Valentine’s Fun, Heartfelt Giving

Baby Stella

Happy Valentine’s Day. As you make plans with your ku’uipo (sweetie), what better way to celebrate love than with delicious food? … All aboard! Locovores looking to nurture their inner romantic should mark their calendars for the champagne train, a Valentine’s Day special at the restaurant 22°North. Patrons can tour the farm and gardens of Kilohana via the Plantation Railway while enjoying some bubbly, pupu and the inspirations of food veteran Todd Oldham and chef de cuisine Aaron Leikam in a four-course dinner of ceviche, kale and chevre ravioli, Kaua’i Kunana Dairy chevre, A’akukui Ranch beef tenderloin, seared local snapper and, of course, a rich array of desserts: chocolate decadence and vanilla panna cotta, Kaua’i coffee Anglaise, sea-salt caramel, coconut-macadamia nut tuille, brulee’d bananas, amarena cherries and freshly ground nutmeg. The train tour starts at 5:15 p.m., dinner begins at 6:15. For reservations, call 245-9593. Cost is $75. …

Those who already have Valentine’s Day plans can check out the Garden Harvest Tour Feb. 16. Tour starts at 5 p.m., with pupu and cocktails at 6 in the 22°North Living Room. …

Giving is from the heart, or in the case of Bob Burns, from the blood. Blood Bank of Hawaii recently held its Donor Recognition Breakfast and 70th anniversary celebration at Kaua’i Marriott, and the lifesavers, including Burns, who has donated 176 times over the years, were recognized with commendations from Gov. Neil Abercrombie and county managing director Gary Heu. To give blood, call Blood Bank of Hawaii at 372-9966 to make an appointment or go to the website, BBH.org …

Thanks to the March of Dimes, families like Danny and Kelly Sapp, parents of Estella Grace Sapp (baby Stella), who weighed in at a mere 3.4 pounds and was delivered at just 33 weeks, are able to get the help they need. Those wanting to lend a hand (and get a chance to meet baby Stella and Kelly Sapp) shouldn’t miss the “Team Captain Kickoff” from 7 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at Kukui Grove Starbucks in Lihu’e for the March for Babies walk, slated for April 2. For more information, call Cheryl Ann Farrell at 742-0103…

It’s more than just gathering together, as E Pili Kakou I Ho’okahi Lahui 2011 promises to bring some of Hawaii’s most accomplished kumu hula and cultural practitioners to teach workshops in hula and oli, and to recount tales of the spirituality behind the dance. The three-day cultural festival of sorts will be Feb. 18, 19 and 20 at Kaua’i Beach Resort, and will showcase arts and crafts, food, music and entertainment unique to Hawaii. For reservations, call the resort at 246-5517; for more information, call Blaine Kia at 358-7656 …

It’s time to explore the historic West Side (isn’t it always time for that?) with Waimea Heritage Days. The historic Waimea Theatre and Waimea Plantation Cottages are partnering to offer a series of events beginning 1-3 p.m. Feb. 22, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 23 with demonstrations and workshops on ‘awa and ‘ukulele. Also, from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 24, Waimea Theatre will host Hawaiian storytelling and music by Manu Boyd of Ho’okena. A universal means of communicating cultural traditions, values and beliefs, Boyd’s storytelling and knowledge of Hawaiian culture and history is raised to an art form that some would argue is every bit as culturally relevant as hula, navigation and lauhala weaving. It’s a chance for kama’aina to gain a greater understanding of our host culture’s language, imagery and history. For more information, call Thomas Nizo at 645-0996…

Where magic is now happening on Kaua‘i

It’s also time to mark your calendars for the Waimea Town Celebration, which kicks off Friday, Feb. 25, with entertainment by Second Nature, Makaha Sons, Natalie Ai Kamaluu, Wailoa, Cherry Cherry and Kirby Keohn, and continues Feb. 26 with Kiwini Vaitai, Mana’o Co., High Risk Factor, Pono Breeze and Hoolea. Unfortunately for paddlers this year, the Saturday events don’t coincide with the rescheduled Kilohana Canoe Race, which is slated for Feb. 19. But there should be plenty of fun with crafts, games, a 10K run, RC car race, ice cream-eating contest and ‘ukulele competition. For more information, call Mark Nellis at 651-3368…

Giddyup, paniolo, it’s also time for the ninth annual Waimea Roundup Rodeo Feb. 25 and 26, where steer roping, po’owaiu and barrel racing are just part of the fun. The events heat up Friday, with check-in for cowboys at 10 a.m. and slack roping starting at 11. Saturday’s fun begins at 11 a.m. with the grand entry and flag ceremony, and recognition of the Hall of Fame Cowboys, featuring the island’s most revered paniolo. Don’t forget your paniolo hat and sunscreen. No admission Friday; cost is $3 per person or $5 per car Saturday. Proceeds benefit the Kaua’i Keiki and High School Rodeo Association. Events take place behind the old Waimea Dairy (between Waimea and Kekaha – look for signs makai of the highway). For more information, call Charlene Medieros at 332-8486 …

And for those who are already marking off such a large chunk of February with plans to be on the West Side, why not stop by the grand opening and blessing of MoonBow Magic Gifts from 3 to 6 p.m. Feb. 13 at 3900 Hanapepe Road Courtyard, Unit E in Hanapepe Town? Owner Andrea King, whose motto is “make magic happen,” is proud of her eclectic new digs, chock full of one-of-a-kind jewelry and art. For more information, call 335-5890 …

Kudos to Kaua’i and Maui counties, which were recently lauded by the Environmental Protection Agency for enacting plastic bag restrictions and reducing environmental waste as the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch turns 60 years old. Though it’s been reported that a patch similar to the Texas-sized mass has been spotted in the Atlantic Ocean, too, as the old adage goes, great change begins with a single step. Praising the bag-ban effort, Jared Blumenfeld of the EPA says the leadership shown by the counties would help keep the environment pristine. Similar efforts have been enacted across the United States and also in counties within China, Australia, Ireland and South Africa …

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