Mahalo to our Sponsors!

December 2008 is coming to an end. It is hard to believe that it will be 2009 in a few days. So much has happened this year and we are all anxious for a prosperous new year. Here at the Honolulu Festival headquarters we will be counting down the days to the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival. We have only three more months to organize our event! So much to do and so little time. And yet all of the volunteers and staff are taking it in stride and feeling very good about the day to day happenings. And one of the reasons for this positive attitude is because of the kindness of our sponsors. It is through the support of our sponsors that we are able to continue our festival.

The Honolulu Festival Foundation will be featuring our wonderful sponsors on our official website. We thought that it would be nice to not only profile their organization but also to highlight some of the things each sponsor does to support our local community. The new “Sponsor Page” is one way for the Honolulu Festival to show our appreciation…a big mahalo.

Here is a picture of our staff interviewing the Director of Customer Experience and Community Relations of Hawaii Superferry…on board the Superferry. Please look forward to our series of articles featuring our sponsors. Aloha.


New Years in Hawaii

New Years is a time for celebrations and parties, in Hawaii this custom is similar to the rest of the United States. But there is something very unique that the local folks in Hawaii do on New Year’s eve, and that is fireworks. Most stores start selling fireworks right after Christmas. The aerials and fountains and other novelty fireworks can be purchased by anyone. Some of the aerials have interesting names such as Tank, King Monster, Morning Glories and Dragon Egg. However the crackers are a different story. You need to be 18 years or older and must have a permit from the city and county in order to buy and play with them. The permit is $25 for 5,000 crackers. And they can only be ignited between 9:00 pm and 1:00 am on New Year's eve. They now sell paperless firecrackers that are eco friendly. I have yet to see how that works but sounds real good to me.

The firecrackers are lit at midnight to bring good luck. According to Asian customs the cracker noise will ward off evil spirits. Personally, I think the smoke and noise is a bit of a nuisance especially for our pets and those with asthma but I guess it’s a special celebration, done once a year, and as long as everyone cleans up their own mess I can’t complain too much.

So Happy New Year everyone and let’s wish for a prosperous 2009 as we light up our firecrackers!


Ennichi Corner at the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival-A Big Hit with the Kids

A new event at the 14th Annual Honolulu Festival was the Ennichi Corner. This was a replica of a typical Japanese Saint’s Day festival. This introduction to children and families to a unique aspect of Japanese family life was such a success that the Honolulu Festival Foundation has decided to make it even better for the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival. Recreating an exciting fair atmosphere, Ennichi Corner will introduce keiki to traditional Japanese games, crafts, food and traditions.

The area will have a variety of games for the children to play, Japanese style. There is the goldfish scooping contest where children were given scoopers made of paper. The challenge is to scoop up as many goldfish out of the water and to put them in a plastic bag before the paper scooper rips apart. Quite similar to this game is the water yoyo hooking game. The hook is linked to a string made of paper so the challenge is to see how many balloons you can scoop out of the water before the paper hook tears. The goldfish game is very popular, we will make sure that we won’t run out of the scoopers. It is fun watching all the children so focused on getting as many goldfish and water yoyos as possible. The parents watching their children seem to enjoy it as well.

The younger children can enjoy the ring toss and cork gun games. There are prizes given for those who win. Other games are kendama (cup and ball game), spinning the top, origami and face paint.

There will be a cotton candy and shave ice corner, always favorites at Ennichi. Our goal is to expand on the food section of the Ennichi and include other Japanese favorites such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki, andagi and crepes. Okonomiyaki are unsweetened Japanese pancakes, takoyaki are round flour batter balls filled with octopus and andagi are Okinawan fried donuts. Everybody loves the food section. Make sure you bring your appetite.

There are many Japanese children who are born in Hawaii and raised speaking Japanese in their homes. The kamishibai, Japanese storytelling, is an opportunity for them to experience something from their homeland. Even the parents will enjoy the stories of old Japan. Nostalgic!

Dressing up in yukata and taking pictures is also a part of the Ennichi Corner. Moms and dads will busy taking pictures of their children in the colorful kimono. Don’t forget to bring your cameras!

Please look forward to more fun and games, food and activities at the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival’s Ennichi Corner. We hope that the children will learn a bit about traditional Japanese customs and have fun at the same time. The Ennichi Corner will definitely bring back wonderful childhood memories for all of us. See you there.


Christmas in Honolulu

'Tis the season to be jolly! Really, it's Christmas and it's time to enjoy the season with family and friends. You are probably accustomed to Jack Frost nipping at your nose, snowball fights, making angel wings in the snow, and all the other fun winter activities. Well in Hawaii it is totally different. Yup, we're still wearing our t-shirts, shorts and slippers! No snow to play in. But the spirit of Christmas is alive and well. Folks are at the beach enjoying the waves. Plenty of opportunity to get together with friends and family. The spirit of spreading good cheer is also alive! Santa Claus is at Ala Moana Center and the children are enjoying the Christmas train rides.

And in downtown Honolulu Hale visitors flock during the day to take pictures and evenings to see Honolulu's Christmas lights.

Here is Santa and Mrs. Claus, shaka sign and all, displayed at Honolulu Hale.
Christmas in Hawaii is unique. It is very special to all of us who have lived here a long time. The only unfortunate thing is that only few homes have chimneys. I guess Santa has to come in from the doors or windows. Santa, if you remember, take off your boots or slippers, please.

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year! Hard to believe that the 15th Honolulu Festival is right around the corner.

Honolulu Festival Foundation


Halloween in Waikiki

Last Friday was Halloween. We had a bunch of trick or treaters in Waikiki throughout the evening. Halloween in Waikiki has become a tradition. I would like to share the event with you through some of the pictures I took.

Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki starts to hustle and bustle from around 7:00 p.m. on Halloween night.

Quite a few people in patriotic costumes. Could be because of the Presidential elections this year.


The ghosts, goblins and ghouls. Always popular. Scary or funny?



Family of trick or treaters. Is that Tarzan’s Family?

Representing Japan.

Baka Tono…translated to “Simple Lord”, simple like in not too smart.

The battery mascot. The “keep going and going” bunny.

Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

The Flintstones, Fred and Wilma! Who are these two?

Some sexy costumes. Sexy cupid with her bow and arrow. Check out her shoes.

Simple but original. Swan couple.

Halloween Cupcakes. Yum!

Chucky the Pumpkin

Folks really enjoyed themselves, partying down Kalakaua Avenue. Thank goodness the next day was Saturday!

This is what you have to look forward to if you’re visiting Hawaii during Halloween. It’s so much fun, you don’t want to miss it!

Honolulu Festival Foundation


Chinese Zodiac Animal Figurines, a tradition of the Honolulu Festival

The Honolulu Festival will be celebrating its 15th year in March 2009. It has become a tradition for the Honolulu Festival Foundation to give away Chinese Zodiac figurines to those who come first to the Hawaii Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
This has become such a popular tradition that many people line up before opening time to collect these figurines each year. There are twelve animals that represent the Chinese zodiac and each year the figurine is different based on the Chinese calendar. As you all know, much of the Japanese culture has been influenced by the Chinese culture and this is true about the zodiac and astrology.
Legends and mythology are a big part of Chinese culture and Chinese Zodiac. The twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac calendar are the rat, buffalo (ox), tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. There are a few legends as to how this came to be. One of the more popular legends is that Buddha invited the animals to participate in a race. The prize was a coveted position on the Chinese Zodiac calendar. The first 12 animals to cross the river would appear on the Chinese Zodiac calendar in the order in which they completed the race. The story tells of how each animal was able to finish earlier than the others. It is quite interesting and much of the characteristics of each animal are used to explain the personalities of people born in the year of that certain animal.
2008 is the Year of the Rat and this is a picture of the figurine that was given away for the 14th Annual Honolulu Festival.

2009 is the Year of the Ox and this is what we will be giving away.

I have been collecting these ever since I have been part of the Festival. I’ve collected four so far so that means I need to get eight more! However next year may be the last year since we have been using this as a promotion for eleven years and the twelfth will complete the cycle. Shucks!

This is what it looked like at the Hawaii Convention Center on opening day a little before 10:00 a.m.

It gets pretty hectic as the doors open!
Please come and join us the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival and try to come before the doors open at the Hawaii Convention Center to collect your Year of the Ox figurine. It might be your last chance. Aloha.

Honolulu Festival Foundation


New designs for Honolulu Festival eco bags

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, we are in the process of setting up online shopping for Honolulu Festival logo goods. Soon, we promise. But in the meantime I would like to introduce some of the new designs for our eco bags.

These examples are just a few of the designs that we have created.
We are planning on having different designs, colors and sizes. So what do you think, have you found anything that suits your fancy?

We are planning on using these eco bags as give aways for our special promotions as well. Don’t forget we will be giving away prizes at our Ennichi Corner for game winners at the Hawaii Convention Center during the festival and these eco bags will be part of the prizes.

We have also designed some T-shirts to go along with these bags.

Pretty neat! Please look forward to our online shopping program. Aloha!

Honolulu Festival Foundation