Celebrate Paniolo Heritage During Honoka‘a Western Week

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Honoka‘a’s Western Week celebration will return with a week-long series of events commemorating paniolo heritage from May 20 to 28.

Dubbed “the Big Island’s best little hoedown,” the event includes a roundup of activities throughout the week beginning with a fair and ending with a rodeo. In between, events will spotlight food, music, dance and storytelling infused with Hāmākua’s unique cowboy culture.

The customary paniolo parade and block party—scheduled for Friday, May 25, this year—draws a crowd of roughly 1,500 to 2,000. The event will include a talent contest, food, silent auction and live music by Patio Productions Band, William Joe Camara and Damien Demello.

Schedule of Events:


Down on the Farm – Sunday, May 20, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Western Week partners with Hāmākua Harvest to include their annual Farm Festival as a kickoff event, featuring more than 40 vendors, all-day entertainment, learning opportunities and food. Shuttle services will be provided from various locations in Honoka‘a to the Farm Festival, located at the south end of Mamane Street. Free to attend. For more information, contact [email protected]āmā or call (808) 640-2506.

Stick Horse Creation – Monday, May 21, 3 to 5 p.m.
Bring keiki to the Hāmākua Youth Center for a free activity to make rides for the stick horse race to be held on Friday, May 25.

Up on the Silver Screen – Tuesday, May 22, at 5 p.m.
“Honoka‘a Western Week” the movie—a new addition this year—will screen at Honoka‘a People’s Theatre. Made by local filmmaker Steven Roby and Snap Judgement Films, the 50-minute documentary looks at the history of the event and features highlights from the 2017 Honoka‘a Western Week. Free to attend.

Line Dance Party – Tuesday, May 22, 6 to 9 p.m.
Kick up your heels during a group line dance party at Honoka‘a Peoples’ Theatre. All ages and skill levels are welcome. Practice sessions are happening now on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m. at Honoka’a High & Intermediate School Auditorium.


Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest – Wednesday, May 23, 5 to 7 p.m.
Pro chefs and home cooks of all ages are invited to enter the Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest at 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 taste to the next level. Prizes will be awarded in various categories including the coveted “Golden Ladle.” Winners will be recognized during the parade on Friday, May 25.

There is no fee to enter and forms are available online at, or by emailing Marysue Joyce at [email protected]. Contestants will need to prepare enough soup or bread for 50 tastings (about four quarts or four loaves of bread), and arrive at the NHERC pavilion by 4:30 p.m. Costumes and decorations are encouraged.

Keiki Round Up – Thursday, May 24, 3:30 p.m.
The public library in Honoka‘a will host games, bull roping, pa’u riders and more. Free to attend. A new event will follow called “Cowboy Scar Stories” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Listen to paniolos talk story about their adventures and the marks they have to prove them.

Western Week Parade – Friday, May 25, 5 to 6 p.m.
The parade will be held in downtown Honoka‘a. Mamane Street will be closed from 2 to 11 p.m.


Block Party – Friday, May 25, 6 to 10 p.m.
The festive block party event will feature a silent auction with items provided by local shops, and activities like Kozy’s Comedy & Magic Show. For information on vendor space, please contact Dawn Cordeiro at (808) 960-5832 or email [email protected].

Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent Contest – Friday, May 25
The annual talent contest gives participants a chance to kick up their heels and release their inner entertainer during the Friday block party. All ages are encouraged to dress up Western style and bring their best three-minute song, dance, story or other performance, for a chance to win cash prizes. There is no cost to enter. Applications are available online at, or from Noelani Anderson at [email protected].

62nd Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo – May 26 to 28
Gather at the Rose Andrade-Correia Stadium, Honoka‘a Rodeo Arena. Saturday is “slack” the qualifying events, with the finals on Sunday and Monday the 27th and 28th. Tickets are available from Rodeo Queen contestants or at the gate.

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