Friday, February 5, 2010

Waipahu Festival Marketplace is amazing

The opening of the Waipahu Festival Marketplace in late 2007 was met with great anticipation. This project was developed to revitalize an area that had seen tough times since the closing of the Oahu Sugar Plantation in 1995.

Situated in a well-known part of Waipahu town, Waipahu Festival Marketplace occupies the former Big Way Supermarket site, across the street from what used to be the famous Arakawa’s department store and below the landmark Waipahu sugar mill smoke stack. The new wooden structure was designed to blend in with its surroundings so it has a definite ‘plantation’ look to it which is perfect.

The air-conditioned marketplace features over 20 vendors selling fresh, island produce and fruit, ocean and fresh water fish and seafood, tropical flowers, food, crafts, and more. It doesn’t look like they have any available space but, occasionally, a new vendor moves in – such as the recent addition of Sushi on Wheels. In addition to the ‘regular’ tenants, a number of kiosks in the marketplace are set aside to accommodate emerging entrepreneurs.

The vendor stalls and layout will remind first-time visitors / shoppers of farmers or open-air markets ... check out the photo gallery that follows.. It’s crowded with people doing their daily or weekly shopping. Prices are mostly hand-written and posted. And it has the unmistakable aroma of a marketplace.

Waipahu Festival Marketplace celebrates Hawaii’s cultural diversity in the products that are available for sale and the entertainment that it offers. It is a project of the non-profit Waipahu Community Association.

Address: 94-340 Waipahu Depot Street
Phone: 808-677-6939
Hours of operation: M-F 8 am-6 pm, Sat 8 am-5 pm,
Sun and Holidays 8 am-3 pm

Photos by Sandi Yara

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