The Honolulu Festival, previously scheduled for March 12-14, 2021, has been canceled for the second time in a row to prevent the spread of COVID-19, its board of directors announced today in a news release.
The festival, which typically draws thousands of visitors from the Pacific Rim, other countries and the mainland, as well as residents, was also canceled this year in March due to the pandemic.
Prior to that, the Honolulu Festival had been held every year from 1995 through 2019.
“After thoughtful discussions with state and city officials, as well as our Honolulu Festival board of directors, it was determined that holding a large-scale event in March would not be possible under Honolulu’s current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines,” said Hiroyuki “Keith” Kitagawa, president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation, in a written statement.
“We realize there will be many who are disappointed to hear this news, however, the well-being of the community remains our top priority.”
During the festival, more than 100 groups share their culture through music, dance and arts at the Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center, International Marketplace and Waikiki Beach Walk, along with Hawaii cultural groups.
The annual festival celebrates cultural and ethnic ties of people from Hawaii and nations worldwide. The festival is free to the public and includes free performances and events including the Waikiki Grand Parade and the Nagaoka Fireworks Show over Waikiki Beach. Because it attracts tens of thousands of people, it would have been difficult to maintain distancing guidelines, the foundation said.
The foundation, the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, the state, the city and the Hawaii Tourism Authority, as well as corporate sponsors support the festival.
The festival’s foundation supports educational and cultural programs that benefit Hawaii’s schools, children and the community at large through outreach and charitable efforts.