Honolulu Festival expected to pump $10M into local economy
Next week’s Honolulu Festival, an annual showcase of Pacific Rim culture and food, is expected to draw roughly 4,700 visitors and pump about $10 million into the local economy, organizers say.
In its 16th year, the event will feature some 120 performing groups over two days at four venues across the city. It opens March 13th and winds up on the 14th with a parade through Waikiki.
David Carey, Outrigger Enterprises Group president and chief executive officer, noted that the festival has grown over the years from a Japan-centered event to one that embraces the entire Pacific Rim.
“As Hawaii’s largest locally owned hotel chain the festival is particularly important in the current economy, especially when we’re trying to maintain our presence in the broader tourism market,” Carey said at a news conference to promote the event.
The Festival also has grown in popularity with locals, and is expected to attract 70,000 kamaçaina this year.
The large kamaçaina contingent that shows up for the festival makes it a more authentic experience for visitors, said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
“We have a competitive advantage (compared with other tourist destinations) because visitors get to touch and feel the community,” he said.
All events during the two days are free, except for a “Friendship Gala” on Saturday night that is a fundraiser for the Honolulu Festival Foundation, the nonprofit organization that runs the Festival.
Cultural demonstrations, live performances and movie screenings will be offered at four festival locations: Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center, Waikiki Beach Walk and Waikiki Shopping Plaza.
Among the highlights will be an “Ennichi Corner” at the Convention Center that will offer children ongoing hands-on activities, such as games, crafts, foods and traditions inspired by the traditional Japanese Saint’s Day festival.
The Grand Parade down Kalakaua Avenue starts at 4:30 p.m. March 14th and will feature floats, including one with a “daijayama,” or ire breathing dragon.
For a full schedule of events, go to www.honolulufestival.com.