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Pan Pacific Festival 2019

A woman in pink and yellow floral dress smiling with her arms open

Looking for something fun you can do in Honolulu this June near the the Military Housing in Oahu? Few events can match the grandeur of the Pan Pacific Festival and its mission of spreading love and mutli-cultural cooperation, now entering its 40th year. First developed to increase tourism to the Hawaiian islands, it has blossomed into a celebration of cultures across the Pacific, and a worthwhile way for you to spend three days out of your summer. Let’s jump into the details, shall we?

History of the Pan Pacific Festival

This three-day celebration of culture and history got its start back in 1980, as the “Matsuri,” which is the Japanese word for “Festival.”

“Matsuri in Hawaii allowed visiting participants from Japan to share their music, crafts, traditions, and foods with others in the beautiful setting of world-famous Waikiki, while Hawaii residents and other Hawaii visitors gained a deeper appreciation of Japanese sensibilities and cultural heritage.”

And so it would go for many years, until 1996, when the Matsuri transformed into what we now call the Pan Pacific Festival, broadening its scope to not just include the influence of Japanese culture, but the cultures and peoples across the Pacific who call Hawaii home.

This is an aspect of the Pan Pacific Festival that’s extolled through the festival’s logo. Redesigned in 2008, the swirls help represent the interconnectivity of Hawaii’s cultures, while the flowers, the Hibiscus, denote the ideas of love, friendship, and appreciation.

It’s all part and parcel of the Pan Pacific Festival’s goals, “to cultivate friendship between people, and to nurture appreciation of diversity.”

Events at This Year’s Festival

At this year’s Pan Pacific Festival, the 40th installment, will have a great many events on the schedule, as is to be expected from such an expansive event. While we might not be able to cover every of what’s set to go down at the 2019 festival here, we’ll definitely point out some highlights, and you can check out the full calendar of events to hone in on what might be most appealing to you.

Friday, June 7th

Friday, the kickoff of the Pan Pacific Festival, will feature all kinds of spectacular performing arts, with perhaps the most thrilling being the 19th Annual Pan Pacific Hula Festival. Hula, as you may already know, is one of Hawaii’s traditional arts, that has spread across the world and brought joy to millions in the process. At the Hula Festival, talented halau (groups or schools of hula dancers) showing off their skills with modern hula dance. Among those performers, you’ll be seeing the Halau O Napuala ‘Ikauika ‘Iu, the local hula hulau, helmed by Kumu Hula Sally Yoza of Honolulu.

The Hula Festival will be taking place over all three days of the Pan Pacific Festival, as will the Performing Arts Showcase. This, as you may have imagined, is a staging ground for all kinds of cultural demonstrations, including music and dance. When you head to the performance stage, you may see a Chinese dragon dance, Korean drumming groups, traditional Japanese dance, and much more to keep you occupied, spread across three different locations: the Ala Moana Centerstage, the Waikiki Beach Walk Plaza Stage, and the International Market Place.

As for events specific to Friday, it’s the only day of the festival you’ll be able to check out the Hawaii Street Dance Fest. This is where you’ll find some of the most talented hip-hop and jazz-funk dancers from Hawaii and Japan, showing off their skills and wooing the crowds. It’s not all about the dancers, though. Part of the fun from this event comes from the invigorating announcing style of commentator Kento Mori, as he adds some levity to the good-natured dance competition.

Saturday, June 8th

On Saturday, in addition to the Performing Arts Showcase and the Hula Festival, you’ll be able to check out the Punahele Party, taking place at the Waikiki Beach Walk Plaza. As a new addition to the hula program, which came about in 2016, the Punahele Party invites hula dancers to come and show off their skills alongside various musical performers.

As opposed to the Hula Festival, the Punahele Party offers a more relaxed setting, akin to a family gathering, where hula dancers and musicians alike can display their talents in a casual atmosphere that’s laid back and easygoing. It’ll provide a slightly way for you to enjoy the hula, one that incorporates the Hawaiian concept of “kanikapila.”

Sunday, June 9th

Sunday’s main event, if you’re a fan of pomp and circumstance, will be the Pan Pacific Parade, over on Kalakaua Avenue. This is the “grand finale,” closing out the wonders of the festival with a bang, and will gather a great many dancers, musicians, and cultural groups to Fort DeRussy Park to kick things off:

“Okinawan performers, high school marching bands, taiko drummers, steel pan musicians, hula dancers, ukulele strummers, cheerleaders, lion-dragon dancers, sparkling flag twirlers, Korean traditional performers, and beauty queens; each year brings different performers, but they are always spirited and enthusiastic as they strut their stuff in this pageantry of color!”

As the procession advances, they’ll march along Kalakaua Avenue, as spectators watch in awe. The procession will finish at Kapi’olani Park, capping off what will surely be a riveting three-day extravaganza. When all is said and done, you’ll certainly feel better for the experience, and raring to go for when the Pan Pacific Festival comes back around next June. Be sure not to miss it!

Yet Another Perk That Comes With the Military Housing in Oahu

The wonders on Oahu never cease, and events like the Pan Pacific Festival provide all the more reason to want to call places like the Kapilina Beach Homes your home. Being close to all the great things to do and see in Oahu, and even closer to Ewa Beach, there’s no shortage of fun to be had. It’s a great location, some might even say perfect. Come see what the buzz is all about; check out what Kapilina has in store, then prepare for a move to this lovely, beachside paradise.