Kohala Coast, Hawaii
Festival Site Updates
September 14, 2021
Seating and entering the hotel
Seating for services at the Feast in Hawaii
Mahalo for completing the seating survey for the Fairmont Orchid Grand Ballroom and Plaza Ballroom. We have received nearly everyone’s response. You should be receive an email by Sept. 15, informing you of the group you are assigned for reserved seating. The email will come from Nathan Willoughby, the Assistant Feast Coordinator.
As I mentioned before, we will have two groups (Groups A and B). Group A will meet in the ballrooms for the morning service on the holy day, Sept. 21, at 10 a.m. Group B will meet in the ballrooms on the holy day, at 2:30 p.m. And, then Group A will meet in the ballrooms on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m, and Group B will meet in the ballrooms on Thursday morning at 10 a.m, etc., alternating each day and each service.
Ushers will seat you and make adjustments, if possible, and as needed. Please be aware we will be spread out with rows six feet apart and households six feet apart, as per the county guidelines. Frankly, fellowship will be best in the outside courtyard immediately outside the ballrooms, rather than in the ballrooms. Please respect the hotel and county guidelines to social distance, where possible, and wear a face mask indoors or when directed by hotel staff.
We have tried to accommodate everyone’s request to meet together in households and with friends in the same groups. However, we are limited to a maximum of 200 in the Grand Ballroom and 75 in the Plaza Ballroom, by the county’s orders.
Entering the Fairmont Orchid Hotel
Upon entering the hotel, staff may take your temperature and ask to see your phone QR Code (the one you received from Hawaii Safe Travels to fly to Hawaii and will need at the airport before boarding your plane).
For those staying off property, this process may take additional time. Please plan to arrive early and expect delays self-parking and getting into the ballroom courtyard. Enter through the courtyard entrance on the far left as you approach the hotel’s circle drive and main entrance, not the main entrance to the hotel lobby. Please do not arrive late for services or meals. If you are a “no-show,” your seat may be offered to others and you may be seated in the overflow ballroom.
For those staying at the hotel, expect to have your temperature taken and be prepared to show your QR code upon registration. You will be given a “guest bracelet,” which will identify you as a hotel guest, and you will be permitted to exit and enter the hotel and courtyard without repeating the process mentioned above. Please remember to wear your bracelet at all times when you leave your room on hotel property.
This added security is required by the hotel, and is for everyone’s safety. Please respect the posted requirements for social distancing and face coverings at the hotel and other businesses on the Big Island.
Looking forward to seeing all of you in Hawaii shortly!
Hawaii Festival Coordinator
September 8, 2021
Seating survey and other updates
Linda and I are looking forward to an exciting and rewarding Feast this year with all of you! We have had a few cancel their trip to Hawaii for a number of different reasons. However, we still have 430 registered for Kohala Coast, Hawaii. It will be the largest attendance we have had since our first Feast here in 2013!
We had our speakers' meeting last Thursday night and the messages speakers have prepared will be an inspiring and informative line up for our edification, encouragement and inspiration! We are delighted to have Mr. and Mrs. Joel Meeker coming, since they had to cancel their French site plans. We also have several other pastors and elders attending, to round out our speaking schedule.
Below are a few updates and a link to a survey we need you to complete, so we can reserve seating for services.
Sabbath services, Sept. 18 – We will have Sabbath services at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel, in The Plaza Ballroom at 10 a.m. We are expecting about 75-100 for services that Sabbath. See you there, if you are coming in early!
As you all know, we have had some challenges planning and adjusting to the recently added restrictions in Hawaii. Please make sure you check for necessary pre-trip steps before you head to the airport for Hawaii. We will also need to wear face coverings and socially distance while indoors and while in the resort, except for eating and drinking. We want to make sure we follow the local restrictions for the safety of all.
Each hotel/resort hosting meetings has to apply for an exemption with the county to have larger groups meet in approved configurations to limit contact and allow for social distancing. In their third application on our behalf, the hotel was finally approved by the county to allow us to set up the Grand Ballroom at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel for 200 people, and the Plaza Ballroom (next to the Grand Ballroom) for 50-75 people. Families may sit together, but they must be separated by at least six feet from other families, and the rows will be set up six feet apart.
This means we will need to be split into two groups (groups A and B) since we have nearly 430+ registered, and each group will meet for in-person services every other day, and connect to the Hawaii webcast every other day. For example, group A would meet in-person for the morning service on the first holy day and group B would watch the service on COGWA.TV. Then, group B would meet in-person for the afternoon service, etc., for the remainder of the Feast. There are 10 services, and each group would meet in-person for five services, and tune into five services on COGWA.TV. All are welcome to attend the Friday night Bible study.
Please go to the survey link below and complete the three simple steps to reserve your seats. The deadline to complete the survey is TUESDAY, SEPT. 14. We will then send you a confirmation email for your group and your reserved seating.
When you arrive at the Grand Ballroom, the ushers will show you to your reserved seats. If the seating needs to be rearranged (disabled persons needs, etc.), ushers can re-seat you. We will have plenty of room, up to the capacities set by the county.
Of course, the outdoor courtyard outside the ballrooms is still a good place to connect and fellowship. There are also several outdoor spaces at the Fairmont Orchid Resort and elsewhere on the island including the beaches, pools and restaurants that will allow for plenty of fun and family activities.
Activities – The hotel is delighted to host us for the Sunset Buffet Dinner and Welcome Reception at Coconut Grove the evening of the first holy day, and the buffet luncheons between services on the holy days at Brown’s Restaurant on the bay. We are SOLD OUT of tickets for these meals. The hotel is limiting us to 200 for these meals and gatherings to avoid too much social interaction between non-family attendees.
We will also have our Golf Scramble Tournament at the nearby Mani Lani North Golf Course, and the Friday and Sunday afternoon charter sailings of the Body Glove snorkel trips. We still have space for these exciting family excursions. (The Coast Guard controls the boat sailings and the number allowed on board.)
However, to avoid mixing and mingling too much, the county and the hotel have asked us to cancel our family day activity, young adult voyager canoe excursion and breakfast, and the teen, young adult and seniors’ hospitality events in the Paniolo Room. They have also requested that we not have children’s classes, or children’s choir this year. We all realize it can be difficult to keep children apart and distanced in these group environments.
Holy day offerings – To maintain social distancing, and the handling of envelopes, we will not physically take up an offering on the holy days during the Feast. I spoke with Mr. Taylor and he suggested we send in our holy day offerings to Headquarters or contribute online, as we did last year. We will have a black contribution box in the Grand Ballroom for anyone preferring to donate on the holy days at the site.
Hawaiian dress – A few who have never traveled for the Feast in Hawaii have asked about dress for services in Hawaii. Appropriate dress is what the Hawaiians refer to as “Hawaiian business” attire. For men, it includes dress slacks, shoes, socks and nice Hawaiian shirts (no coats and ties are needed). For women, Hawaiian dresses, pants suits, slacks and blouses (locally called, “Aloha wear”). Our dress should reflect modesty that God and others would respect. Please, no shorts, t-shirts or flip flops. We will have “Aloha” lanyards, for name tags, at the Welcome Reception and at the information table (outside the entrance to the Grand Ballroom).
Hawaii Festival Coordinator
August 26, 2021
I have good news, and not-so-good-news to share about the Feast in Kohala Coast, Hawaii. The good news is that we plan to observe the Feast of Tabernacles in Hawaii! The not-so-good-news is that there are additional restrictions that will limit some activities. But, so far, none that will prevent us from keeping the Feast, fellowshipping and enjoying the Hawaiian Islands.
In his address to the elders at the recent International Ministerial Conference, our President, Jim Franks, reminded us that in spite of our ever-changing and often perilous times, some things never change. One that does not change is the command for us to observe God’s annual holy days, including the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 12:4-8).
I was also reading about the great Feast observance at the time of Hezekiah, in 2 Chronicles 30. It states, “They were resolved” to observe the Feast as commanded by God, and they did so with joy (even in the eighth month), and God was very pleased and blessed them in doing so.
During the recent conference I spoke with several elders and pastors and their wives who plan to attend, and they were excited about keeping the Feast in Hawaii, in spite of current restrictions. For those of you who do not know me, I am a “glass half-full” sort of person, not a “glass half-empty” person. I am very positive about holding this Feast in Hawaii!
Like last year, when several sites had restrictions, we kept the Feast with “joy and gladness.” Linda and I attended in Tucson, where we had two meeting halls and reserved seating. Many told me they liked that since they didn’t have to send a family member to the hall early each day and search for seats for their family. Others were in Pennsylvania, where they had to meet in several different rooms because of local restrictions. Again, I was told by those who attended there that they even found that arrangement to work well. They met new friends they may not have found in a larger meeting hall. In short, when we follow God’s commands, He is able to turn the “lemons into lemonade.”
By now, all of us have made reservations, put down deposits, pre-paid for flights, housing, activities and car rentals. There is no need to lose any of that, or disrupt our plans, in my opinion. God has placed His name in Hawaii for the Feast since 2013, and we still have an open door to observe the Feast again this year in Hawaii. As long as that door remains open, we will keep the Feast in Hawaii! It may not be the one we originally planned in all aspects, but it will be a wonderful Feast!
The advantage of a site in Hawaii, is that most activities will be outdoors and numbers are not limited. We are still planning our special Sunset Buffet Dinner and Welcome Reception, our Holy Day Luncheons (taking place on the Bay at Coconut Grove, Brown's Restaurant and the ocean front lawn area). Please note that these occasions will be a great opportunity to meet and fellowship with one another while sharing a meal before the meetings begin and between the holy day services. Also remember, one of the restrictions in Hawaii limits restaurants to 50% capacity indoors. These special banquets we have planned outdoors will help you avoid lines and long waits at other restaurants.
Please reserve your table for these special meals and events ASAP at https://feast.cogwa.org/uploads/Kohala_Coast-Ticket_Order_Form_2021_1.pdf!
Now, some details about dealing with the recently announced restrictions:
- The resort has received the okay from the Big Island County for us to hold our meetings in an “All-safe Plan.” We will be allowed to sit in families/household in the Grand Ballroom, and social distance from other households (like churches in Hawaii). The governor’s recent announcement does not apply to churches or pre-approved resort meetings and venues. Our meetings are not considered “social gatherings,” under the new restrictions. We will also be required to practice social distancing (six feet apart) and wear face coverings while indoors. For your information, no, I repeat no COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in any of the resorts on the Big Island this year, because of their “All-Safe” practices. The recent virus surges are 99% within the local communities.
- We have been asked by the resort to cancel the Young Adults Voyager Canoe activity and the Family Day on the Beach activity, as it would be virtually impossible to maintain social distancing and face coverings during these activities. (Refunds for prepayment will be made to all who have paid. Stop by the Business Office at the site for your refund.)
- The Body Glove Sail and Snorkel trips have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, and are not under Hawaii State restrictions. We plan to have both charters. Send in your payment ASAP to reserve spots for you and your family, if you have not already done so.
- The Golf Tournament (best ball scramble) is outdoors and open to all who wish to participate. Again, if you have not done so, please send in the Ticket Order Form with your pre-payment for this event.
- Please remember to let me know if you plan to be in Hawaii for Atonement or the Sabbath prior to the Feast. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We will all need to follow the Hawaii restrictions for travel to Hawaii. See the announcements and requirements below from GoUS Hawaii’s website:
Looking forward to seeing all of you in Hawaii soon!
Hawaii Festival Coordinator - 818-939-5091
July 29, 2021
Hawaii travel, activity and holy day updates
Linda and I are looking forward to seeing you in Hawaii in just over eight weeks! Here's an update on our Feast and the current public health situation in Hawaii.
We have over 500 registered, and that’s about 100 more than usually attend in Hawaii! We are delighted to welcome the additional people, but the unexpected increase has created a few challenges.
First of all, the room block reserved for our group at the Fairmont Orchid is completely full! I was able to add an additional 100 rooms to accommodate demand but now there are no additional rooms available at our contracted price. In fact, the hotel is nearly sold out, which is unusual since September is not high season for Hawaii. This reflects pent up travel demand for people locked down for 18 months and is driving up airfare and rental car prices. I hope you have booked your accommodations and transportation.
Secondarily, COVID-19 restrictions are still in effect for Hawaii. Travel to Hawaii requires a negative COVID-19 test 3 days before the last leg of your air travel or proof of vaccination (called a "Vaccination Passport"). You may check the link below for more information on planning for travel to and from Hawaii.
- The state of Hawaii is now allowing all travelers vaccinated in the U.S. (the exemption is for those vaccinated in all U.S. states and territories) to skip quarantine without getting a pre-travel COVID test.
- All vaccinated trans-Pacific travelers will need to upload proof of their vaccination to the state of Hawaii's Safe Travels website in addition to bringing a physical copy of their vaccination cards with them when they travel to the Hawaiian Islands.
- Travelers to Hawaii who plan to take advantage of the vaccine exemption should be sure to follow the official steps we've outlined here. Officials in Hawaii have reported that several travelers have continued to arrive in Hawaii without properly following the steps we've outlined on that page.
- For travelers with children over the age of five that have not been vaccinated, we've outlined the travel rules and included several new FAQ's on our Hawaii Travel Restrictions page.
- For those travelers who choose not to get vaccinated, and for all international travelers, the pre-travel testing rules will remain in place until Hawaii reaches a 70% statewide vaccination rate. At that time, we expect all Hawaii Travel Restrictions to be dropped. Hawaii Governor David Ige said this past week he expects that to be sometime in Sept. 2021; though of course that is dependent on the statewide vaccination progress within Hawaii. Currently, the Hawaii statewide vaccination rate, using local state data, and not national data as you may have heard on the news, is 59.4% as of the sending of this email; the percentage has remained approximately the same for the past three weeks. Hawaii has also recently experienced its highest number of COVID-19 cases since Jan. 2021.
- In addition to expanding the "vaccine passport" program beginning on this past July 8th, the state of Hawaii has also been easing restrictions on gatherings and restaurants. Under the new rules, Hawaii restaurants are now able to move to 75% capacity.
Current meeting restrictions are inconvenient, but they will not adversely affect our ability to assemble and fellowship. Currently, face coverings and social distancing are required indoors. Please pray that we can meet without these restrictions. It would make our stay in Hawaii more enjoyable. Even with social distancing, we have the space to accommodate everyone. The hotel has given us their Grand Ballroom, which normally seats 1,170 theater style. We will configure reserved seating for family groups and most everyone will be able to sit in the Grand Ballroom. We also have two overflow rooms reserved if needed. The hotel has been very helpful to accommodate our needs under different scenarios.
Activity sign up
The wonderful climate of Hawaii allows for all of our activities, including our special buffet meals, to be held outside on the bay beach and lawns, and face coverings are not required outside. Please remember to order your tickets for our pre-paid meals and activities. We have to plan well ahead for these events so send in your ticket orders as soon as you can! Here is the link: https://feast.cogwa.org/uploads/Kohala_Coast-Ticket_Order_Form_2021_1.pdf
The Sabbath prior and Day of Atonement plans
If you plan to be on the Kohala Coast for the Day of Atonement, Thursday, Sept. 16, and would like to meet, please let me know. Some people would like to get together for the holy day and a service.
If you plan to be in Hawaii on the Sabbath before the Feast, Saturday, Sept. 18, you can attend morning services at 10 a.m. at the hotel with us. Please email me at email@example.com if you will be there either of these days and how many plan to attend so we can set up the room appropriately..
Please contact me with any questions.
Hawaii Festival Coordinator
June 30, 2021
Activity descriptions and schedule
May 17, 2021
New housing information
Reservations can now be made online through the following link: https://book.passkey.com/go/CHUR0921001.
You can only reserve one room at a time. If you'd like additional rooms, you will need to complete the first reservation, then make another reservation.
If you'd like to make your reservation by phone, the hotel direct reservation line is 808-885-2000.
As a reminder, early housing reservations begin today, May 17, and general housing reservations begin next Monday, May 24.
We will be returning to the Big Island of Hawaii this year for the Feast, meeting at the Fairmont Orchid, a hotel and resort about a half hour north of the city of Kona. This is a very popular resort area on the “dry side” of the Big Island.
This area north of Kona, on the west side of the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, is the world-famous Kohala Coast.
We will be returning to the four-star Fairmont Orchid, which hosted us in 2017 and 2019. The Fairmont Orchid is located on over 33 acres of lush, tropical, oceanfront grounds that include not only the resort with its seven restaurants, but also a private bay with a children’s beach, two championship golf courses, a fitness center, spa, 10 tennis courts, pools, gardens and coastal hiking trails through a historical park.
We are expecting between 300 and 400 to attend the Feast on the Big Island this year. All of our services and meetings will be held in the ballroom at the resort, where we have reserved a large block of rooms at deeply discounted rates.
The hotel is offering us complimentary meeting space for our services and activities if most attendees stay at the hotel. Those staying at the hotel will help save the Church thousands of dollars in rental fees, and we appreciate your support in reserving rooms and staying at the hotel during the Feast.
There is plenty to do and see on the Big Island—sightseeing, shopping, fine dining, ocean water sports and beaches abound. Organized Feast activities will include Family Day on the beach, a teen beach party, a young adult kayaking and snorkeling excursion, a family sailing and snorkeling adventure, and a traditional Hawaiian luau.
You will find plenty of helpful information and pictures on our Facebook page—COGWA FOT – Kohala Coast, HI. We look forward to seeing you on the Big Island! Aloha!
Fragrance-controlled room available: No.
Tax rate for accommodations: 14.416 percent.
Closest airport: Kona (KOA), 23 miles.