Honoka‘a Western Week Rides Again

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Honoka‘a Western Week returns from Sunday, May 20 to Monday, May 28, 2018.

The week-long event celebrates the community’s paniolo heritage with a roundup of activities spotlighting food, music and dance, storytelling and Hāmākua’s special breed of cowboy culture.

Courtesy photo.

Friday’s Paniolo Parade and Block Party draws 1,500-2,000 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 exciting Silent Auction items, and dance in the street to boot-stompin music by Patio Productions Band, Willie Joe Camara and Damien Demello.

Down on the farm

Last year, Western Week partnered up with Hāmākua Harvest to include their annual Farm Festival as a kickoff event, and the idea proved successful for all. This year’s event on Sunday, May 20, promises to be even bigger, with 40+ venders, all-day entertainment, learning opportunities and great food.
There is no charge for admission, and shuttle service will be provided from various locations in town to the Farm Festival, located at the south end of Mamane Street. For more information, contact [email protected]āmā or call (808) 640-2506.

Up on the silver screen


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

Following the film, from 6 to 9 p.m., Line Dancers are invited to the Honoka‘a People’s Theatre stage to kick up their heels as a group. All ages and skill levels are welcome, and those who would like to polish up their dancing boots are invited to free practice sessions on Tuesdays and Thursday 6 to 7 p.m. at Honoka’a High & Intermediate School Auditorium.

From the kitchen

Pro chefs and home cooks of all ages are invited to enter the Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest on Wednesday, May 23, 5 to 7 p.m. 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 taste to the next level.

Western Week. Courtesy photo.

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 on Friday.


There’s no entry fee, and forms are available online at, or email 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 bring to the NHERC Pavilion by 4:30 p.m. Costumes and decorations make for a festive setting and fun night 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. No cost to enter; applications available online at, or from Noelani Anderson, [email protected].

Western Week. Courtesy photo.


Hāmākua Harvest 3rd Annual Farm Festival. Sunday, May 20, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. A great way to kick off Western Week, with Hawaiian blessing and hula, all day entertainment, ag education and food to take home and fix – or eat on the spot!


Stick Horse Creation. Monday, May 21, 3-5 p.m. at Hāmākua Youth Center. A free activity for kids to to make their rides for the Stick Horse Race on Friday.

“Honoka’a Western Week” THE MOVIE. Tuesday, May 22, 5 p.m. at Honoka‘a People’s Theatre. Steven Roby’s entertaining documentary of last year’s Western Week adventure.

Line Dance Party. Tuesday, May 22, 6-9 p.m. at Honoka‘a Peoples’ Theatre. Everyone welcome. Practice sessions taking place now, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-7 p.m. at Honoka’a High & Intermediate School Auditorium.

Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest, Wednesday, May 23, 5-7 p.m. at the NHERC Pavilion. More more info and entry forms, contact Marysue Joyce, (808) 896-1664, [email protected].

Keiki Round Up. Thursday, May 24, 3:30 p.m. Come to the Library for games, bull roping, pa’u riders and more. Free. Followed by a NEW EVENT: “Cowboy Scar Stories” 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Honoka‘a Library. Listen to the paniolos talking story about their adventures, and the marks they have to prove ‘em.

Friday, May 25. WESTERN WEEK PARADE! 5-6 p.m. Please note NEW TIME. (Mamane Street will be closed from 2-11 p.m.)

BLOCK PARTY, 6-10 p.m. For information on vendor space, please contact Dawn Cordeiro, (808) 960-5832, [email protected]. During the party, a large Silent Auction gives lucky bidders the chance to round up bargains on items from local shops, activities like Kozy’s Comedy & Magic Show, and dining at some of the island’s best restaurants.

SALOON GIRLS & COWBOYS GOT TALENT Contests. Those who’ve got what it takes to release their inner superstar and share it with the crowd compete onstage for cash prizes and a shot at Western Week fame. For more information, contact Noelani Anderson, (808) 854-6646, [email protected].

DANCING IN THE STREET with the Patio Productions Band, Willie Joe Camara and Damien Demello.

May 26-28. 62nd Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo, 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 available from Rodeo Queen contestants or at the gate.

Honoka‘a Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honoka‘a Business Association, the Historic Honoka’a Town Project, Steinlager, SCADA & Control Systems, LLC, and others. Checks payable to “Honokaʻa Business Association” can be sent to P.O. Box 474, Honokaʻa HI 96727, attention: Honoka‘a Western Week. For more information and entry forms for all events, follow Honoka‘a Western Week on Facebook or visit

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