On the weekend of March 13-14, Hawaii residents and visitors will enjoy cultural exhibits, arts, and music performed by people from countries
throughout the Pacific Rim all available for free. The 16th Annual Honolulu Festival will feature a wide variety of entertaining cultural performances and fascinating exhibits by more than 120 performing groups over two days at four convenient locations: Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center, Waikiki Beach Walk, and Waikiki Shopping Plaza.
Under the banner of 'Pacific Harmony,' the festival's theme is 'Discovery Through Tradition,' and will be highlighted by cultural exhibits and
performing groups representing Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Canada, Alaska, and Hawaii.
The free cultural exhibits and performances are on display Saturday, March 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, March 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival concludes on Sunday with the spectacular Grand Parade along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki, starting at 4:30 p.m., and featuring music, cultural demonstrations and magnificent floats, including the popular Daijayama, or fire-breathing dragon.
At a time when the visitor industry continues to struggle, the festival will provide a much-needed boost. More than 4,700 visitors are expected to visit Hawaii, mostly from Japan, specifically to take part in the festival and are expected to generate close to $10 million in visitor spending.
David Carey, president and CEO of Outrigger Enterprises Group, noted the festivalss value to Hawaii tourism. "Anyone who works in our industry knows how important an event like the Honolulu Festival is to our business," said Carey. "The festival brings in visitors to help fill hotel rooms and use our restaurants, and it encourages kamaŒaina to come into Waikiki and enjoy the festivities."
Cultural demonstrations, live performances and music will be offered at the four festival locations throughout the weekend of March 13-14.
The Hawaii Convention Center will feature an expanded array of cultural offerings, highlighting arts, crafts, exhibits, and foods. Special
activities at the Center all for free include the following:
*Ennichi Corner: Designed specifically for children, Ennichi Corner will offer fun, hands-on activities inspired by the traditional Japanese Saint's Day festival. Children will be introduced to customary Japanese games, crafts, foods and traditions.
*Anime Corner: The popular cultural phenomenon of Japanese animation will be highlighted with a performance by Japanese TV star Momoi Halko, photo-taking sessions with anime characters, video game tournaments, illustrator workshops, and other exhibits.
*Craft Fair: Crafters from Hawaii, Japan and other Pacific Rim countries will display their works of art representing native cultures.
*Movie Showings: The critically acclaimed Japanese films Hula Girls and Departures will be shown Saturday, March 13, in the third floor theater of the Hawaii Convention Center. Hula Girls tells the true story of how the struggling Japan coal-mining town of Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture was revived by a Hawaiian-themed entertainment center in 1965. The film won eight Japanese Academy Awards in 2007. Showing: March 13, 10:30 a.m. Departures tells the story of a man who finds employment in a funeral home after being let go from his job as a cellist. The film won the Academy Award in 2009 for Best Foreign Language Movie. Showing: March 13, 1:00 p.m.
*Band and Choral Festival: The 4th Annual Hawaii Band and Choral Festival will feature performances by bands and chorus groups from Hawaii, the mainland U.S., and Canada.
*Hawaii Cheer and Dance Festival: March 13, 10:30 11:30 a.m., Oahu Room (#313-A)
*Hawaii Band and Choral Festival: March 13, 12 4:30 p.m., Kauai Room (#311)