It’s Honokaa Western Week!

Honokaa Western Week
Honokaa Western Week starts on May 20.

The Big Island of Hawaii is open for business and the Honokaa Western Week festivities have begun. Throughout this week, Honokaa town comes to life with the celebration of its 62-year-old tradition that culminates with its annual parade, block party and 3-day rodeo. Come dressed in your spiffiest cowboy or cowgirl duds and enjoy a week of fun activities in Honokaa town, far, far away from the erupting volcanoes.

Honokaa Western Week Rodeo

It’s time for the rodeo: May 26 to 28, 2018 – Honokaa Hawaii

2014 Honokaa Western Week Parade

Everyone loves a parade including cowboys and horses. You can find all of that this coming Friday May 25 in Honokaa town.

About Honokaa Western Week (Facebook)


Please follow and like us:

Honokaa Jazz Band In Concert

Honokaa High School Jazz Band

The Honokaa High School Jazz Band is on its 2018 Oahu semester tour . The band is playing at several venues over the next few days. Last night (April 19) they played at Centerstage at the Ala Moana Center. Under band director Gary Washhburn, the band wows crowds with their renditions of popular jazz, pop and rock tunes. The band showcased their virtuosity by covering popular standards such as “Route 66,” “Cry Me a River,” “Moondance,” “The Closer I Get To You,” and several others. Washburn has written music for the band. They played two of his upbeat, toe-tapping, instrumental compositions which showcased the talents of various members on keyboards, drums, sax and brass.

You can learn more about the Honokaa High School Jazz Band from their Facebook page.

Honokaa Jazz Band Concert 2018

Honokaa Jazz Band Concert 2018

Honokaa Jazz Band Concert 2018

Honokaa Jazz Band Concert 2018

Honokaa Jazz Band Concert 2018


Please follow and like us:

Honokaa Western Week May 21 to May 29

Honokaa Western Week Rodeo

Honokaa Western Week is always an exciting time for the town of Honokaa located on the Big Island’s Hamakua Coast. Western Week has a long history of hosting cowboys and cowgirls from all over the state who participate in the annual rodeo and the traditional parade that precedes it. In recent years, Western Week has expanded out to include a full week of activities with the parade, block party and rodeo being the major highlights.

Honokaa Western Week starts on May 20 and runs through the Memorial Day Weekend May 27 – 29.

Honokaa Western Week Rodeo

The event schedule from the Facebook site:

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (Subject to change)

May 20. Deadline to enter Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent Contests. For information and applications, call Michelle Hartman, 775-9777.

All week, May 21-29. Celebrate Honokaʻa Western Week with Honokaʻa Business Association. Everyone is invited to dress up western-style, visit Honoka‘a town merchants, and enjoy different paniolo-themed activities every night.

Sunday, May 21. 2nd Annual Farm Festival at Hāmākua Harvest, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. All-day entertainment, dozens of vendors and food booths, educational presentations, silent auction, keiki activities and more. Located at the intersection of Māmāne Street and Highway 19 in Honoka‘a. No charge for admission.

Monday, May 22. Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest. Time and place TBA.

Tuesday, May 23. Stick horse creation at Hāmākua Youth Center, 3-5 p.m.

Wednesday, May 24. Line Dancing at Honoka‘a People’s Theatre, 6-9 p.m.

Thursday, May 25. Historic Honoka‘a Town Talk Story at Honoka‘a Library, 4 p.m., featuring Ross Stephenson, author of “Honoka’a Town,” and led by HWW Sheriff Larry Ignacio. Also Thursday, a “Rowdy Rodeo” at The Landing restaurant.

Friday, May 26.

4 p.m., Paniolo Parade down Māmāne Street, with mounted and marching units, pā‘ū riders, gleaming vintage cars and more.

5 p.m., Stick Horse races

6 p.m. Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent Contest

7-10 p.m., Great music and dancing in the Streets. Plus, a free “Keiki Corral” for the kids from 5-7 p.m., with carnival-style games, silent auction and more. Vendors interested in booth space for the Block Party may email, or download forms from the website.

Sunday-Monday, May 28-29. 61st Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo. For more information, contact

West Hawaii Today, May 16, 2017

From hoedown to hootenanny: Honokaa Western Week will dish up line dance, farm fest and Portuguese bean soup contest 

HONOKAA — Honokaa Western Week starts down on a farm and ends with a rodeo, beginning this Sunday through May 29. The now-legendary Paniolo Parade &Block Party on Friday may be the biggest parts of the celebration, but a week filled with activities and events promise to be memorable.

Source: From hoedown to hootenanny: Honokaa Western Week will dish up line dance, farm fest and Portuguese bean soup contest | West Hawaii Today

Honokaa Western Week on

Please follow and like us:

Throwback Thursday:Honokaa Buildings on Historic Register


Honokaa Hawaii USA

Three buildings in downtown Honokaa on the Big Island of Hawaii were placed on the National Register of Historic Places, a division of the National Park Service.

The Honokaa People’s Theatre, Hotel Honokaa Club and the Ferreira Building which at one time was the home for the original T. Kaneshiro Store and Hamakua Fountain are the properties that were placed on the register in the past month. The old Hasegawa Store Building is pending inclusion to the registry.

Honokaa Hawaii USA

As a kid I used to go shopping with my Mom and Dad at T. Kaneshiro Store. That old store was filled with grocery items, meats, fish, produce, soda, candy, dry goods, clothing and records. Back in the day Kaneshiro’s customers could open charge accounts at the store where items could be bought on credit and a monthly bill would be mailed out. This was the place to get 5¢ candy, see string being pulled out from the bottom of the wooden checkout desk to wrap meat and boxes with, and just talk stories with various members of the Kaneshiro family who ran the store for many years.

The store closed at that location in 1977 and moved across the street to a bigger, modern facility where its name was changed to TKS and remained in operation until August 2010 after which it was sold and is now Malama Market.

Another place that many old time residents of Honokaa remember is Hamakua Fountain which served up great hamburgers,  french fries, soda, “ice shave”, and “guri guri” in a classic fountain setting. It closed a long time ago after the owners retired. Hamakua Fountain along with a barber and tailor were located in the Ferreira Building through most of the 1960s and 1970s.

My most recent trip to the Ferreira Building was to have lunch at Grandma’s Kitchen and visit the Hamakua Plantation Museum, both of which are owned and operated by businessman Larry Ignacio.

Honokaa People's Theater

The Honokaa People’s Theatre built in 1930 has been in operation as the community movie house from day one. The theatre was bought from the Tanimoto family in 1991 by the Dr. Tawn Keeney. From that time onward,  the theatre was slowly renovated, upgraded, expanded and modernized while still maintaining its unique charm as one of the few standalone facilities in Hawaii that still show movies today. In addition to films, the theatre has also become a concert venue, dance hall and community meeting place. Dr. Keeney’s daughter Phaethon runs the People’s Theatre which now includes a café with in-house, public WiFi.

Growing up in Honokaa I spent good amounts of time watching all kinds of movies at the theatre including favorites such as “The Sound of Music,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Patton” and the original “Star Wars”. After not attending a film there for decades, I finally went to see another movie in 2014 called “Honokaa Boy“. It is a Japanese movie filmed in Honokaa where the theatre itself was one of the key locations used in the film’s story. My Dad had a small part in the movie.

Hotel Honokaa Club

As for the Hotel Honokaa Club, I never stayed there. However back in the day it was the place to go for a party or a fancy sit down dinner that usually consisted of steak and lobster. Today the restaurant operation is no more, but the hotel still functions as such and is a popular stay for tourists wanting to get off the beaten path.

Along Mamane Street// old Hasegawa Store Building is going through the process to be included on the registry. My Mom used to take us shopping there for clothes. She also bought sewing supplies and patterns from them. There used to be a candy rack up in front, a few grocery items in the back and a tiny shelf of odd toys. The aisles inside the store were narrow and surrounding them were shelves filled mostly with clothes… men, women, and children’s clothes. Today the building is the home for two businesses that sell holistic items and exotic souvenirs.

Of course Honokaa is much more than all of the historic buildings. It is a great place to browse and “walk the town” from one end to another. Businesses have come and gone over the years, especially since the sugar plantation ended in 1994. People who live in Honokaa commute to various work locations with some lucky enough to work in town. The community remains vibrant, filled with all kinds of activities. Tourism, agriculture and government services drives the town’s economy. The significance of being included in the National Register of Historic Places will likely be a great benefit to this special place.



Text and photos by Melvin Ah Ching.

Please follow and like us: