The 17th Annual Honolulu Festival was held for 3-days from Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13, 2011.
The Educational School Tour was scheduled on the first day for the local schools in Oahu. It was opened to public in the following day where there was a lot of visitors.
Go Beyond the Boarder: United to support the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake
The Great East Japan Earthquake had occurred in the day before the 17th Annual Honolulu Festival on March 10 (March 11 JST). Thus, the participating groups from Japan couldn’t make a visit to Hawaii, which disabled them from attending our festival.
And Yet, we have decided to host the festival as scheduled to support those victims of the earthquake among the participating groups from the countries of Asia-Pacific region and visitors from around the world. Also, the disaster relief fund was set up where there was a donation box in each site of the Stage Performance which a lot of donations were made.
The theme of the 17th Annual Honolulu Festival was “We are all neighbors, around the world”, which served its meaning by supporting the victims.
Various Festivities at 5 Locations
These were the 5 locations where the Stage Performance was held in the following dates:
- Centerstage, Ala Moana Center
- Waikiki Beach Walk
- Waikiki Shopping Plaza
- DFS Galleria
- Hawaii Convention Center
The Hawaii Convention Center was the main venue which is the same as last year. The performers from various countries such as Japan, Hawaii and others performed on stage. Also, there were events such as the Ennichi Corner, Craft Fair and Anime Corner inside the venue. In addition, the Film Festival was held on Saturday, March 12. The bon dance was also introduced for the first time on the same day. Moreover, the Hawaii Music Festivals was held on the 3rd floor, where the atmosphere was different compared to other events on the first floor.
[ Hawaii Convention Center ]
[ Waikiki Beach Walk ]
[ Waikiki Shopping Plaza ]
[ DFS Galleria ]
The venue was crowded than before!
There were more visitors than the previous years. It was so packed with people that you may have difficulty moving around in some areas. There were about 16,300 visitors during a period of 2-days at the Hawaii Convention Center alone.
The queue was starting to form in the morning before the doors opened, which is a typical scene during the festival period. Also, everybody was looking forward to receive a figurine of this year’s Chinese Zodiac animal sign (rabbit) which was made of ceramic and the availability was limited. It can only be received during this time, which explains the reason behind the long queue every year.
Furthermore, the Ennichi Corner was thriving as usual. Both children and adults challenged on various traditional games of Ennichi such as the goldfish scooping, yo-yo fishing, shooting gallery and kendama. Also, there were booths for hands-on experience of the Japanese arts such as origami (paper-folding) and Japanese calligraphy. Many looked concentrated as they listened to the instruction and carried out their given tasks.
In addition, there was a donation box set up by the Ennichi Corner since it is one of the popular events where a lot of people gather around.
Cultural Experiences, Cultural Exchange, Craft Fair and Cultural Exhibitions
More than half of the area inside the Hawaii Convention Center was used for Craft Fair and cultural exhibitions. There were booths of vendors and participating groups from various countries and Hawaiian islands, which provided a place to enjoy many cultural exhibitions, hands-on experiences and buying cultural goods.
Also, the Cosplay Cafe was held this year. It was a great place for taking a rest after a nice walk around the venue. The children were taking pictures with their favorite mascots which they seemed to be enjoying.
The Very First Bon Dance of Spring in Hawaii
The bon dance was held on Saturday, March 12, which was the first time at the Honolulu Festival. We had set up a scaffold called yagura on a corner of the venue which was decorated with paper lanterns. Also, the members of the local bon dance club offered their hands and we were able to create an atmosphere that is similar to the bon dance during summer in Japan. In addition, the Honolulu Festival’s original happi was given out to the first 100 people who participated in the bon dance to raise their spirits. Gradually, a lot of people gathered and enjoyed dancing. It only lasted for about an hour however, everybody was dancing vigorously with excitement.