Chefs Celebrate at 25th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

January 28, 2018, 10:30 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 10:58 AM
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Church Row in Waimea is gearing up for the 25th Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A celebration of springtime, as well as the music, arts and culture that make Hawai‘i Island special, the festival features activities and entertainment all over town, accessible by free shuttle, provided by Roberts Hawai‘i. As visitors enjoy the experience of viewing the colorful trees, they can also savor chefs’ specialties from some of the island’s best restaurants at Kamuela Hongwanji.

Seven different chefs will demonstrate their individual culinary skill, with tastings for the audience, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Represented are Sansei Seafood, Steak Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Shiono at Mauna Lani Resort, Hāmākua Macadamia Nut Company in Kawaihae and Mai Grille at Waikoloa Kings’ Golf Course.

“We are so pleased to bring such talented chefs to participate in the Festival’s silver anniversary,” said volunteer organizer Margo Mau Bunnell. “What’s a celebration on our island without food? And we are so fortunate to bring in some very talented chefs to share their skills.”

In addition to the chefs’ demonstrations, an exciting entertainment lineup rounds out the festivities at Church Row, with Master of Ceremonies G. Cruz of KWXX radio.

Food Demonstrations at Kamuela Hongwanji (MC: Margo)

  • 9 a.m. – Mai Grille, Waikoloa Beach Golf Course, featuring Owner/Executive Chef Allen Hess
  • 9:45 a.m. – Shiono at Mauna Lani Resort
  • 10:30 a.m. – Oshima Island Dancers (Oshima is a Sister-City to Hilo.)
  • 11 a.m. – “Team Majestic,” Lion Dancers start at Hongwanji
  • 11:15 a.m. – Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Queens’ MarketPlace, Featuring Executive Chef Shane Torres
  • Noon – Hāmākua Macadamia Nut Company, Kawaihae, Featuring Owner/Chef Steven Arakaki- Desserts Hawaii and Duane Puhi

Entertainment at Church Row Park: (MC: G. Cruz of KWXX)

  • 9:45 a.m. – “Amasuwa no mai” Japanese Dance group (Sensei Mana Yuimi Koike) with special guest appearance by Miyuki Ikesue playing the Lyra, harp
  • 10:15 a.m. – KOTO: Music of the Koto, Japanese stringed instrument, by Darin Miyashiro
  • 10:30 a.m. – Taiko drumming by Ryukyukoku Daiko, Okinawan style
  • 11:15 a.m. – “Team Majestic,” Lion Dancers start at Hongwanji
  • 11:30 a.m. – Taiko drumming by Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko
  • 12:30 to 1 p.m. – Combined performance by Taiko drumming by Ryukyukoku Daiko and Hui Okinawas Kobudo Taiko

Held traditionally on the first Saturday of February, the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival includes a variety of activities at multiple venues throughout Waimea town. Events feature all-day lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, hands-on demonstrations of bonsai and origami, a traditional tea ceremony, mochi pounding, craft fairs, a quilt show and food booths. For more information, call (808) 961-8706.

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