A Sea of Culture at Honolulu Festival Parade

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It was three days of sharing traditions, customs and culture.

The annual Honolulu Festival wrapped up with a parade in Waikiki bringing tens of thousands together.

What started out in 1995 as a program between just Hawaii and Japan has expanded into a huge event promoting cultural exchange and harmony between the people of Hawaii and pacific rim countries.

Thousands lined up along Kalakaua Avenue to see the traditional colors and customs of the Pacific Rim countries. For some visitors to Hawaii, it was an opportunity of a lifetime.

"To find out when we're here this festival is going on; it's wonderful we're happy to be here at this time. There's such variety here so many magnificent combinations it's almost breath taking," said Visitor Mary Snyder.

Some parade participants have been to this festival year after year, while others are experiencing the Honolulu Festival for the first time.

"Hawaii is Hawaii, Waikiki is Waikiki is a dream to come here, we only see Waikiki on T.V., on calendars so, coming here is a dream reality," said Parade Participant Allan Samonte.

You cannot get this many nations together, so Hawaii is the best place, said Parade Participant Koki Patsy.

Organizers of the Honolulu Festival feel this event will create a sense of unity among the countries represented in today's parade. They're hopeful future generations will gain an understanding and acceptance of other cultures.

"I think it's real important especially for the young children to get a feel of the people of the world," said Honolulu Festival Spokesperson Arlynne Hurley.

"What a wonderful opportunity for the youth in the area to learn about the other cultures that are in this pacific rim and to be exposed to the different ways of dance dress and to be entertained at the same time," said Mary Snyder.

It was a colorful way to end three days of sharing traditions, customs and aloha.

It's not only a popular event in Hawaii, it's also profitable one. Last year more than 49-thousand visitors and residents took part in Honolulu Festival events spending nearly ten million dollars.