Festivals Fun For Locals, Visitors
September 14, 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Discount Share
This past Labor Day weekend saw tens of thousands of folks enjoying the annual Okinawan Festival, the largest of its kind in the state. Organized by the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, which claims an amazing 40,000 members in about 50 clubs, the event features great food, entertainment, games and, of course, a bon dance and a whole lot more.
The Okinawan Festival is just one of a host of festivals held throughout the year; it would be impossible to describe them all.
The largest are longstanding and often celebrate our ethnic heritage, such as the Filipino Fiesta, Korean Festival, Narcissus Festival and Chinese New Year festivities in Chinatown, Cherry Blossom Festival, Hawaiian Scottish Festival, Diwali Festival, Powwow, Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, Portuguese Festa, Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Parade and Rally, Greek Festival and Samoan Flag Day my apologies if I’ve missed your favorite.
And then there are events that celebrate the Hawaiian culture in myriad ways, among them the Aloha Festivals, Merrie Monarch Festival, Lei Day events, Ukulele Festival, Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival, Kaua’i Mokihana Festival, and many hula and music performances and competitions.
Sprinkled in-between are food, art and music festivals; celebrations of various aspects of our history, plantation life for example; farmers markets and agricultural and seafood festivals, and so much more.
These events are wonderful representations of life in Hawaii, showcases of our heritage and diversity, and celebrations of the uniqueness of the Hawaiian culture. But they’re also important elements of our No. 1 industry, tourism.
The Okinawan Festival featured performing artists from Okinawa and visiting Uchinanchu from around the world. The Honolulu Festival, another major event, attracts performers and fans from Japan and around the Pacific region. Organizers not only bring hundreds of visitors to Hawaii, but support local charities. We know many travelers now plan their Christmas visits to coincide with Honolulu City Lights, where Honolulu Hale and the Frank Fasi Civic Center grounds are decked out in their holiday finest.
The same holds, to varying degrees, for the many other dates on our events calendar. These festivals and events, individually, may not attract the tens of thousands of delegates who come here for conventions and business meetings, like the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. But collectively, a dozen visitors here or a hundred there, all coming to Hawaii to share and enjoy what we take for granted, not only bring welcome tourist dollars to our islands, fill hotel rooms and generate revenue for public services, but help to perpetuate our cherished traditions and culture.
That’s why it’s so important that we support these events through our involvement and participation, and ensure that our visitors share in our appreciation of our island heritage.
MUFI’S VISITOR HEROES
Location: Best Western Coconut Waikiki Hotel
Bell-valet James Asuncion may be new to the Best Western Coconut Waikiki Hotel and new to the visitor industry, but that hasn’t stopped him from being the best he can be. James continues to hone his customer-service skills and work ethic. In addition to his bell-valet responsibilities, he assists the front desk with guest requests. When one guest had trouble with a door lock, James repaired it himself rather than leave the task to the engineering staff and inconvenience the guest.
The hotel’s general manager says the Best Western Coconut Waikiki Hotel earns top ratings from guests because of the impressive service provided by employees like James Asuncion.
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