Some residents, businesses oppose big Waikiki block parties - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Some residents, businesses oppose big Waikiki block parties

An estimated 25,000 people packed along Kalakaua Avenue earlier this month for the "Another Great Year in Hawaii" block party.

The organizer, Millwood Ohana Productions, won the city's lottery to host a total of 11 for-profit events in 2016.

And while the event got rave reviews from attendees, not everyone is a fan.

In fact, the majority of Waikiki Neighborhood Board members aren't sure why the events are allowed to be held.

"The for-profit events basically are the ones that we're not too happy with because they clog up the street," said Board Chairman Robert Finley. " They clog up the traffic and prevent people from coming and going."

The for-profit festival closes Kalakaua Avenue once a month from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Gunnar Robuck, manager of Treasure Chest Coin Company, said the events are fun if you're not working. But he says they make it hard to run a new business.

"Whenever they do the street festival we get maybe two people that night compared to 20 or 30," Robuck said.

Another issue: The board isn't clear how Millwood Ohana's events is providing a "cultural connection," a requirement for the location.

The organizer, though, says he's followed all the rules and is unsure why his events are being singled out.

"We take a lot of pride in our food," Millwood said. "In our varieties of food, It's such a melting pot here. We also have the guys carving the tikis and we have the local musicians, young musicians who are just trying to get their start and we provide a space for them for no charge."

Chuck Otto is one resident who hopes the festivals stick around.

"I would be really upset if they stopped," said Otto, who attended the January event. "It seems like it brought a lot of people together and they were really having fun."

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