea also has a monthly art night, held on the last Saturday of every month from 4-8 pm in the heart of town. One of the most exciting, can’t miss attractions – the Keiki Fire and Light performance held at 7 pm on the back lawn of Kilauea’s historic stone building. Pottery makers, fine art, beauty products, apparel, and baked sweets are all for sale from local vendors. Eat your way through art night with delicious fresh baked pies by The Right Slice, gourmet hot dogs from the Porky’s food truck, and homemade Hanalei Pasta. Art, music and entertainment make this a can’t miss event on Kauai’s north shore, which is not normally known for exciting nightlife.
As with all popular art walks, parking is limited at all three of these events. It’s best to go early to find parking and enjoy the sights before the larger crowds converge. Remember to bring cash for some of the smaller vendors and most of all, bring your appetite and desire to have a good time. Art night is the new way to pa’ina (party) on Kauai, all while appreciating some of the finest art and culture offered.