2016 Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival Honorees Named

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Two community organizations were recently announced as honorees of next year’s 22nd Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival.

The Feb. 6 event takes place annually on the first Saturday of February, celebrating the Japanese tradition of viewing the season’s first blooms, called “hanami,” together meaning flower and look.

Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club and Waimea Arts Council will be the 2016 honorees as they celebrate landmark anniversaries during the upcoming year. Both community groups will be recognized at the festival’s opening ceremony, held at 9 a.m. on the entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center.

For the past 22 years, the Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club has participated in the annual event, holding a special relationship with the festival. The club’s longtime sensei, the late Isami Ishihara, propagated the cherry trees planted in Church Row Park, which have become the center piece of the Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival.


The bonsai club practices a long tradition that is grounded both in artistic form and science.

“It is a continuous sharing and learning experience about the relationship and interaction we humans have with not only the plant kingdom, but all other elements of our environment (including other people),” said club President Bob Male.

As one of the original participants of the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, the Waimea Arts Council, celebrating its 40th anniversary, presents a cherry blossom-themed art display annually. The display is interactive, with attendees of all ages provided the opportunity to be creative with chalk on the sidewalks.


WAC is one of the state’s oldest art organizations and was designated as a non-profit organization in 1978, four years after being founded. Through the council, a variety of programs, exhibits, and visual art education is sponsored.

Perhaps the most visual project conducted by WAC is the Firehouse Gallery, which is housed in a former fire engine garage and bunkhouse in the heart of Waimea. Exhibits at the Firehouse Gallery change monthly.

Pink banners will identify the site location from Parker Ranch Center to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Highway 19 on Feb. 6. Activities will run from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. and include multiple venues and entertainment, from Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts to hands-on demonstrations of bonsai and origami, as well as a tea ceremony, craft fairs, and food booths.


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