Honokaa Western Week rides again

  • The Block Party draws 1,500 to 2,000 folks from near and far each year. (COURTESY PHOTO/SARAH ANDERSON)

  • Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent Contests allows participants to bring their best three-minute song, dance, story or other performance and take a shot at cash prizes. (COURTESY PHOTOs/SARAH ANDERSON)

  • The Western Week parade features family members of all ages.

HONOKAA — What starts with a farm fair and ends with a rodeo? Honokaa Western Week — the Big Island’s best little hoedown.

From May 20 through 28, the weeklong event celebrates the community’s paniolo heritage with a roundup of activities spotlighting food, music, dance, storytelling and Hamakua’s special breed of cowboy culture.


Friday’s Paniolo Parade and Block Party draws between 1,500 and 2,000 folks from near and far to cheer the little cowpokes on their stick horses, whoop it up at the Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent contests, eat some great food, bid on silent auction items and dance in the street to boot-stomping music by Patio Productions Band, Willie Joe Camara and Damien Demello.

Up on the silver screen

New this year, “Honokaa Western Week” the movie will be screened at Honokaa People’s Theatre at 5 p.m. May 22. The 50-minute documentary made by local filmmaker Steven Roby for Snap Judgment Films looks at the history of the event and features highlights from the 2017 Honokaa Western Week. The movie is free and all are encouraged to come and look for their friends and neighbors or maybe capture their own moment of fame.

Following the film, from 6-9 p.m. line dancers will kick up their heels as a group on Honokaa People’s Theatre stage. All ages and skill levels can participate, and those who want to polish up their dancing boots can attend free practice sessions the weeks prior from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Honokaa High &Intermediate School Auditorium.

From the kitchen

Professional chefs and home cooks of all ages can enter the Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest from 5 to 7 p.m. May 23 in the NHERC Pavilion. Past winners have searched old family cookbooks and recipe boxes to come up with the secret ingredients to make their traditional entry stand out, while others used innovative ingredients and creative names to take their dishes to the next level. Depending on the type and number of entries, prizes will be awarded in various categories, including the coveted “Golden Ladle.” Winners will be recognized in the Paniolo Parade next Friday.

There’s no entry fee and forms are available online at www.honokaawesternweek.org or by emailing Marysue Joyce at bbbi@hawaiiantel.net. Contestants will need to prepare enough soup or bread for 50 tastings, about four quarts or four loaves of bread to bring to the NHERC Pavilion by 4:30 p.m. Costumes and decorations make for a festive setting for tasters and competitors.

In the spotlight

Always a crowd-pleaser, the Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent Contests give everybody a chance to kick up their heels and release their inner entertainer onstage at Friday’s Block Party. Folks of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their Western duds, bring their best three-minute song, dance, story or other performance and take a shot at cash prizes. There is no cost to enter; applications are available online at www.honokaawesternweek.org or from Noelani Anderson at noelaniisabella@gmail.com.


Honokaa Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honokaa Business Association, the Historic Honokaa Town Project, Steinlager and SCADA &Control Systems, LLC.

Info: Go to www.honokaawesternweek.org or Honokaa Western Week’s Facebook page.

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