Results From the 5th Annual Peace Day Parade & Festival

The peaceful plantation town of Honoka’a was filled with people celebrating the United Nations International Day of Peace on Sunday, during its 5th Annual Peace Day Parade & Festival.  More than a thousand gathered to enjoy the lively “moving stage” of music, floats and entertainment with a message–as marching bands, Taiko drummers, bon dancers, cirque performers, hula halau and more, joined together in the spirit of peace.

Honoka'a Peace Parade

Peace Corps honored.  Special honorees for the Parade were about 30 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV’s) from the Big Island, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Peace Corps.  At least eight “Peace Corps couples” residing in the Honoka’a/Hamakua area found love and married during, or as a result of, their service. Elene Hertweck, from the San Francisco Region Peace Corps office was on hand for the festivities.  Hertweck served two times, in the Ukraine and in South Africa, both after she reached the age of 60.  “We have no upper age limit,” she said.  “The oldest volunteer is 84… This is a way to serve your country and learn about another culture, share your skills and have an adventure!”

Honoka'a Peace Parade

Run for Peace.  Sunday’s events also included the first annual 5K “Run for Peace.”   Top finishers for the men:  Billy Barnett at 17:22 (20-29), Jason Braswell at 17:53 (30-39), Lyman Perry at 18:50 (40-49), Tony Connors at19:34 (15-19).  For the women:  Heidi Schmidgall at 26:15 (20-29), Elizabeth Aguirre at 31:27 (15-19), Abigail Andrade at 31:28 (under 15).

A Peace Day Festival following the Parade featured food booths and entertainment by the Honoka’a High School Jazz Band, John Keawe and others, a performance by Terminal Circus and a large community Bon Dance that filled the field.

Tradition of peace.  The Festival program began with a message from Rev. Marcia Hartsock of the Honoka’a United Methodist Church, a ceremonial chant and bell-ringing by Rev. Kosho Yagi of Honoka’a Hongwanji and the release of white peace doves.  Rev. Eric Matsumoto, Bishop of Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii and Former Minister of the Honoka’a, Kamuela, Pa’auilo and Kohala Hongwanji Buddhist Temples, addressed the audience of about 1,000.  “So today, we gather for the purpose of nurturing peace in our hearts and minds, our local community of Honoka’a and the Big Island and the whole world,” said Matsumoto.  “I would like to close by expressing my appreciation to the Honoka’a Community for hosting this event, the entire Big Island Community for your participation and support of nurturing peace in our world.”

Peace Poster Contest.  Also during Festival, winners of the annual student Peace Poster Contest were announced.  They are:

K-3: Chloe Salom, 2nd grade, Ha’aheo School

4-6 grade
3rd  Place: Latrece Fernandez, 6th grade, Pa’auilo School
2nd Place: Xyan Ancheta, 6th grade, Pa’auilo School
1st Place: Seira Gleason, 6th grade, Pa’auilo School

7-8 grade
3rd Place (tie): Kristopher Nobriga, 8th grade, and Tyanna Aranaydo, 7th grade, Honoka’a High and Intermediate School
2nd Place: Kamea Phenicie, 8th grade, Honoka’a High and Intermediate School
1st Place: Jacie Carvalho, 7th grade, Honoka’a High and Intermediate School

9-12 grade
3rd Place: Shelby Bakin, 9th grade, Pa’auilo School
2nd Place: Saysha Cadabona, Pa’auilo School
1st Place:  Shrone Baton, Pa’auilo School

Sponsor prize, presented by Waianuhea Bed & Breakfast:  Donalyn Kaneo, 8th grade, Honoka’a High and Intermediate School

Honoka'a Peace Parade

The 5th Annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace is presented by the Peace Committee of the Honoka’a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in cooperation with the United Nations and numerous community organizations. Major financial support has been provided by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development County Product Enrichment Program grant and the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Social Concerns Committee.

The Peace Committee depends upon the community’s help and support for the continued success of the parade and festival annually.  The goal is to engage in and support activities year-round to promote peace, compassion and awareness of universal interdependence.  Contributions can be made as tax deductible donations, purchases of t-shirts and various sponsorship packages.  Call 808-640-4602 or visit

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