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Honolulu Festival: Celebrating 25 Years of Cultural Goodwill, March 8-10

February 19, 2019 Visit Hawaii No Comments Email Email

The Honolulu Festival, renowned for its diverse cultural performances, vibrant music, dance and special presentations, and spectacular parade and fireworks show in Waikiki, is celebrating its 25th anniversary, March 8-10.

Presented by the Honolulu Festival Foundation under the banner of “Pacific Harmony,” this year’s Festival theme is “Looking Back to Create the Future: 25 Years of Aloha.”

Building on the Festival’s goal of celebrating the cultural and ethnic ties of people from Hawaii and nations worldwide, this year’s celebration also pays tribute to the sponsors, volunteers, performers, residents and visitors who have made this gathering Honolulu’s highlight event each March for the past 25 years.

“We are very thankful for the support the Honolulu Festival has received from the people of Hawaii and organizations and individuals from far and wide in its first 25 years,” said Tsukasa Harufuku, president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation.

“This year will be another wonderful cultural celebration, featuring fascinating performances, thought-provoking presentations and exhibits and a magnificent 25-minute fireworks show over Waikiki Beach. We encourage everyone to join us in helping to promote a greater understanding of cultural goodwill among all people.”

Two special events at the Hawaii Convention Center begin the Honolulu Festival on Friday, March 8. That morning, the invitation-only Educational School Tours will bring hundreds of students from schools throughout Oahu together with visiting international performers from Japan and other countries.

The evening of March 8 will feature an authentic performance of Kabuki, Japan’s traditional theater drama, by acclaimed visiting artists from Japan. This rare performance, along with others being held that same week at the University of Hawaii’s Kennedy Theatre, marks the first time Kabuki will be performed in Hawaii in more than 50 years.

The public events take place the weekend of March 9-10, with cultural performances at four locations, the Hawaii Convention Center, Waikiki Beach Walk, Ala Moana Center and International Marketplace. Admission is free. More than 100 groups from Asia, Oceania, Europe and South America, as well as Hawaii, are slated to perform. The Hawaii Convention Center will also feature crafts, exhibits, special activities and a film festival.

The festivities conclude Sunday evening in Waikiki with two highly anticipated events. First, a colorful Grand Parade along Kalakaua Avenue will commence at 4:00 p.m., with performers, floats, and cultural displays by groups internationally, as well as from Hawaii.

Following the parade, Honolulu’s sister city, Nagaoka City in Japan, will light up the sky over Waikiki Beach with a spectacular 25-minute Nagaoka Fireworks Show beginning at 8:30 p.m.


Cultural Performances and Exhibits
Saturday, March 9, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 10, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Cultural music and dance performances will be held at four locations: Hawaii Convention Center, Waikiki Beach Walk, Ala Moana Center and International Marketplace. Admission to see the performances is free. In addition, the Hawaii Convention Center will feature a wide array of cultural activities, arts, crafts, and exhibits appealing to all ages, including:

  • Ennichi Corner: Designed specifically for children, the Ennichi Corner will offer fun, hands-on activities inspired by the traditional Japanese Saint’s Day festival. Children will be introduced to customary Japanese games, crafts, and traditions.
  • Craft Fair and Exhibitions: Crafters will display a wonderful variety of cultural art and exhibits.

Japanese Film Festival
Saturday, March 9, 10:00 a.m. – 6:10 p.m.
Sunday, March 10, 10:00 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Enjoy internationally acclaimed movies including Thermae Romae, Yoko the Cherry Blossom, The Vancouver Asahi and Sing My Life. Admission is free, but seating is limited and available on a first come-first served basis. The film festival will be staged on the third floor of the Hawaii Convention Center (room #311) and is co-sponsored by Japan Foundation, Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu and the Honolulu Festival Foundation.

Grand Parade
Sunday, March 10, 4:00 p.m.
Following Sunday’s cultural performances, Kalakaua Avenue will take center stage for the Grand Parade. Festival groups and performers dancing, singing and staging cultural demonstrations will entertain spectators throughout the parade route, along with colorful floats.

Nagaoka Fireworks Show
Sunday, March 10, 8:30 p.m.
The Honolulu Festival will conclude with an extended version of the spectacular Nagaoka Fireworks Show over Waikiki Beach. In celebration of the festival’s silver anniversary, this showcase of world-famous pyrotechnics will last 25-minutes. The fireworks will be shot from barges positioned in the waters at the midpoint of Waikiki Beach, allowing residents and visitors throughout the area to have an unobstructed view of the show.

Educational School Tours
Friday, March 8, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (by invitation only)
Hawaii school students will take a cultural field trip to the Hawaii Convention Center to interact with visiting performers and artisans. Students will get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at many of the Festival exhibits and activities.

Friendship Party “Kabuki Night”
Friday, March 8, 6:25 – 8:40 p.m.
6:25 p.m. – Doors Open
7:15 p.m. – “What is Kabuki” Presentation
7:50 p.m. – Kabuki Performance of Renjishi
Kabuki, the traditional theater drama of Japan, returns to Hawaii for the first time since 1967. Steeped in culture and tradition dating back to the 17th century (Edo period), kabuki is considered an art form that possesses the heart and soul of Japan.

This special presentation for the Honolulu Festival will feature a performance of Renjishi, with acclaimed kabuki artists from Japan telling the classic story of a lion teaching its cubs courage and strength through tough challenges.

Tickets for the Kabuki performance of Renjishi at the Honolulu Festival are $90 per person for ages 21 and older and $75 per person for ages 6-20, which includes a dinner from RINKA Japanese restaurant. Admission is free for children ages 5 and under, with an accompanying adult. To purchase tickets, please click here

All proceeds raised will benefit local students to enhance international understanding and awareness through high-quality educational programs.

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