The Okinawan Festival is known as the largest ethnic festival in Hawaii with an estimated 2-day attendance of 40,000. The Okinawan Festival Bon Dance on Saturday night is known as the biggest outdoor bon dance in Hawaii. It is organized and operated by an army of 2,000-plus volunteers from the HUOA’s 50 member-clubs and their extended ‘ohana of Uchinanchu and Uchinanchu-at-heart. Proceeds from the Okinawan Festival fund the HUOA’s cultural programs. The first Okinawan Festival was held in 1982 at McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Park and, subsequently, at Thomas Square. In 1990, the 90th anniversary of the Okinawan immigration to Hawaii, the Festival moved to Kapiolani Park, attracting a larger, broader and more ethnically diverse audience. The move proved to be one of the most successful means of sharing the Okinawan culture with residents and visitors alike.
The Hawaii United Okinawa Association (HUOA) will be “Sharing Uchinanchu Aloha” at the 35th Okinawan Festival, set for Labor Day weekend – Saturday and Sunday, September 2 & 3 – at Kapiolani Park. This FREE event has been voted “Hawaii’s Best Ethnic/Cultural Festival” in the Honolulu Star Advertiser’s Hawaii’s Best People’s Choice Awards (2015, 2016). The Okinawan Festival promises to be a weekend full of delicious food, great entertainment and lots of fun for people of all ages! The Kapiolani Park Bandstand will be the setting for continuous live performances featuring performers from Okinawa, including Rimi Natsukawa, a contemporary Okinawan singer, Radio Okinawa’s 2017 Miuta Taisho (song contest) winner Airi Ishimine, as well as Hawaii’s own cultural arts groups.
Some of the highlights at this year's festival will include: Contemporary Okinawan singer Rimi Natsukawa, the Blue Zones Tent, a Cultural Tent and, of course, the food!
Free parking and shuttles will be available. The Okinawan Festival Shuttle Bus between Kapiolani Community College (KCC) and Kapiolani Park will run continuously during the Festival. Park free at KCC and hop on a cool, air-conditioned bus to Kapiolani Park. A storage compartment on the side of the bus is available for baby strollers and large bags. In addition, the bus drivers will happily assist passengers in getting on and off the bus. The $3 return tickets can be purchased at the Festival Information Booth and Shuttle Stop Booth at Kapiolani Park.
Okinawan Festival Commemorative Pins will be available for purchase for $5 at the Hawaii Okinawa Center (pre-sale), as well as at the Festival Information Booth. Festival pins entitle the purchaser to a FREE round-trip shuttle ride between KCC and Kapiolani Park; $2 off a festival T-shirt purchased at the festival; free azuki beans for your purchased shave ice; a special discount at the Country Store and other coupons for Sunrise Restaurant, Tamashiro Market and Zippy’s.
For more information, visit http://www.okinawan festival.com.
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