Diverse harbor festival delivers everything to float your boat
By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer
Spectators by the thousands enjoyed a wild and diverse celebration of Honolulu's main waterway yesterday during the Fourth Annual Honolulu Harbor Festival between the Hawai'i Maritime Center and Aloha Tower Marketplace.
Bruce Asato The Honolulu Advertiser
Corrine Shigeta, 7, and brother, Landon, 3, played tick-tack-toe with Chief Petty Officer Joey Howard of the Navy's Mobile Diving & Salvage Unit One at yesterday's Harbor Festival.
Bruce Asato The Honolulu Advertiser
Among the major crowd pleasers was the tugboat hula show, in which the hefty vessels swayed and twirled about the harbor like dancing hippos. Ron Kahapea, pilot of the tugboat "Mamo," which was decked out in a mammoth lei and grass skirt, said it takes practice to jockey a 74-foot, 3,400-horsepower craft with such delicate grace.
"We had no idea a tugboat was that maneuverable," said Marty Alexander of Mesa, Ariz., who, along with her husband, Jim, was enjoying a two-week Island vacation. "We've never seen a boat do a hula before."
Another festival highlight was the annual Sand Island Challenge Outrigger Canoe Race.
"This is the third year for the race," said Bob Krauss, official Maritime Center spokesman and Honolulu Advertiser columnist. "The canoe race tries to re-create the regatta days of King Kalakaua. The first year we had two canoes. Last year we had 22 canoes. And this year we had 48.
"There were probably more canoes in Honolulu Harbor today than at any time since at least regatta days, in the 1880s."
Festival participants not only spanned the history of the harbor, but the history of America.
"What's your role today?" Bob Keller, representing the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, asked Stuart Cowan, who was dressed in a 1700s tri-cornered hat and colonial garb.
"I'm with a Masonic group called the Heroes of '76, which re-creates events such as the Boston Tea Party," Cowan said. "Today, I'm a colonial bandsman. I play the drum."
Cowan was only one of an entire mob of "colonists" who staged a noisy "No taxation without representation!" Boston Tea Party-style raid on the four-masted Falls of Clyde. One revolutionary character, Edward Drish, was made up to look like Benjamin Franklin.
According to Cowan, that role customarily goes to his pal and fellow Mason, Dave Franklin.
"He's the great, great, great grandson of Ben Franklin himself, you know," Cowan said. "I don't know how many greats it is, but it's a lot of greats. Unfortunately, he left for Bangkok yesterday."
Nevertheless, Drish was a dead ringer for the man whose portrait graces the $100 bill.
"I've heard that Dave Franklin is related to Ben Franklin," said the portly Drish, who was holding a kite with a brass key attached to it. "But I didn't know whether they were kidding."
Either way, the original Franklin a known kidder himself would surely have approved.
Meanwhile, at the Aloha Tower Marketplace end of the festival, Chief Petty Officer Joey Howard, with the U.S. Navy's Mobile Diving & Salvage Unit One, was submerged inside a 2,000-gallon glass tank leisurely enjoying games of tick-tack-toe with any kid who cared to step up and mark the glass with a crayon.
Although Howard, who had a microphone inside his diver's helmet, confessed he had not won "any more games than I have to," he refused to admit he had taken a dive.
Still, Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Coats, who set up the diving display, said Howard was apparently a lot better diver than tick-tack-toe master.
"He hasn't won many games," Coats said.