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Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival to Celebrate Silver Anniversary

Celebrating a quarter of a century, the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The 2018 event will mark festival’s silver anniversary, which showcases the blooming of Church Row Park’s historic cherry trees and the Japanese tradition of viewing them—hanami. Hanami celebrates the fleeting beauty of nature while heralding the arrival of spring.

Always held on the first Saturday of February, the festival is often back-dropped by a wintery white summit atop Maunakea while Church Row Park is festooned in pink blossoms.

The family festival originated in 1994 under the direction of former county Parks and Recreation Director George Yoshida.

Festivities includes a wide variety of activities at multiple venues throughout Waimea. Look for pink banners identifying site locations throughout town, sprawling from Church Row Park to the Parker Ranch Historic Homes.

Spend the day to experience an all-day lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts at several locations, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, fun mochi pounding, plus a host of colorful craft fairs, a quilt show and food booths.

Roberts Hawaii will provide free shuttle transportation among most venues, though walking is encouraged.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawai‘i County Parks and Recreation’s Culture and Education Section. Overseen by Parks and Recreation Director Roxcie Waltjen, the festival is a community-wide effort by a dedicated team of volunteers.

For more information, call (808) 961-8706.

Feature image photo credit: Crystal Richard.

Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival Names 2017 Venues, Artwork

The 24th annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival has a full lineup of free, multi-cultural performing arts and hands-on demonstrations, plus over 150 crafters and food booths 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 at various venues sprawling through the town’s center—look for pink banners identifying site locations.

Festival parking is available at Parker Ranch Center, the soccer field across Church Row Park and along Pukalani Street. Festival shuttles offer free transportation among most venues 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. by Roberts Hawaii, though walking is encouraged among venues.  A map of the shuttle route and festival venues is available in a detailed festival program available at each venue location on February 4.

Organized by members of the upcountry community and the county’s department of parks and recreation, the festival marks the blooming of the historic cherry trees at Church Row Park and celebrates the age-old Japanese tradition of hanami, which translates to “cherry blossom viewing party.” After a seasonal winter chill, the trees typically are blooming in early February.

This year’s festival is dedicated to long-time event partner Roberts Hawaii and Guinness World Record holder Betty Webster of Waimea. Honorees will be recognized 9 a.m. on the main entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center. In attendance will be Governor David Ige, Mayor Harry Kim, Parks and Recreation Director Charmaine Kamaka and County Councilman Tim Richards. Awarding lei to honorees and dignitaries will be the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce 64th Cherry Blossom Festival queen and court.

The 2017 event artwork is “Mauna Kea Io and Cherry Blossoms” by Honokaa artist and nature enthusiast Pat Dinsman. The oil painting will appear on a limited number of collector posters available for $10 at the Waimea Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery.

A quick rundown of festival activities at various locations follows (times are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. unless specified otherwise).

Church Row Park

  • Historical Cherry Tree Display: Waimea Lions’ Club offers a pictorial history of the cherry trees and serves as the festival’s official Lost and Found station. T-shirt sales.
  • Entertainment: Hawaiian hula, taiko drumming and more 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Bonsai: The Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club offers a display and sale of bonsai, ongoing demonstrations and a clinic to discuss and work on the art of bonsai.
  • Asian Collectibles/Food Sales at Kamuela Hongwanji: Browse Asian-themed collectibles, lanterns made from recycled beverage cans, cherry tree seedlings and cherry blossoms in mugs; plus Asian foods: Inari sushi, chicken bowl, nishime bento, chichi mochi, andagi and prune mui.
  • Cooking Demos at Kamuela Hongwanji: Kona-Kohala chefs offer cooking demonstrations with free samples 9 a.m. -1 p.m. Also, Waikoloa Beach Marriott (WBM) teams up with its sister property in Japan, the Tokyo Marriott (TM), when local boy and WBM Executive Chef Jayson Kanekoa partners with TM Executive Sous Chef Takashi Ogawa in a memorable demo.
  • Origami at Kamuela Hongwanji: Hands-on fun for all ages

Parker Ranch Center- Hwy. 19

  • Festival Entertainment Stage: In the back parking lot. Opening 9 a.m. dedication ceremonies kick off continuous entertainment until 3 p.m.: Bon Odori Taiko and Kona Taiko, Christy Lassiter Trio, Lion Dancers, Enka Sisters, Darlene Ahuna, Aloha Kings & Poi Dawgz and Tai Shoji Taiko.
  • Craft Fair: Nearly 150 crafters inside Center and in the back parking lot.
  • Mochi Tsuki Pounding: Help pound mochi using 500 pounds of rice with the Kona Hongwanji Mission outside the Fireside Food Court starting 10 a.m.; samples.
  • Meet & Greet NHCH: Talk to medical staff from North Hawaii Community Hospital near Lilikoi Café and find out about job opportunities

Kahilu Theatre – Lindsey Road/Parker Ranch Center

  • Cultural Demos: Ritual Japanese tea ceremony led by Emi Wakayama 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Performing Arts: Japanese and international music led by Annu Shoko Shionoya with vocalist Kauilani Trainer and Marius Stranger and dancer Shizuno Nasu; lyre harp by Miyuki Ikesue of Tokyo, flutist Yumi Kikuchi and vocalist Gen Morita at 10 a.m. Vocal and dance concert “Sakura Sakura” 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Art and Film: Contemporary art displayed by Susumu Sakaguchi of Volcano and “Hokulea: Malama Honua-The Voyager Exhibit.” Ikebana by Chikako Powers.

Mana Christian Ohana Church – (Former Kahilu Town Hall) Behind Parker Ranch Center

  • Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea’s 22nd Biennial Hawaiian Quilt Show: Extensive quilt display with the theme “Honor Our Past” and craft sale; members offer a “learn how” area and pattern tracing.
  • New Car Display: Vehicle display by IK Dealer Group at Hamakua side of parking lot.

Historic Spencer House – (Next to Waimea Center) Hwy. 19

  • Koto Presentation and Japanese Collectibles: Koto player and instructor Darin Miyashiro of Sawai Koto Kai Hawaii and the Hawaii Koto Academy performs the national instrument of Japan at noon. View a vintage wedding kimono and collection of kokeshi dolls.

Waimea Historic Corner-Hwys. 19/190 intersection

  • Firehouse Gallery Activities: Waimea Arts Council presents art with a cherry blossom theme, sidewalk chalk drawing for all ages, ikebana, doll exhibit.
  • Waimea Senior Center: Cherry Baked Goods Contest with community entries due 9:30 a.m. for 11 a.m. judging. Goods sold after winners announced to benefit Waimea Senior Citizens Club.
  • Waimea Preservation Association: Waimea Outdoor Circle heirloom seed giveaway
  • Thelma Parker Gym: Craft fair

Waimea School Field-Enter Lindsey Road/Back of Post Office

  • Waimea Homestead Farmers Market: Pop-Up Yard Sale from Cars with a portion of proceeds benefitting Waimea Elementary and Middle Schools 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Parker School-Lindsey Road

  • Waimea Town Market/Performing Arts: Outdoor market with fresh produce, food and artisan booths open 7:30 a.m.-noon with drum performances by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Kohala-Waimea at 10 and 11 a.m.

Pukalani Stables-Pukalani and Ala Ohia Roads

  • Kamuela Farmers Market: Museum open house, farmer’s market, craft and food booths, cherry tree planting 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

W.M Keck Observatory Headquarters-Hwy. 19

  • Solar Telescope Viewing: Keck and the West Hawaii Astronomy Club sets up solar telescopes for public viewing and answers questions 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the front lawn. 

Kamuela Liquors-Hwy. 19

  • Sake Tasting: Noon-3 p.m.

Ginger Farm- (old Anderson Homestead) MM 55 across from Puu Nani St. on Hwy. 19

  • Japanese Home Tour/Tea Tasting/Craft: Self-guided tour through traditional Japanese-style home and garden. Cherry tea is served and art students assist attendees to make a cherry blossom-hanging scroll. Petting zoo.

Kukio Hale Hawaiian Homes-MM 55 on Hwy. 19

  • Waimea Nui Farmer’s Market: 7 a.m.-noon

Waimea Country Lodge-Lindsey Road

  • Offering discounted rates on deluxe, superior and standard rooms, plus kitchenettes, during the festival weekend; ask for promo code “Cherry Blossom 2017,” 808-885-4100.

Parker Ranch Historic Homes-Hwy. 190

  • Free, self-guided tours of Mana Hale and Puuopelu from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Local Feather Hui offers feather displays and demonstrations.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawaii County Parks and Recreation’s Culture and Education Section. Overseen by the park’s culture education administrator, Roxcie Waltjen, the festival is a community-wide effort by a dedicated team of volunteers, 808-961-8706.

Coming Up – Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival

The 23rd annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival has a full lineup of free multi-cultural performing arts and hands-on demonstrations, plus nearly 150 crafters and food booths 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 at various venues sprawling through town—look for pink banners identifying site locations.

Mochi Pounding

Festival parking is available at Parker Ranch Center, the soccer field across Church Row Park and Church Row Park. Festival shuttles offer free transportation among most venues 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. by Roberts Hawaii. A map of the shuttle route and festival venues is available in a detailed festival program available at each venue location February 6.

Organized by members of the upcountry community and the county’s department of parks and recreation, the festival marks the blooming of the historic cherry trees at Church Row Park and celebrates the age-old Japanese tradition of hanami, which translates to “cherry blossom viewing party.” After a seasonal winter chill, the trees typically are blooming in early February.

Mochi Sake

This year’s festival is dedicated to the Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club, which marks its 60th anniversary this year, and Waimea Arts Council, which celebrates 40 years in 2016. Honorees will be recognized at the festival’s opening ceremony. Time is 9 a.m. on the main entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center and will be attended by Governor David Ige, Mayor Billy Kenoi, Consul General of Japan Yasushi Misawa and Hawaii Council Representative Margaret Wille

The 2016 event artwork is a photograph by Barbara Schaefer, “Imiola Church.” The photo will appear on a limited number of collector posters available for $10 at the Waimea Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery.

Mochi Taiko

A quick rundown of festival activities at various locations follows (times are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. unless specified otherwise).

Church Row Park

  • Historical Cherry Tree Display: Waimea Lions’ Club offers a pictorial history of the cherry trees and serves as the festival’s official Lost and Found station.
  • Entertainment: Hawaii Lion Dance Association of Oahu at 9 a.m., Shamisen by Ayano Uema at 10 a.m., Beamer-Solomon Halau O Poohala with Kumu Hula Hulali Solomon Covington at 11 a.m. and Hui Okinowan Kobudo Taiko at noon.
  • Cherry Pie Cook-off: Sponsored by District 9 County Councilmember Margaret Wille, senior clubs from Waimea, Waikoloa and North Kohala vie in the 3rd Cherry Pie Bake Off with judging at noon. Club members sell pie slices, recipe books and crafts.
  • Bonsai: The Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club offers a display and sale of bonsai, ongoing demonstrations and a clinic to discuss and work on the art of bonsai.
  • Japanese Craft Lessons at Kamuela Hongwanji: Learn the time-honored art of furoshiki (gift wrapping).
  • Asian Collectibles/Food Sales at Kamuela Hongwanji: Church organizations sell Asian-themed collectibles, lanterns made from recycled beverage cans, cherry tree seedlings and cherry blossoms in mugs; plus Asian foods: Inari sushi, chicken bowl, nishime bento, andagi and prune mui.
  • Cooking Demos at Kamuela Hongwanji: Kona-Kohala chefs offer cooking demonstrations with free samples on the hour starting 9 a.m.: Chef Jason Kanekoa of Waikoloa Beach Marriott, Chef John Iha of Sansei Waikoloa, Chef Shintaro Takizawa of Shiono Sushi at the Mauna Lani Restaurant and Chef TK of the Lemongrass Express.

Parker Ranch Center- Hwy. 19

  • Festival Entertainment Stage: In the back parking lot. Opening 9 a.m. dedication ceremonies kick off continuous entertainment until 3 p.m.: Bon Odori Taiko accompanied by Kona Taiko, Kumu Hula Michael Pang’s Hula Halau O Ka Noeau, Boni & Doug, Darlene Ahuna, Michael Strand Band and Tai Shoji Taiko.
  • Craft Fair: Nearly 150 crafters inside Center and in the back parking lot.
  • Mochi Tsuki Pounding: Help pound mochi using 500 pounds of rice with the Kona Hongwanji Mission outside the Fireside Food Court starting 10 a.m.; samples.

Kahilu Theatre – Lindsey Road/Parker Ranch Center

  • Cultural Demos: From 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy ritual Japanese tea ceremony led by Emi Wakayama, origami with Bonnie Cierni, feather lie and Japanese ikebana with Chikako Powers and hanafuda card playing.
  • Performing Arts: From 9 a.m.3 p.m. Japanese and international music led by Annu Shoko Shionoya with vocalist Kauilani Trainer and Marius Stranger, flutist Roy Kimura and dancer Shizuno Nasu; lyre harp by Miyuki Ikesue of Tokyo, flutist Yumi Kikuchi and guitar by Gen Morita. Dance concerts “Sakura Sakura” at 11 a.m. and “The Dream” at 1 p.m. Drop-in classes in hula, street jazz and circus arts.
  • Art and Film: Art displayed by Susumu Sakaguchi of Volcano and “Voyager Exhibit.” Screening of “Canefield Songs-Holehole Bushi” at 2:15 p.m.

Mana Christian Ohana Church – (Former Kahilu Town Hall) Behind Parker Ranch Center

  • Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea’s Third Biennial Festival of Quilts: Extensive quilt display and craft sale, members offer a “learn how” area and pattern tracing.
  • Kamaaina Motors Car Show: New display of vehicles at Hamakua side of parking lot.
  • Minuke‘ole Park Hanam Ceremony: 11 a.m. with planting of cherry trees

Waimea Historic Corner-Hwys. 19/190 intersection

  • Firehouse Gallery Art Demos/Exhibition: Waimea Arts Council presents art with a cherry blossom theme, sidewalk chalk drawing for all ages, plus event poster sales for $10.

Waimea School Playground-Lindsey Road/Back of Post Office

  • Waimea Homestead Farmers Market: 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Parker School-Lindsey Road

  • Waimea Town Market/Performing Arts: Outdoor market with fresh produce, food and artisan booths open 7:30 a.m.-noon with drum performances by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Kohala-Waimea at 10 and 11 a.m.

Pukalani Stables-Pukalani and Ala Ohia Roads

  • Kamuela Farmers Market: 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; cherry tree planting 9:30 a.m., museum free all day.

Kamuela Liquors-Hwy. 19

  • Sake Tasting: Noon-3 p.m.

Ginger Farm- (old Anderson Homestead) MM 55 across from Puu Nani St. on Hwy. 19

  • Japanese Home Tour/Tea Tasting/Craft: Self-guided tour through traditional Japanese-style home and garden. Cherry tea is served and art students assist attendees to make a cherry blossom-hanging scroll. Petting zoo.

Kukio Hale Hawaiian Homes-MM 55 on Hwy. 19

  • Waimea Nui Farmer’s Market: 7 a.m.-noon

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawaii County Parks and Recreation’s Culture and Education Section. Overseen by the park’s culture education administrator, Roxcie Waltjen, the festival is a community-wide effort by a dedicated team of volunteers, 961-8706.

Gov. Abercrombie to Honor Exceptional Community Contributors During Waimea’s Annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is scheduled to join the celebration of Waimea’s Japanese heritage by planting flowering cherry trees in honor of exceptional community contributors during the 21st Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.  

 

“Love These Cherry Blossoms!” and artist Rani Denise Ulrich of Keauhou

“Love These Cherry Blossoms!” and artist Rani Denise Ulrich of Keauhou

The community festival showcases the blooming of Waimea’s historic 60-year-old cherry trees, which are primarily located near town center at Church Row Park but can also be seen in growing numbers throughout the upcountry ranching community. The festival combines the Japanese tradition of viewing these beautiful trees ablaze with pink blossoms – called hanami – with dozens of events, exhibits and interactive presentations that celebrate the community’s Japanese traditions and connections.

Gov. Abercrombie will be a part of the festival’s opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. at Parker Ranch Center, joined by Mayor Billy Kenoi in saluting this year’s festival honorees, Waimea residents Emiko Wakayama and Fumi Bonk.

Then, at 10:30 a.m., the Governor will plant a young flowering cherry tree on the front lawn of Historic Spencer House in honor of lifelong Waimea resident, retired Judge and former Lt. Gov. Nelson Doi.

At 11:15 a.m., the Governor will plant three more flowering cherry trees on the front lawn of Waimea’s Department of Agriculture building at the entry to the Lalamilo Farmlots. The trees will honor the three generations of Japanese families that turned Lalamilo’s arid, rocky lands into the highly productive leafy greens and other fresh produce “food basket” of the state.

The community is invited to join the tree plantings, which are intended to also contribute to the original vision of Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival founders who wanted to encourage the addition of more of the flowering trees along the main roadways through this cool upcountry community.

The tree plantings are two of dozens of activities and events at venues throughout Waimea on festival day. Other festivities include Japanese and multi-cultural performances and exhibits of art and traditional dolls, hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami and mochi pounding, presentations of the exquisite traditional tea ceremony, plus sake tasting and the offering of a wide array of popular Japanese foods. Look for pink banners identifying event locations sprawling from the Parker Ranch Center to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19.

The annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is sponsored by many Waimea community groups, churches, temples, clubs and businesses in partnership with the County of Hawaii Department of Parks and Recreation Arts and Culture Division.

Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival Dedicated to the Late Anne Field-Gomes

The 20th Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival on Saturday, Feb. 2 is dedicated to the late Anne Field-Gomes. The Waimea resident served on numerous community organizations, including the Cherry Blossom Festival’s organizing committee. Mrs. Field-Gomes died October 23; she was 84.

Anne Field-Gomes and her husband David

Anne Field-Gomes and her husband David

Field-Gomes and her husband, David, will be recognized at the festival’s opening ceremony. Time is 9 a.m. on the entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center.

“Anne was the hostess for the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival; she’d walk among the venues to make sure all was going well,” says Roxcie Waltjen, festival coordinator, who serves as the culture and education administrator for Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation. “Both Anne and David were very involved and supportive of the festival.”

A dedicated volunteer, Field-Gomes was selected as the female Outstanding Older American for Hawai‘i Island in 1999. She was active for 20 years in AARP’s Tax Aid program and also volunteered for the Waimea Community Association, the South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee, the Friends of Thelma Parker Library and Trails and Greenways.

The Honolulu native was a 10-year volunteer at North Hawai‘i Community Hospital, working in the materials division, and she was active with the Hawaii County Democratic Party. She was also a member of St. James Church, Imiola Congregational Church, the Waimea Outdoor Circle and the Waimea Pupule Papale Red Hat Club.

Field-Gomes moved to the Big Island in 1986.  Anne and David Gomes were married in 1989 during a square dance at Waimea’s Kahilu Town Hall, the same year Anne moved to Waimea.

“Anne enjoyed participating in the community and recruited me for many of her activities,” says David Gomes.

In addition to honoring Anne and David Gomes, the festival will mark its 20th year with an anniversary exhibit, entertainment by some of the festival’s first performers and a commemorative poster, which will be offered for sale.

For two decades, the free community festival has showcased the 60-year-old cherry trees planted at Church Row Park and the Japanese tradition of viewing them—hanami. The event, held annually the first Saturday of February, includes a variety of activities 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at venues throughout Waimea—look for pink banners identifying site locations from the Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Mamalahoa Hwy. 190 to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19.

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 and a host of colorful craft fairs. Enjoy free shuttle transportation among most venues. For info, 808-961-8706.

20th Annual Waimea Cherry Festival is Coming Up

The 20th Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is Saturday, Feb. 2,  2013 and remembers its past with an anniversary exhibit, entertainment by some of the festival’s first performers and a commemoration of its founders.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival (photo provided by festival)

For two decades, the free community festival has showcased the 60-year-old cherry trees planted at Church Row Park and the Japanese tradition of viewing them—hanami. The event, held annually the first Saturday of February, includes a variety of activities 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at venues throughout Waimea—look for pink banners identifying site locations from the Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Mamalahoa Hwy. 190 to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19.

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 and a host of colorful craft fairs. Enjoy free shuttle transportation among most venues. For info, 808-961-8706.

Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival Set For First Saturday in February

In conjunction with the 2012 U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial in Washington D.C., the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival marks its annual celebration Saturday, Feb. 4 with the planting of cherry tree seedlings gifted from the Embassy of Japan.

Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom (Photo by Fern Gavelek)

The living gift of friendship commemorates the first planting of Japanese flowering cherry trees in the nation’s capital and is part of a program to spread the trees into many U.S. states. The two varieties of seedlings to be planted in Hawai‘i were specially chosen for Waimea’s clime by Dr. Tetsuo Koyama, a Honolulu-based botanist formerly of The New York Botanical Garden.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival (Photo provided by festival)

In its 19th year, the festival showcases the 60-year-old cherry trees planted at Church Row Park and the Japanese tradition of viewing them—hanami. The event includes a variety of activities 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at venues throughout Waimea—look for pink banners identifying site locations from the Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Mamalahoa Hwy. 190 to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival (photo provided by festival)

Enjoy an all-day lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, fun mochi pounding and a host of colorful craft fairs. New this year is a Festival of Quilts display featuring the handiwork of all six local quilt clubs. Enjoy free shuttle transportation among most venues. For info, 808-961-8706.