A Guide to the Pan-Pacific Festival 2016: Celebrating Hawai‘i’s Rich Melting Pot
Don’t miss the block party, parade and bon dance from June 10–12.
Photos: Courtesy of Pan-Pacific Festival
It’s no secret there’s a special bond between Japan and Hawaiʻi, but did you know there is an annual festival celebrating the connection between Japanese and Hawaiian culture? Since 1980, the Pan-Pacific Festival has given the Japanese the opportunity to share their culture and heritage with the people of Hawaiʻi. While the festival continues to expand and include many cultures, the Pan-Pacific Festival remains true to its roots of cultural exchange and appreciation. The festival is returning for another year starting Friday, June 10, so throw on a hat and some sunscreen, or a kimono if you have one, and head down to Waikīkī for a spirited weekend of cultural communion.
The three-day weekend launches into high gear with a hoʻolauleʻea, or block party, featuring live entertainment on multiple stages, food booths and crafts—and for the first time ever, a street dance festival—along Kalākaua Avenue at 7 p.m. Don’t wait for the block party to come down though, cultural and performing arts showcases—featuring both Japanese and Hawaiian performance groups as well as Japanese cultural goods—begin at 10 a.m. There’s a lot happening in Waikīkī and even at Ala Moana Shopping Center this weekend, so here’s everything you need to know to navigate the 37th Annual Pan-Pacific Festival.
Japanese Cultural Showcase
Friday, June 10
The weekend begins with a display of beautifully designed custom jewelry, traditional candy art, Japanese-style slippers, educational toys, textiles and goods made in Japan. The showcase will be available for viewing throughout the day.
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Beach Resort and Spa
Performing Arts Showcases
Friday, June 10 to Sunday, June 12
Groups from Hawaiʻi and Japan will be performing on Ala Moana’s Centerstage from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Waikīkī Beach Walk Plaza Stage. The performances have been adapted from traditional dances to tell stories unique to the group’s distinct region. The Performing Art Showcases will occur throughout the weekend.
16th Annual Pan-Pacific Hula Festival
Friday, March 10
The Pan-Pacific Hula Festival gives groups from Japan the opportunity to perform in the birthplace of their revered and appreciated craft. There will be a special exhibition performance by local hālau Hālau O Napualaʻikauikaʻiu led by kumu hula Sally Yoza.
The Hula Festival will feature the following groups:
Na Opio O Ko‘olau Lapana Suzuka
Leka Hula Studio
Hālau O Napuala ‘Ikauika‘iu
Hawaiʻi Matsuri Taiko
Businesswomen Club of the Kani City Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Iwakuni Odori Aiko Kai
Honolulu Fukushima Bon Dance Club
Hawaiʻi Eisa Shinyuu Kai
6 to 9 p.m. at Kūhiō Beach’s Hula Mound
Friday, June 10
Kalākaua Avenue will be shut down from Lewers Street to Uluniu Avenue to accommodate the block party. Multiple stages will feature Japanese taiko drums, Korean dance, Hawaiian music, hula and more. The new street dance festival will feature amateur groups from Hawai‘i and Japan at the Waikīkī Beach Walk Plaza Stage at 6:45 p.m.
7–10 p.m. on Kalākaua Avenue
Sunday, June 12
After a weekend of cultural celebration, dancing and good food, the Pan-Pacific Festival ends with the Pan-Pacific Parade. Performers, drummers, dancers, high-school marching bands and ethnic cultural groups march down Kalākaua just after sunset. The parade begins at Fort DeRussy and ends at Kapiʻolani Park at the other end of Waikīkī.
5–7 p.m. on Kalākaua Avenue
A diverse selection of food booths and food trucks will line Kalākaua Avenue during the block party. Various ethnic and Hawaiian foods will be available, along with burgers, fries and other festival foods.
Parking in Waikīkī can be confusing and tough. The festival recommends The Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī Shopping Center, Waikīkī Business Plaza, Waikīkī Trade Center, The DFS Galleria building, Princess Kaiʻulani Hotel and the Island Colony Hotel. If you’re early enough and lucky enough, the Ala Moana Bowls parking lot near the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon may have a spot for free. Ala Moana Shopping Center has a decent amount of parking available during the Performing Arts Showcases occurring on Ala Moana’s Centerstage.