Cherry Blossom Festival Names 2017 Honorees

The 24th Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival honors long-time festival contributor Roberts Hawaii and Guinness World Record holder Betty Webster. The honorees will each be recognized at the festival’s opening ceremony. Time is 9 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 4 on the entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center.

Roberts Hawaii

Roberts Hawaii provides complimentary shuttle transportation among a host of festival venues for those wishing to ride, rather than walk, to the many activities. The statewide company provides transportation, tours and entertainment by employees who strive to perpetuate the unique culture of Hawaii. The company’s core values are lokahi (teamwork), kinaole (flawless) and haaheo (pride).

Employees at Roberts are tasked to perform their jobs with a sense of ownership and commitment to the community and to each other. The company takes pride in offering transport and fun in a “safe and service-focused manner.”

“We’re very honored to receive this wonderful recognition by the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival,” said Percy Higashi, president and COO of Roberts Hawaii. “We’ve enjoyed being a part of this special annual event, not only because it celebrates a centuries-old cultural tradition, but because it’s a fun and festive gathering made possible by the community, for the community. Our very best wishes to the 24th annual festival, and a warm mahalo to its many organizers and contributors.”

Betty Webster

“Aunty” Betty Webster of Waimea has the world’s largest sunglass collection according to Guinness World Records. She boasts over 1500 pairs and is known around town for her sunny disposition and love for life. The octogenarian has had numerous stints as a Waimea restaurant hostess and started wearing zany sunglasses “as a conversation piece.”

“I am very proud to be an honoree participating in our upcoming Cherry Blossom Festival,” notes Webster. “I have always enjoyed making people smile and laugh and it is my hope by representing the community at this event I can make that happen. The Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival is a wonderful event that brings together our community and visitors to enjoy entertainment, food, culture and historic activities.”

An avid festival attendee, Webster will be participating with the Waimea Seniors Citizen Club. Wearing a pair of her signature “shades,” she’ll be serving cherry pie at the Senior Center Hall on the Waimea Historic Corner.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival annually celebrates the Japanese tradition of viewing the season’s first blooms, a celebration called “hanami,” which literally translates to hana, “flower” and mi, “look.” Held the first Saturday of February, the festival includes a variety of activities 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at multiple venues throughout Waimea. Look for pink banners identifying site locations throughout town.

Spend the day to experience an all-day lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, fun mochi pounding, plus a host of colorful craft fairs, a large quilt show and food booths. Enjoy free shuttle transportation among most venues. For info, 808-961-8706.

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