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Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival schedule

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The 16th annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival has a full lineup of multi-cultural performing arts, hands-on demonstrations, craft fairs and food booths 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7 at venues sprawling through town – look for pink banners identifying site locations.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival celebrates the blooming of the historic cherry trees at Church Row Park and celebrates the age-old Japanese tradition of hanami, which translates to “cherry blossom viewing party.” After a seasonal winter chill, the trees typically are blooming in February.

The free official festival program, which includes a map, details activities at all venue sites and gives a rich history of the community celebration.

Overseen by Roxcie Waltjen of the Hawaii County’s Parks and Recreation Department, the festival is a community-wide effort by a dedicated team of volunteers. The festival is produced by the county Parks and Recreation Department and sponsored in part by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Festival parking is available at Parker Ranch Center and the soccer field across Church Row Park. A free shuttle offers transportation among festival venues with stops at Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Highway 190 and at Parker Ranch Center’s back parking lot, Church Row Park and Kuhio Hale on Highway 19.

CRAFT FAIRS:
• More than 100 crafters inside and outside of Parker Ranch Center, plus Imiola Church at Church Row Park and Kuhio Hale on Highway 19

AT CHURCH ROW PARK:
• Waimea Lions’ Club offers a pictorial history of the cherry trees and serves as the festival’s official Lost and Found station
• Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club offers bonsai sales and demonstrations
• Resort chefs offer cooking demonstrations with free samples at Kamuela Hongwanji
• Learn the Japanese cultural arts of origami with Kikuko Kibe and calligraphy with Rev. Itaru Nozaki at Kamuela Hongwanji
• Church organizations sell Asian-themed collectibles, cherry blossom note cards, crafts made from recycled items and food: chili with rice, baked mochi, andagi, mochi, jams, pickles and boiled peanuts at Kamuela Hongwanji
• Enjoy docent-led tours of the refurbished koa church, food booths and Hawaiian craft demonstrations at Imiola Congregational Church
• Aikido Demonstration in the park throughout the day

AT PARKER RANCH CENTER:
• Festival Entertainment Stage: In the back parking lot. Opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. kick off continuous entertainment until 3 p.m.: Bon Odori Taiko, Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko, Kumu Hula Michael Pang and Hula Halau Ka Noeau, Na Hoku Hanohano Winners Brittni Paiva and Darlene Ahuna, Honokaa Jazz Band directed by Gary Washburn, Esther Zamora and Taishoji Taiko
• Help pound mochi using 500 pounds of rice with the Kona Hongwanji Mission outside the back of the Fireside Food Court; free samples
• Quilting exhibit and hands-on lessons by Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea outside the back of the Fireside Food Court

AT YMCA-Behind Parker Ranch Center:
Food Booths featuring BBQ teri-pork

At WAIMEA HISTORIC CORNER – Highways 19/190 intersection:
Firehouse Gallery Art Demos and Exhibition: Waimea Arts Council presents a members’ invitational show with a cherry blossom theme. See demos of papermaking using recycled paper by Jay West, plus painting and quilting. Chalk drawings outside for keiki

AT PARKER RANCH HISTORIC HOMES:
Kona’s East West Fine Arts Gallery offers activities illustrating Japanese and Okinawan cultures. Enjoy Japanese tea ceremony demos by Emi Wakayama and feather lei making by Gwen Joseph

AT KUHIO HALE:
More than 20 members of the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market offer a variety of products starting 7 a.m.

AT TOPSTITCH – Holomua Center, Kamamalu St.:
Quilt exhibit by the Mauna Kea Quilters Guild and Topstich Fabric & Needlecraft

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