Honoka‘a Western Week Rides Into Town May 18–27

April 28, 2019, 12:30 PM HST
* Updated April 16, 3:07 PM
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Honoka‘a Western Week (HWW), rides into town May 18 through 27, 2019, celebrating the community’s paniolo heritage with a whole passel of activities. The weeklong event is a roundup of food, music, dancing, storytelling, kids’ activities, and Hāmākua’s special breed of cowboy culture. Grand Marshall this year is Honoka‘a’s Ambassador of Aloha Richard Tadio, and there will be a special tribute to the late Uncle William Andrade.

Sheriff Larry Ignacio is on the lookout for official Western Week buttons. Courtesy photo.

New this year, Western Week kicks off on Saturday, May 18 with the Paniolo Parade and Block Party, when Mamane Street closes to cars and opens for horses, fun, silent auction and dancing in the street. The signature event draws thousands of folks from near and far to enjoy the colorful parade, Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent contests, great food, and boot-stompin’ music by Willie Joe Camara and Damien Demello.

Except for a nominal charge for rodeo admission, events are free, and the public is encouraged to participate. For the little cowpokes, there’s a free workshop on Tuesday to help them make their own stick horses for the races on Thursday. Moms, grammas, uncles and aunties who love to cook are invited to enter the Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest on Wednesday, and the whole family can enjoy multiple events for cowboys and cowgirls of all ages at the 63rd Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo, May 25 through 27.

Commemorative HWW buttons will be available to purchase as a show of support, as well as automatic entry in the “lucky number” drawing during the block party. Although buttons are not required for admission, attendees receive fair warning that those without buttons at the block party risk being thrown into the hoosegow by roving sheriffs. (All in good fun). 

Honoka‘a Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honoka‘a Business Association, the Hāmākua Kohala Health, North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center (NHERC), Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter, Steinlager, and many other sponsors and supporters celebrating Hāmākua’s paniolo heritage and unique cultural blend.  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 go online.



Schedule of Events

Saturday, May 18

  • 4 to 5 p.m. WESTERN WEEK PARADE! Mamane Street will be closed from 2 to 11 p.m. For more information, call Kai Gacayan (808) 640-6095 or [email protected]
  • 3 to 10 p.m. Block Party. A celebration of great foods and a whole lot more. Interested vendors, please contact Dawn Cordeiro, (808) 960-5832, [email protected]. Saloon Girls & Cowboys Got Talent Contests. Contestants vie for cash prizes when they release their inter superstar and share it with the crowd. Entry forms available online or email [email protected]. Dancing in the Street with the Patio Productions Band, Willie Joe Camara and Damien Demello. Treasures and bargains at the Silent Auction.

Sunday, May 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hāmākua Harvest 4th Annual Farm Festival. A great partner event for Western Week, with Hawaiian blessing and hula, all day entertainment, ag education and food to take home and fix – or eat on the spot. For more information, go online.


Monday, May 20, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Kukaiau Ranch Talk Story with Music, at Honoka‘a Library. Attendees will  hear stories about cowboy life on Kukaiau Ranch by folks who were there. The Library will be sponsoring a day jam-packed with things, beginning at 11 a.m., including family/community-friendly outdoor activities and games. Highlights are the “Chalk Story” (family histories/stories chalked onto sidewalk panels), make-your-own bolo ties, a paniolo-themed “photo booth” and guided paniolo-themed painting (ages 16+), plus various rootin’ tootin’ games!

Tuesday, May 21, 3 to 5 p.m. Stick Horse Creation, at the NHERC Pavilion. Keiki construct their own horses for for the Stick Horse Races on Thursday, and it’s free! Call Mahealani at (808) 775-0976 for more information.

Wednesday, May 22, 5 to 7 p.m., Portuguese Bean Soup & Sweetbread Contest, at the NHERC Pavilion. For more info and entry forms, contact Myrna Green, (808) 960-0366 or email [email protected]. Entry forms online.

Thursday, May 23, 4 to 6 p.m., Keiki Cowboy Games and Stick Horse Races, at the Rose Andrade-Correia Rodeo Arena.

Friday, May 24: 5 p.m. Western Week Movie Night, a unique documentary film by Steve Roby at Honoka‘a Peoples’ Theatre, followed by the new Western Fashion Show at 6 p.m., and Line Dancing, 7-9 p.m. 

May 25 to 27. 63rd annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo, at the Rose Andrade-Correia Stadium, noon till pau. Saturday is “slack”, the qualifying events, and the finals begin at noon on Sunday and Monday the 26 and 27. Tickets available from Rodeo Queen contestants or at the gate.


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