HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some 30,000 revelers are expected to flock to Chinatown this weekend for Chinese Lunar New Year festivities.
That’s good news for merchants.
Last year, block party and parade hosted by the Chinatown Merchant’s Association was canceled.
Businessman Sam Say said the cancellation hit everyone hard.
“Some people were upset because they came down and they couldn’t find any vendors and they asked me what’s going on,” he said.
Neighborhood board chair Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock said the merchants association that puts on that puts on the block party and parade has a lot to make up for.
“Last year, they dropped the ball," she said. “A lot of people lost money and a lot of people planned trips with their kids. People from neighbor Islands came out because they wanted to come to this parade."
Leonard Kam represents the Chinatown Merchants Association and said many of the vendors pulled out last year because of bad weather the year before that. He said they’ve learned lessons from 2018 and are excited to bring the parade and block party back on Saturday.
“The vendors are coming back, so it’s helping us secure the capital," Kam said. “Also, the city is coming in and helping us with services and we got a grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority."
On Friday evening, Mayor Kirk Caldwell helped kick off the festivities, lighting a large string of red firecrackers.
"The city stepped up in a big way this year to help subsidize this parade because it brings a lot of celebration, a lot of revenue and a lot of good things in Chinatown," said Caldwell.
Saturday’s block party kicks off at 8 a.m. on Maunakea, Pauahi and Smith streets.
The parade begins at 4:30 p.m. at the State Capitol and proceeds on Hotel Street all the way to River Street.