Thursday, January 3, 2002

Thousands from Japan
will be here for festival

Star-Bulletin staff

More than 5,500 Japanese performers and artists are expected to travel to Honolulu to participate in the eighth annual Honolulu Festival on March 8-10.

"The level of interest in (this) year's festival is outstanding and sends a clear message to the rest of the world that it's safe to travel to Hawaii," said Mayor Jeremy Harris.

The Honolulu Festival gives Hawaii and Japanese residents an opportunity to rediscover their shared history, traditions and customs through music, dance, arts and crafts, and cultural displays.

The festival's director, Charin Tomomitsu, said she expects the number of Japanese participants to increase before the event begins.

The festival will culminate with a parade through Waikiki, performances by entertainers and artists at Kapiolani Park and a fireworks display off Waikiki.

The Honolulu Festival was established in 1994 to promote cultural understanding, economic cooperation and ethnic harmony between the people of Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region. In 1995 more than 87,500 residents and visitors participated. Last year, attendance increased to 333,500.

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