The 17th Annual Honolulu Festival was held for 3-days from Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13.

The Grand Parade was held on the final day on Kalakaua Avenue from 4:30p.m.
This year’s Nagaoka Fireworks got canceled due to the Great East Japan Earthquake. It is known as one of the highlighted events at the Honolulu Festival every year. However, the officials of Nagaoka City couldn’t make a visit to Hawaii. Also, there were many participating groups from Japan that were affected by the disaster, which their shows were also canceled. Hence we altered some parts of the program to adjust the schedule.

The Grand Parade Began with Great Anticipation
The spectators were already gathered by the roadside from an hour before the opening. They were waiting for the parade in the heat, where the sunlight was still intense even though the sun was starting to set.
img001The opening performance was held in the Performance Area, which was set up on the streets of Kalakaua Avenue before the parade.
Dai Hirai and the children of Niu Valley Middle School Concert Band performed a theme song for the Honolulu Festival titled ONE LOVE ~Pacific Harmony~ in front of Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa where the special guests were present. It was followed by the cheerleading team of Inha University from Korea, which they showed vigorous dancing performance.


Dai Hirai of Japan and the children of Niu Valley Middle School Concert Band perform.

Dai Hirai and the children of Niu Valley Middle School performed together.

The cheerleading team from Korea's Inha University show their stuff.

They are the cheerleading team of Inha University from Korea.

After the opening performance, the parade officially began with a police motorcycle barricade which led the parading routes.

One of the famous ukulele players, Jake Shimabukuro made the first appearance this year. He was in a convertible holding his ukulele in one hand. Also, he offered to do a charity concert to help raise funds for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. He said he thought of ways that he can contribute in which he concluded to hold a concert.

Next appeared was the Mayor of Honolulu, Peter Carlisle. Then followed by the performance of the Okinawan sanshin and drums led by Choichi Terukina, who is a founder of Ryokyu Koten Afuso-ryu Ongaku Kenkyu Choichikai in which he is recognized as a Living National Treasure of Japan. Their Okinawan rhythm brought excitement to the parade.


Jake Shimabukuro, shaka sign and ukulele.

This is the famous ukulele player, Jake Shimabukuro.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle was all smiles.

This is the Mayor of Honolulu, Peter Carlisle.

Master Terukina Choichi of Ryukyu Koten Afuso-ryu Ongaku Kenkyu Choichi Kai.

Choichi Terukina is a founder of Ryokyu Koten Afuso-ryu Ongaku Kenkyu Choichikai.

Members of Hawaii United Okinawa Association.

They are the members of Hawaii United Okinawa Association.

Various Countries of the Asia-Pacific Region Gathered in Honolulu
There were participating groups from various countries of the Asia-Pacific region such as China, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippine, Australia, Samoa, Alaska and Japan. One of the appeals of the Honolulu Festival is that the guest can enjoy variety of cultural dances, music and garments just by watching the parade. In addition, there were many dancing performances such as the hula dance, yosakoi dance, modern dance and cheerleading dance. Also, the cultural performances were performed such as the Japanese traditional art called Nankin Tamasudare.

The colorful and long Chinese dragon circles around Kalakaua Ave, performed by members of the Chinese Chamber Commerce of Hawaii.

The colorful  long dragon runs through Kalakaua Avenue which was performed by the members of the Chinese Chambers of Commerce of Hawaii.

Mikoshi and the loud cheering by the supporters depict the true essence of MATSURI. Members of Inaho Adult Mikoshi perform.

They are the members of Inaho Adult Mikoshi. The mikoshi with spirited shouts represent the Japanese festival.

Crowds gather from one end of Waikiki to the other. Lots of smiles and cheers.

There were a lot of cheers and applauses by the spectators on the roadside which was packed with people from the beginning of the streets to the end.

The colors and brilliance of the performers from Taiwan stand out among the crowd.

The strong visual and bright colored costumes of the members of TAIWAN stood out from the rest.

The experienced Hellgate High School Band from Montana has participated in many  parades. And now, the Honolulu Festival!

They are the members of Hellgate High School from the state of Montana. They have participated in numerous parades around the U.S.

Hilo Hattie's gigantic Aloha Shirt holds a Guinness World Record. The size of this shirt…400 XL!

This Hilo Hattie’s giant aloha shirt holds a Guinness World Record. Surprisingly, its size is 400 XL!

The folk music and dance of Korea performed by The Korean Traditional Music Association of Hawaii. Their taiko and dora (small gong) resonate.

The members of the Korean Traditional Music Association of Hawaii performed a Korean folk music called pungmul. The sound of gongs and drums echoed on the streets.

Oedo Tamasudare group show their techniques of creating many designs with their sudare. This is a traditional form of Japanese street entertainment.

The members of Oedo Tamasudare performed a traditional Japanese art, which they created various shapes of tamasudare.

The Alaska Native Heritage Center members continue to preserve their culture and traditions.

The members of the Alaska Native Heritage Center Dancers continue to protect and preserve their Alaskan culture.

The rhythmical Samoan dance by Sogaimiti and Malu Community makes the crowd want to dance too.

The members of Sogaimiti & Malu Organization performed a rhythmical Samoan dance, which made us want to start dancing.

Members of the NHK Mito Komaki Kei Hula Halau brighten up the parade with their red costumes and exuberant smiles.

The members of the NHK Mito Komaki Kei Hula Halau have brightened up the parade by their red costumes and delightful smiles.

Ysleta High School cheerleaders from El Paso, Texas have won many competition titles.

Ysleta High School Cheerleaders from El Paso, Texas holds many cheerleading titles.

The Descendance from Australia perform an aboriginal dance depicting their traditional ways of living with nature.

The members of Descendance from Australia performed an Australian Aboriginal dance that depicts a theme of a man coexisting with nature.

The Vietnamese Student Association of Hawaii parade down Kalakaua wearing their traditional Aozai.

The members of the Vietnamese Student Association of Hawaii paraded in a Vietnamese national costume called the ao dai.

The Sumo Mikoshi from Hilton Hawaiian Village sways slowly, from left to right, down Waikiki.

The Hilton’s Sumotori mikoshi owned by Hilton Hawaiian Village moving slowly left to right as it made the appearance.

The Hirosaki Neputa is paraded with the support of volunteers. The gallant faces painted on the lantern shines in the darkness.

The valiant face painted on the lantern of Hirosaki Neputa appeared in the darkness, which was led by the members of Hirosaki Neputa Manji Kai with their volunteers.

The Chibikko Honolulu Daijayama made by local volunteers debuts at the Honolulu Festival for the first time.

The Chibikko (small) Daijayama made a debut, which was created by the local volunteers.

The fire bell heard throughout Waikiki announced the coming of Hawaii's own mikoshi, Honolulu Daijayama.

The Honolulu Daijayama made the appearance as the ringing sound of bell echoed in the city of Honolulu.

Reaching to the Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake from Honolulu
The Great East Japan Earthquake had occurred the day before the 17th Annual Honolulu Festival and Japan was hit by tsunami. The moment of silence was given for those victims before the parade. Everybody including the spectators gave their silent prayers. Also, the fundraising activity was held in between times. Many reached their hands to make a donation. Furthermore, there were groups that raised money on their own during the festival period. A lot of people gave their warm support to raise the donation at the 17th Annual Honolulu Festival.

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The Honolulu Festival Presents
Jake Shimabukuro’s Charity Concert for the Japan-Hawaii Relief Fund 

imges05Jake Shimabukuro’s Charity Concert for the Japan-Hawaii Relief Fund was held after the Grand Parade. Despite of a sudden event, there were 800 people gathered by the Waikiki Beach Walk where the show took place. Also, Manoa DNA and Dai Hirai agreed to participate in the concert.

The concert was only held for about an hour however, it raised $15,000. We would like to express our appreciation for your donation.

We will continue to raise money for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake through our Honolulu Festival’s website.

Thank you very much for all your support!

[ Honolulu Festival: Donations for Tohoku Kanto Earthquake Victims ]

Dai Hirai

Dai Hirai

Manoa DNA

Manoa DNA

What a great turn out.

A lot of people came to see the charity concert.