(BIVN) – Organizers of the Big Island Chocolate Festival have announced that this year’s event has been cancelled. The following media release was issued on Tuesday:
Due to limitations on the size of groups during COVID-19, the Big Island Chocolate Festival is cancelled for 2020. The next festival will be April 30-May 1, 2021 at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.
Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), festival proceeds annually benefit a variety of local non-profits. The selected 2020 beneficiaries will be asked to participate for 2021. They include the culinary programs at Hawaii Community College Palamanui, Hawai‘i Island High Schools and Maui Community College, plus Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Friends of the NELHA, Big Island Music & Arts Academy and Kona Dance & Performing Arts. Over the last eight years, the festival has awarded over $140,000 to local beneficiaries.
Event organizers say you can already buy tickets for next year at the Big Island Chocolate Festival website.
Also on Tuesday, the County of Hawaiʻi announced the cancellation of two annual, outdoor events: The Richardson Rough Water Swim and the ‘Ohana Fishing Tournament. The County wrote in a media release:
The County of Hawai‘i regretfully announces the cancellation of this year’s Richardson Rough Water Swim and the ‘Ohana Fishing Tournament in the interest of protecting the health and well being of participants, supporters and staff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state and local emergency rules and policies currently in place, these popular activities present numerous uncertainties and planning challenges.
The Richardson Rough Water Swim is a 1-mile open ocean race held annually that starts and ends at Richardson Ocean Park in Hilo. Last year’s event, the 32nd annual, included nearly 150 competitors.
The ‘Ohana Fishing Tournament is a popular annual island-wide fishing tournament held over Statehood Day weekend that attracted upwards of 350 anglers of all ages and from all over the island. The tournament culminated with the weigh-in at Honokaʻa Gym and the subsequent awarding of prizes across multiple categories, with emphasis on the ‘ohana division. Weigh-ins regularly drew almost 800 people. This event was consistently and generously supported by many of the island’s fishing supply stores, travel industry operations and local businesses.
These events are an expression of our island culture and a point of pride in our community. The Department of Parks and Recreation anticipates resuming both annual events in 2021.