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2018 Cherry Blossom Festival Lists Venues

The 25th anniversary of the 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 on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 from  9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Festivities are at various venues sprawling through the town’s center—look for pink banners identifying site locations. New to the festival is the Cherry Blossom Express—a Disney-themed “train” for small children offering rides at Church Row Park by Clarence and Gloria Yee of Hawi.

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. to 3:30 p.m. by Roberts Hawai‘i, 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.

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.

The 2018 event artwork is Celebrating the Bloom by Waimea artist Anna Sullivan. Her original mixed media wood piece will be for sale—and appears on a limited number of $10 collector posters—at the Waimea Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery. Sullivan will be present to sign purchased posters during the festival.

A quick rundown of festival activities at various locations follows (times are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. unless specified otherwise). Schedule is subject to change.

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: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hula, Japanese dance, koto music by Darin Miyashiro, taiko drumming, lion dance.
  • Bonsai: The Waimea Bon-yu Kai Bonsai Club offers a display and sale of bonsai, ongoing demonstrations and a clinic to discuss and work on the art of bonsai.
  • Cherry Blossom Express: Train ride for small keiki.
  • Asian Collectibles/Food Sales at Kamuela Hongwanji: Browse Asian-themed collectibles, cherry blossom crafts, plus Asian foods: Inari sushi, nishime bento, chichi mocha and andagi.
  • Cooking Demos/Entertainment at Kamuela Hongwanji: 9 a.m. to noon, Kona-Kohala chefs offer cooking demonstrations with free samples, lion dance.
  • Origami instruction at Kamuela Hongwanji: Hands-on fun with Kikuko Kibe.
  • Open House at Kamuela Hongwanji: Rev. Shingo Furusawa explains Shin Buddhism rituals.
  • Food Sales: Imiloa Church and in park

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, Hula Halau Ka Noeau with Kumu Hula Michael Pang, Lion Dancers, Ira & Boy Varize, Darlene Ahuna and Patio Productions.
  • 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

  • Tea Time: In the lobby: Mauna Kea Tea provides tastings of Hawaii-grown and Japanese teas with local tea maker at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Performing Arts: On stage: Koto player and teacher Darin Miyashiro at noon; Shizuno Nasu of the Spiral Vision Company bringing traditional music and dance from Japan and the Cosmo Orchestra peforming the Sakura Shumphony, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

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

  • Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea Quilt Show: Display by six generations of quilters in the family of club president Cyndy Martinez; sewing novelties and craft fair.
  • New Car Display: Kama‘aina Motors

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

  • Japanese Collectibles: View a display of kimonos and collection of kokeshi dolls, plus learn about the 1840 Spencer House.

Waimea Historic Corner- Hwys. 19/190 intersection

  • Firehouse Gallery Activities: Waimea Arts Council presents cherry blossom and spring-themed art, sales of $10 festival poster with artist signing, sidewalk chalk drawing for all ages and food sales.
  • Waimea Senior Center: Cherry Bakeoff Contest at Waimea Senior Center. Entries must be submitted 8 to 10 a.m. and will be sold after winners announced at 10:45 a.m., along with other baked goods. Proceeds benefit Waimea Senior Citizens Club.
  • Waimea Preservation Association: Waimea Outdoor Circle heirloom seed giveaway, t-shirt sales
  • Thelma Parker Gym: Craft fair
  • Thelma Parker Library: Explore the effects of ultraviolet radiation on humans and Waimea cherry blossoms while learning how to protect objects from UV exposure during a NASA@My Library Activity 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parker Ranch Historic Homes – Hwy. 190, Shuttle transport between Parker Ranch Center

  • Japanese Tea Ceremony: The Urasenke Hilo Association performs traditional chanoyu 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside Pu‘uopelu.
  • Hands-on Fun: Free, self-guided tours of homes, feather lei making
  • Keiki Paniolo Activities
  • Food Sales

W.M. Keck Observatory – Hwy. 19

  • Solar Scope Viewing: West Hawaii Astronomy Club and Keck provide solar telescopes for viewing the sun and answer questions. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kamuela Liquors – Hwy. 19

  • Sake Tasting: Noon to 3 p.m.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawaii 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.

20th Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival – Schedule and Information

The 20th annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival has a full lineup of multi-cultural performing arts, hands-on demonstrations, plus over 100 crafters and food booths 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at various venues sprawling through town—look for pink banners identifying site locations.

Cherry Blossom Poster

Marking its 20th anniversary year, the festival debuts a commemorative poster showcasing the art of Kailua-Kona resident Aelbert Aehegma. The 11X17-inch poster features Aehegma’s impressionistic painting, “Cherry Blossom Snows.” The $10 poster, along with prints and the original 18X24-inch painting, can be purchased at the Firehouse Gallery.  The internationally recognized artist will be at the gallery 10 a.m.-3 p.m. during the festival to sign the souvenir event posters.

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 February.

This year’s festival commemorates festival organizer, community activist and Outstanding Older American for Hawaii Island, the late Anne Field Gomes—and her husband, David Gomes.

The official festival program will be included just prior to the event in the North Hawaii News and also distributed at festival venues. It includes a map with activity locations and details on the many presenting organizations.

Festival parking is available at Parker Ranch Center and the soccer field across Church Row Park. A free shuttle offers transportation among festival venues with stops at Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Hwy. 190, Parker Ranch Center’s back parking lot and Church Row Park. A quick rundown of festival activities at various locations follows (times are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. unless specified otherwise). Events are also free 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. The Lions will also collect used eyeglasses, offer vision screening and sell pancake breakfast tickets

• 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

• Cooking Demos at Kamuela Hongwanji: Big Isle chefs offer cooking demonstrations with free samples

• Japanese Cultural Demos/Entertainment at Kamuela Hongwanji: Learn the time-honored arts of furoshiki (gift wrapping cloth) and origami. Taiko drumming performance.

• 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, temple cookbooks. Asian foods: Inari sushi, teriyaki chicken bowl, nishime, manju, andagi and prune mui.

• Martial Arts Demonstrations throughout the day

Parker Ranch Center- Hwy. 19

• Festival Entertainment Stage: In the back parking lot. Opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. kick off continuous entertainment until 3 p.m.: Bon Odori Taiko, bon dance, Japanese for Kids and Montessori Schools presentation, Kaliko Kalehua Hula Studio, Kumu Hula Michael Pang’s Hula Halau Ka Noeau, Darlene Ahuna, Tropic Lightning Band, Tai Shoji Taiko.

• Craft Fair: Over 100 crafters inside Center and in the back parking lot, cherry tree seedlings for sale in 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

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

• Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea’s 20th Biennial Hawaiian Quilt Show: Extensive quilt display that includes the Cherry Blossom quilt and honors the late Kimo Balai. Members sell merchandise, offer a free “learn how” area and pattern tracing for a nominal fee.

• Kamaaina Motors Car Show: Hamakua side of parking lot

Waimea Historic Corner-Hwys. 19/190 intersection

• Firehouse Gallery Art Demos/Exhibition: Waimea Arts Council presents a members’ invitational show with a cherry blossom theme. Artists demonstrate paper, painting and jewelry making, plus sidewalk chalk drawings for all ages, while Kohala Taco & Burger sells tacos as a fundraiser for the arts organization. Commemorative Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival poster sales here for $10, poster art by Aelbert Aehegam signs posters 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Waimea Preservation Association presents a history of the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival.

Parker School-Hwy. 19

Waimea Town Market/Performing Arts: Farmers Market open 8 a.m.-1 p.m. with performance by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii-Kohala and Okinawan folk dance 10 a.m.-noon.

Parker Ranch Historic Homes-Hwy. 190

Cultural Demos/Performing Arts/Food: Enjoy ritual Japanese tea ceremony led by Emi Wakayama; the Sakura Ensemble joined by harpist Chikako Nakano and tsuzumi drummer Issa Mochizuki, plus a Japanese hula halau. Enjoy sumie demonstrations and displays of mosaic/glass art and ikebana.

Parker Ranch Arena-Hwy. 190

Hawaii High School Rodeo Assn.: Monthly event competition for keiki in the morning and junior high division in the afternoon (high school on Sunday). Donations welcome; food booth sales.

Paniolo Heritage Center at Historic Pukalani Stables-End of Pukalani St. (turn south off Hwy. 19 at Ace Hardware)

Ranching Themed Activities: Paniolo breakfast 8-10 a.m. for $10 donation, heritage center open house, historic photo display by the Natural Resources Conservation Service/Soil/Water Conservation District and of Japanese “Kepani” cowboys, live music, hanafuda card playing, refreshments and sales of Paniolo Preservation Society merchandise.

Kamuela Liquors-Hwy. 19

Sake Tasting: Noon-3 p.m.

Kuhio Hale-Hwy. 19

Farmer’s Market: More than 20 members of the Hawaiian Homestead Market offer a variety of products 7 a.m.-noon

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

Japanese Home Tour/Tea Tasting/Art Fun: Self-guided tour through traditional Japanese style home; Island keiki serve cherry tea and show keiki how to make a cherry blossom hanging scroll.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawaii County Parks and Recreation Department. 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.

 

 

Cherry Blossom Festival Honors Three Paniolo

The 19th Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival remembers three Paniolo Hall of Fame members who each offered different skills to the island’s ranching industry: Jamie Dowsett and Charles T. Kimura of Waimea and Charles T. Onaka of Honaunau.

Jamie Dowsett

The trio will be recognized at the start of the 9 a.m.-3 p.m. community festival on Saturday, Feb. 4. Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi will honor the men with a commemorative plaque on the entertainment stage behind Parker Ranch Center.

Jamie Dowsett, 87, is the senior of the honorees and a descendant of prominent Oahu rancher James I. Dowsett. Jamie earned a degree in ranch management, animal science and pre-veterinary medicine from Oregon State University. During his lifetime, he worked for and managed four ranches: Parker, Puuwaawaa, Dillingham and Mokuleia. He also saw stints in the military during two wars and served as principal broker for his company: Great Hawaii Properties.

Always aspiring to live his life as a paniolo, Dowsett also owned and operated his own ranch for most of his life. Having considerable talent on the back of a horse, he became one of Hawaii’s accomplished calf and team ropers. While the octogenarian no longer rides the range, he continues to enjoy the rodeo circuit.

Born in 1931, Charles T. Kimura joined Parker Ranch as a 12-year-old fence “boy,” and worked for nearly five decades before retiring in 1996. Like his paniolo father, Yutaka Kimura, Charles was interested in animal husbandry and improving stock. Starting as a cowboy, he began working with Parker Ranch’s registered Hereford herd, becoming foreman of the Makahalau and Paaukau sections before serving as Mana superintendent and Ka’u Division manager.

Charles found that crossbreeding was the answer to genetic improvement. According to the Paniolo Hall of Fame website, Charles felt a “proper environment” was necessary for genetic improvement of stock and his “enlightened approach led to holistic resource management as an operational goal.”

Kona native Charles T. Onaka of Honaunau rounds out the list of honorees. Born in 1941, he earned a degree in animal science before working on Oahu at Hawaii Meat Company. Back on Hawaii Island, he served as a University of Hawaii extension agent for Hamakua, becoming active with the 4-H beef steer program. After working as a soil conservationist for the USDA, he managed the feedlot at Puako for T.H. Davies. Onaka says his most cherished employment was as a foreman at Parker Ranch.

Since 1973, Charlie has overseen the operation of Onaka Ranch, which was founded in 1914 by his grandfather, Kiichi Onaka, who emigrated from Japan. Ranching is a family affair and the Onakas also grow mac nuts and their Onaka Ranch Kona Cowboy Coffee. Charlie enjoys Hawaii tree saddle making and is active in several organizations, including the Paniolo Preservation Society.

In addition to recognizing the paniolo, the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival offers a wide range of activities that sprawl eastward from the Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Mamalahoa Hwy. 190 to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19—look for pink banners identifying site locations. Enjoy Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, plus demonstrations of bonsai, origami, tea ceremony and mochi pounding, plus a host of colorful craft fairs.

New this year is a Festival of Quilts display at Kahilu Hall featuring the handiwork of all six local quilt clubs. There will also be a special planting of cherry tree seedlings at Church Row Park—they were gifted from the Embassy of Japan. The festival offers free shuttle transportation among venues, including the newly added Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables, where attendees can enjoy paniolo pancakes and a photo exhibit on Paniolo Kepani (Japanese cowboys). For festival info, 808-961-8706.

Cherry Blossom Fest Names Two Honorees

Media Release:

The 18th Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival remembers two individuals who made exceptional contributions in their respective fields of interest. They are lei and kapa-making kupuna Marie McDonald and local agriculture researcher Milton Yamasaki.

Both Waimea residents will be recognized at the start of the 9 a.m.-3 p.m. community festival on Saturday, Feb. 5. Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi will honor McDonald and Yamasaki with a commemorative plaque on the entertainment stage behind Parker Ranch Center.

Marie McDonald, photo courtesy her daughter Roen Hufford

Marie McDonald, 84, is one of the state’s most respected kupuna (teacher) in the arts of lei and kapa-making. She was recently named the Alfred Preis Honoree by the Hawaii Arts Alliance, has been singled out as a native Hawaiian “living treasure” by the Smithsonian Institute and named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment of the Arts.

McDonald is credited with spending 50 years producing exquisite lei. She is one of Hawaii’s best-known authorities on the subject and author of the definitive “Ka Lei—The Leis of Hawaii” and “Na Lei Makamae,” co-authored with Paul Weissich. McDonald, who has an art education degree, first got involved with lei as a child and “took it to a more sophisticated level” after working with the City and County of Honolulu’s May Day lei competition.

“Many of the resources for my lei research came from Waimea,” shares McDonald, who has taught many others the joy of creating lei.

In addition to lei, McDonald has been involved with kapa-making, the art of making cloth from tree bark. She has developed ancient plant dyes for her kapa cloth designs and her work was recently exhibited at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Through her love of these two Hawaiian art forms, McDonald has become an advocate for the sustainable gathering and growing of required plant materials. Leading the way to protect forests and green space, she promoted responsible plant gathering practices and led a movement to encourage lei-makers to grow their own materials to slow down depletion of native forest.

McDonald’s 10-acre farm, Honopua, is on Hawaiian Home Lands in Waimea and a resource for the community to see how to grow their own lei gardens. She has planted ohia, to produce lehua blossoms, and a variety of ferns that can thrive in the farm’s micro-climate. She also cultivates wauke (paper mulberry) in the traditional Hawaiian way so it can be pounded into good quality kapa.

“With everything I advocate for, I believe in excellence,” says McDonald. “I even teach toward that, asking students to go beyond what is expected and reach for excellence. I want them to be proud of what they’ve accomplished.”

Milton Yamasaki at the Mealani Research Station...with the blueberries, Courtesy of Fern Gavelek

Milton Yamasaki, 66, has posted 40 years of dedicated public service to Hawaii Island agriculture. He retired last fall as long-time manager of the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resource’s (UH-CTAHR) Mealani Research Station. He oversaw operations at five Big Isle research sites: two in Waimea, two in Kona and one in Hamakua.

During his tenure, Yamasaki initiated the development of healthy food systems crops, such as 100 percent grass-fed beef, green tea and blueberries. His efforts were cited in 2007 when he was named Governor’s Award Honoree for Distinguished State Service at UH. He also earned UH’s Dean’s Award from CTAHR and the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Civil Service Employee at UH Manoa.

The Honoka‘a High grad pioneered the development of a quality and sustainable 100 percent, grass-fed beef industry. It involved extensive research on forage systems for maximizing nutrition, intensive grazing techniques, cattle breeding selection, low-stress animal practices and working with local meat processors to improve product handling.

To jump-start the local grass-fed industry, Yamasaki introduced annual Forage Field Days to educate ranchers how to produce a consistent and quality grass-fed product. He also founded Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range in 1995 to educate the food service industry and consumers that 100 percent, grass-finished beef can taste good if prepared properly, and also be of high quality—and that means all of the animal, from nose to tail.

Also at Mealani, Yamasaki is credited with researching the cultivation of green tea and blueberries. To develop unique, Hawaii-grown teas, Mealani began research in 1999 on 10 cultivars and over 300 different seedlings. Work has included ag production techniques, field studies, quality control and product processing—plus providing local growers with cuttings and educational workshops.

In an effort to develop blueberries as an alternative crop for farmers, Yamasaki began evaluation trials in 2005 of 34 warm-clime varieties both in and out of hot houses. Research involved studying variety acclimatization and resistance to disease, plus pruning methods and production timing.

“I’m honored for this recognition and happy that in recent years I can say our research started to lead the industry by developing new products and methods, instead of only solving current problems,” notes Yamasaki, who grew up on a farm. “We were able to look at opportunities for value-added products to benefit our ag producers.”

Yamasaki adds that research is all about being progressive. He continues, “Local research needs to continue investigating products we can grow so our producers can get a good return, while feeding our island.”

In addition to recognizing McDonald and Yamasaki, the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival offers a wide range of activities that sprawl eastward from the Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Mamalahoa Hwy. 190 to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19—look for pink banners identifying site locations. Enjoy Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, plus demonstrations of bonsai, origami, tea ceremony, quilting and mochi pounding, plus a host of colorful craft fairs. The festival offers free shuttle transportation among venues.  For info, 808-961-8706.