Celebrate Mardi Gras this weekend in Honoka‘a, rain or shine

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A scene from the inaugural Carnival festival Mardi Gras on Māmane in Honoka‘a in 2022. The Honoka‘a Business Association is excited to invite everyone back for the Mardi Gras festivities, food and fun for the second year Saturday, Feb. 18. Photo by Sarah Anderson.

“Laissez les bon temps rouler! Oui, mon cher.”

Yes, my dear. The good times will roll — with all the purple, gold and green you can handle — come rain or shine this weekend in Honoka‘a. And there will be plenty of beads.

Mardi Gras on Māmane, hosted by the Honoka‘a Business Association, will once again bring Carnival to the Big Island from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday along the community’s main thoroughfare. This is the second year for the festival that celebrates in true New Orleans style.

Entertainment will include live music provided by The Robert Savery Band, a Cajun funk band, at 3 p.m. in front of Honoka‘a People’s Theatre. There also will be two free showings of “The Princess and the Frog,” the 2009 Disney take on the classic fairy tale, at noon and 2 p.m. at the theater.


And, the theater also will have a Mardi Gras-themed ecstatic dance, kicking off with Glow Buti Yoga at 6 p.m. for a nominal $10 followed by Ecstatic Dance with DJ Uplifter at 7:15 p.m., also for $10, and ending with a sound bath with Hillary Smith.

Māmane Street, decked out in its finest Mardi Gras attire, will feature pop-up vendors and businesses selling a variety of items and offering their own Cajun flare.

Image from Facebook.

If you get hungry for some New Orleans-style grinds, several food trucks and others will be cooking up some Cajun creations. Honoka‘a’s own Fudge n’ Coffee Shop will be serving up jambalaya and dirty rice; Big Island Crab will offer a crawfish boil and other seafood boils along with po’boys and king cakes; and Big Island Grindz will tickle your taste buds with vegan Southern comfort food such as soursop fish and BBQ pulled jackfruit.

Jaw Jacker Grindz will plate up shrimp étouffée and steak po’boys while Sugars Hawai‘i BBQ will have pulled pork and brisket gumbo. B Juicy will offer fresh juices and smoothies; Pāhale Farms will be selling coffee drinks and honey; and all of the food trucks will have their regular menus available, too.


And, of course, there will be malasadas!

A photo stop will be set up downtown. People are encouraged to dress up in purple, green and gold and don their Mardi Gras masks or whatever festive wear they want to join the celebration.

The Mardi Gras event was created to draw people from around the island to Honoka‘a and is the brainchild of Marcel Rodrigues, owner of Wehi’s Boutique on Māmane Street, according to Honoka‘a Business Association Secretary Brianna Ronayne. Rodrigues came up with the idea and Ronayne and association president Michelle Hartman decided to run with it.

“We like to throw themed events to spark the interest of folks who may not normally think of coming to Honoka‘a,” Ronayne said.


Additional scenes from last year’s Mardi Gras on Māmane in Honoka‘a. Photos by Sarah Anderson.

While she didn’t have an exact count of how many people turned out for the first Mardi Gras on Māmane last year, Ronayne said downtown Honoka‘a was pretty packed: “Last year’s event was a huge success.”

Did you make it last year? If so, then you already know how much fun everybody had. If not, don’t miss your chance this year, mon ami. The Honoka‘a Business Association is excited to invite everyone back for the Mardi Gras festivities, food and fun. This faire la fête promises another grand time fit for the French Quarter.

“Expect a fun-filled, celebratory day!” Ronayne said.

For more information, visit the Mardi Gras on Māmane event page on Facebook.

Nathan Christophel
Nathan Christophel is a full-time reporter with Pacific Media Group. He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism as a reporter, copy editor and page designer. He previously worked at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in Hilo. Nathan can be reached at [email protected]
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