Taiko drumming, Mochi pounding and a ceremonial blessing will signal the start of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Festival.
The festival is one of Hawaii's longest running ethnic festivals statewide. Since 1953, the festival has celebrated Japanese culture in the islands.
From January till March there will be free public events to engage and educate the community about Japanese culture.
The 15 contestants vying for the title of Cherry Blossom Festival Queen will be officially introduced to the public. They will have public appearances throughout the coming months to speak to the community.
The ceremonial blessing and start to the festival will take place Jan. 8 at the Japanese Cultural Center in Moilili.