Parade cancellation worries Chinatown merchants as New Year fest - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Parade cancellation worries Chinatown merchants as New Year festivities approach

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Chinatown is decked out in red, there's sticky gao along store fronts and children are learning about Chinese culture at an elaborate display.

But the sudden shut down of Saturday's planned block party and parade has taken some spark out of the Chinese New Year festivities.

"It was a heart-wrenching decision to make to cancel this event," said Leonard Kam of the Chinatown Merchants Association.

In a letter, the Chinatown Merchants Association said the cancellation was a result of a lack of funding and vendor participation.

It was a more than 30-year-old tradition along Hotel and Maunakea Streets. Now merchants along the parade route are worried about selling goods they stocked up for the event -- like fried tofu, fungus and long rice.

"Now that the parade is canceled, we are afraid a lot of people are not coming down," said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, president of the Chinatown Business & Community Association.

Eddie Flores, past president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce says his organization's events on Friday and Saturday -- separate from the canceled block party and parade --  are still going to be held at the Chinese Cultural Plaza. 

"Many people called me and I was confused myself too, because I didn't know if it was canceled or not, but it was not canceled." he said.

Flores expects 20,000 attendees. It all starts with Choy Cheng on Friday night where nine lions will fan out from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce offices on Nuuanu and King to visit the Chinatown businesses for good fortune.

"We want the community to come in and see what the Chinese have to offer because we have so many events so many things happening," said Flores.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce's Chinese New Year Celebrations start at 5 p.m. on Friday and run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday at the Chinese Cultural Plaza.

One new feature is the dog costume contest at 11 a.m. on Saturday to celebrate Year of the Dog.

This story may be updated.

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