When you make the move from being a visitor to being a property-owning resident of one of our more traditional Big Island communities, you’ll discover that family and personal milestones are often celebrated with a luau.
Here in Hawi, North Kohala, the local Lion’s Club’s annual luau is a fundraiser for the club’s charitable giving program and a major social event of the season for the community. Over 400 tickets were sold to last Saturday’s luau, which is a pretty significant number in a rural community with a 2010 census population of around 6,000 people!
Unlike a hotel luau with assigned seating, the Lion’s Club luau in Hawi is more like an overgrown backyard BBQ…and in fact, it is in someone’s backyard. Children take off at a run to join their friends, their parents table-hop, and there’s a whole lot of hugging, joking, and “talking story.”
I was standing at the bar table waiting for my glass of chardonnay to be poured when I heard my name called. I turned to see a couple who’d bought a house I had listed at Puakea Bay Ranch. They had closed exactly a year ago, and I’d suggested they come to last year’s Lion’s Club Luau as a way to start meeting people in the community. They greeted me with big smiles and hugs, and gave me the rundown on their first year in Kohala. They’d made a lot of friends and become involved in several community projects. Their kids are doing well in school and love the house.
As I watched them move through the crowd, it occurred to me how special it is to find a community like Kohala (what locals call the Hawi-Kapaau area of North Kohala) that is both tight-knit and welcoming to newcomers. The kind of place where, because there is no mail delivery, the postmaster greets you by name. The kind of place where they carry your groceries out to the car while you pay, and know which car is yours. The kind of place where even in an enclave of $1 million homes, a backyard imu for roasting a pig and a luau for 400 friends and neighbors seems just right.
If you’d like to be walking distance from next year’s Lion’s Club Luau, here are two homes for sale (both listed by Hawaii Life) in this Hawi neighborhood:
This newer ocean view Hawi home on 3 acres is in the Lion’s Club Luau neighborhood (MLS# 239820) offered for $947,000
This Hawi plantation era home on 3 acres planted with fruit trees is a short sale at $800,000 (MLS# 247082)