By Kristen Wong
HONOLULU — With this year’s theme, “Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace,” this weekend’s Honolulu Festival strives to strengthen ties between cultures and ethnicities.
The 23rd annual Honolulu Festival is designed to unite cultures from different regions with exhibits, activities and performances hosted more than 120,000 attendees last year, and is sponsored by the nonprofit Honolulu Festival Foundation and Hawaii Tourism Authority.
“The Honolulu Festival began as a vision 23 years ago,” said Kosuke Kuroyanagi, the public relations committee sub chief for the festival. “The main goal of the festival has been and will always be to promote harmony and understanding between the people of the Pacific Rim, Hawaii and around the world.
Not only does the festival encourage goodwill between all ethnicities and races, regardless of our differences, it also educates the younger generation to strive for world peace. We hope to preserve the traditions and cultures displayed at the Honolulu Festival for generations to come,” he added.
The weekend features events ranging from a Bon Dance to a parade, craft fair and fireworks. For the complete list of multiple events during the festival, visit the festival website, and click on “23rd Event (2017).” Kuroyanagi recommends attending events at the Hawaii Convention Center if your schedule is limited, as it is the biggest venue.
On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., there will be entertainment at Ala Moana Shopping Center, Hawaii Convention Center and Waikiki Beach Walk. For those who enjoy crafts or want child-friendly activities, the Hawaii Convention Center is hosting a craft fair, exhibitions and the Ennichi Corner. At the Ennichi Corner, families have the opportunity to learn a bit of Japanese culture through games, activities and food.
The Hawaii Convention Center will be showing a movie entitled “Persona Non Grata,” a 2016 film about Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who issued transit visas to European refugees during World War II. The film is scheduled for screening on the third floor from noon to 3:30 p.m., in addition to a presentation by Akira Kitade, the author of “Visas of Life and the Epic Journey — How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan.” The center also features five more movies from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the third floor, including “Climbing to Spring” and “Komaneko – The Curious Cat.”
On Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be entertainment at Ala Moana Shopping Center, Hawaii Convention Center and Waikiki Beach Walk. Like Saturday, there will be a craft fair, exhibitions, the Ennichi Corner and an encore of “Persona Non Grata.” Those interested in local food can visit the food trucks featured at WaikiKitchen, at Kapiolani Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At 4 p.m., the public is invited to watch the Grand Parade on Kalakaua Avenue, which includes various cultural demonstrations, performances, bands and floats. At 8 p.m., the public can watch the Nagaoka Fireworks Show at Waikiki Beach.
Honolulu Rainbow Ekiden
The Honolulu Rainbow Ekiden is scheduled for Sunday, March 12. The 5-kilometer run, which includes the coastline and Diamond Head in its course, is open for young and old, in teams or individuals. Online registration is now closed but people may still register in person on Saturday and Sunday at the Honolulu Convention Center.
For more information about the Honolulu Festival events, volunteer opportunities and more, visit www.honolulufestival.com.