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Fireworks and tourists return for Honolulu Festival next week

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 2:30 p.m. HST, Feb 21, 2012

The 18th annual Honolulu Festival takes place on Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4. Attendance at this year's festival is expected to be more robust than it was last year when about 30 performing groups from Japan, representing more than 800 visitors, had to cancel their trip to Honolulu because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Festival organizers also anticipate that some 4,500 visitors will come to Hawaii for this year's festival and that they'll spend nearly $11 million while they celebrate the culture, customs and traditions of Asians and Pacific islanders. Altogether some 75,000 residents and visitors are expected to attend the festival's cultural performances, parade and fireworks.

The city of Nagaoka will put on a fireworks display Sunday. The fireworks were cancelled last year.

"I am also very pleased to welcome Nagaoka as our fifth and newest sister city,"  Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said at a news conference announcing the event. "We've had a long-standing relationship with the city through our Honolulu Festival."

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