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Popular Moiliili Summer Fest canceled due to coronavirus

The annual Moiliili Summer Fest, one of Honolulu’s most popular bon dance events originally scheduled for July 3, has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to organizers.

The cancellation was announced on Sunday on the Moiliili Summer Fest Facebook page.

The Moiliili Summer Fest, which has grown over the last nine years into a dining, shopping and family-friendly event featuring food trucks, keiki activities and a pop-up market alongside the traditional bon dance, usually draws thousands.

It was originally slated to be held at 1110 University Ave., the former Varsity Theatre parking lot and Coyne Street. The annual event also highlights the cultural diversity, history, and businesses of Moiliili.

Organizers are working on plans to hold Moiliili Summer Fest again in summer 2021.

Community partners including Kamehameha Schools, the Moiliili Hongwanji Mission, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, The Moiliili Community Center, the Old Town Moiliili Business Association and the University of Hawaii at Manoa have begun planning to restart the event next year.

The Moiliili Hongwanji Mission has also canceled their traditional bon dance ceremony which is usually held the same weekend as the Moiliili Summer Fest.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Nadine Nishioka, executive director of Moiliili Community Center, a sponsor. “They [seniors] are going to be very disappointed that they will not have the festival, but they very much understand the safety issues.”

The center, however, continues to offer virtual bon dance lessons to keep seniors active, thanks to volunteer instructors. Anyone with questions about the Moiliili Community Center’s available services can call 955-1555 or visit moiliilicc.org.

On Kauai, the Kauai Buddhist Council in March has also canceled this year’s bon dance season, which would have begun mid-June and continued through August.

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