About Us

Bringing You the Best of Kona 

Kona is a singular and special place that draws people from around the world to its beautiful shores. In appreciation of that uniqueness, the founders of The Best of Kona Festival decided to organize a celebration that wraps all the amazing aspects of life in Kona together. This one day festival promotes the lifestyle we enjoy and want to share with fellow residents, visitors and newcomers. 

The 2020 Inaugural

Best of Kona Festival

The Best of Kona Festival is a “first of its kind” lifestyle festival in West Hawaii bringing together all the best that Kona has to offer. The festival is being held on February 8, 2020 at the Keauhou Shopping Center from 12 – 6 pm.

Intro to The 2020 festival Venue

Our Team

The Festival co-founders are Julie Ziemelis, Ziemelis Communications and creator of 365Kona-365 Things to Do in Kona, Nichole Lear, owner of 45 Degrees North Design and creator of the Big Island Guide and Aesha Shapiro, owner of Aesha Rose Event and Design and creator of the Ladies Artisan Market. With our combined experience in creating media buzz, social media influence, digital marketing, website and graphic design, event production, public relations and logistics, we make an excellent team.

Julie Ziemelis

Public Relations Director & Co-Founder

Julie Ziemelis, owner of Ziemelis Communications, has been a resident of Kona for 15 years. She is the founder of the Kona Newbies group, author of “How To Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”, co-founded the Big Island Chocolate Festival, blogs daily on “365 Things to Do In Kona” on Facebook, vlogs on YouTube at 365Hawaii, is a passionate supporter of housing opportunities in West Hawaii and volunteers as a board member on Habitat for Humanity Hawaii Island. Using her social influence, Julie is a proponent for sustainability, ocean conservation and visitor education.

Aesha Shapiro

Director of Events & Co-Founder

Born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Artist and Event Planner Aesha Shapiro discovered early on that she had a passion and a talent for creating memorable and unique experiences for people with events and decor. Aesha founded the Ladies Artisan Market (LAM) and the LAM Networking group for businesswomen which has grown to over 1050 members in less than 2 years. Aesha also has her own Event planning business called Aesha Rose Event & Design. Through her event business, she has created Fourth Fridays at Lanihau Center, done countless weddings, and has been the event planner for the Kona Coffee Farmers Expo for the last two years. She is the Marketing Director for the 2020 Big island Chocolate Festival, and is very passionate about supporting the Big Island community through volunteer and outreach work. She is a proud mother to her 5 year old son Arrow and is so excited to be co-producing the Best of Kona festival along her two amazing partners!

Nichole Lear

Marketing Director & Co-Founder

Nichole Lear is the Co-Founder and Marketing Director for 45 Degrees North, a premier advertising agency for over 20 years. The firm has earned more than 120 industry awards in design, marketing and web development. Nichole enjoys working with a diverse clientele and her portfolio includes local and nationally recognized brands. She is proud to help businesses, non-profits and organizations strategically share their message and mission. Nichole also created Big Island Guide, a digital publication focused on tourism marketing and sharing her passion for exploring the Big Island with visitors and residents. Nichole is also an advocate for youth mentorship programs and served as a Big Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters for over a decade.


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