POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2009

“;Heart of the Pacific, Creating our Future”; is this year's theme for the Honolulu Festival, featuring free, live performances of music and culture, as well as art exhibits and crafts, that celebrate the Pacific Rim, Asia and Hawaii.





        Places: Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center, Waikiki Beach Walk and Waikiki Shopping Plaza

Time: Saturday and Sunday


Admission: Free ($5 parking in the convention center's garage)


Call: 596-3327 or visit www.honolulufestival.com




Events will take place at several sites this weekend, culminating with the popular evening Grand Parade that travels down Kalakaua Avenue from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday.

The daijayama, or fire-breathing dragon float, will be a parade highlight.

Other performance highlights include the combo city- and presidential-namesake Obama Girls hula troupe from Obama, Japan (11:45 a.m. Saturday at Ala Moana and 2:05 p.m. Sunday at Waikiki Shopping Plaza), and members of the Descendance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Theatre from Australia (11:50 a.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Hawaii Convention Center).

New to the festival, the Ennichi Corner will offer an array of fun, hands-on activities for keiki inspired by the traditional Japanese Saint's Day festival. The corner will also feature uranai, traditional Japanese fortunetelling, in exchange for a donation. Families will find the corner at the convention center's Kamehameha Ballroom.

More family activities include a bamboo oyaji demonstration in which a master Japanese craftsman creates helicopter toys; kimono and yukata picture-taking for children; and a game with paper scoopers for catching goldfish and balloons in a pool.

Anime is another highlight at the center, starting at 10 a.m. Voice actress Halko Momoi will be on hand for autograph sessions at 1 p.m., and the “;anime”;-ted movie “;Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur”; screens at 1:30 p.m.

Various ethnic foods, such as okonomiyaki (Japanese pan-fried batter cake), dim sum and crepes, will be available at the center, as well.

The festival's benefit event, the Friendship Gala, will take place 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the center. It features the cuisine of Alan Wong's, Chef Mavro and other well-known local restaurants. Tickets are $85 ($35 tax deductible). Visit www.honolulufestival.com/eng/gala2009.php?=pre.

For a complete listing of events and performance schedules, visit www.honolulufestival.com/eng/events.php.