HONOLULU – The Honolulu Festival returns for its 20th year with an exciting celebration of Asia Pacific culture showcased through music, dance, crafts, arts, exhibits, and special presentations before concluding in Waikiki with a parade and fireworks show, March 8-9.
The Festival is free and open to the public with a schedule of dynamic performances taking place at three convenient locations – Hawaii Convention Center, Waikiki Beach Walk, and Ala Moana Center – on Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9. Presented by the Honolulu Festival Foundation under the banner of “Pacific Harmony,” the Festival’s goal is to help perpetuate the strong cultural and ethnic ties between the people of Asia Pacific and Hawaii, a commitment conveyed in this year’s inspiring theme: “Jubilation, One Heart, One Pacific, One World.”
“It is vital that we continue to celebrate and learn about the diversity of cultures that surround us. We’re very proud that this marks our 20th year of bringing together the people from Asia Pacific to Hawaii for a memorable weekend of free cultural entertainment and exhibits,” said Keiichi Tsujino, president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation.
Since 1995, the Honolulu Festival has been a major contributor to Hawaii’s tourism economy during a traditionally off peak travel period. In its first 19 years, the Festival has brought tens of thousands of visitors to Hawaii from Asia Pacific and generated an estimated total of $175 million in visitor spending. This year, an estimated 5,000 people will participate in the festival, comprising more than 150 groups from the Pacific Rim and Hawaii.
“The Honolulu Festival is a weekend of joy built on cultural appreciation between Hawaii and our friends throughout the Pacific Rim, and I congratulate its organizers on the 20th anniversary of making this annual celebration possible,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “This year’s impressive variety of events and performances will present a wonderful experience for everyone to enjoy and I’m pleased to see that Honolulu’s sister city, Nagaoka, will bring the festivities to a grand finale with its incredible fireworks display over Waikiki.”
The weekend of cultural festivities will conclude Sunday evening in Waikiki with two highly-anticipated events. First, the always-entertaining Grand Parade will commence at 4:30 p.m., with performers, floats, and groups from Asia Pacific and Hawaii making their way along Kalakaua Avenue. Following the parade, Honolulu’s sister city, Nagaoka presents the spectacular Nagaoka Fireworks Show that will light up the night skies over Waikiki Beach, starting at 8:30 p.m. In tribute to the Honolulu Festival’s 20th Anniversary, this year’s 20-minute Fireworks Show promises to be the biggest and brightest pyrotechnic display yet, with fireworks being shot from four barges positioned off Waikiki Beach.
“Honoring cultural diversity is one of Hawaii’s admirable qualities and the Honolulu Festival deserves enormous credit for encouraging all generations to develop a deeper understanding about Asia Pacific and its people over these past 20 years,” said Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui. “I encourage everyone, especially families with children, to make time in their schedule the weekend of March 8-9 to experience the Honolulu Festival and interact with these special visiting performers as they share their culture with us.”
David Carey, president & CEO of Outrigger Enterprises Group, added, “We’re looking forward to another exciting Honolulu Festival and welcoming to Waikiki Beach Walk the many groups and organizations participating in this year’s event. With the expansion of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts across the Asia-Pacific Region, our ongoing participation in the Honolulu Festival becomes that much more significant as we celebrate the music, art and cultures of the new global destinations where travelers will find the Outrigger brand.”