Dust off your spurs and break out your saddle — it’s almost time for Honoka‘a Western Week

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Giddyup, Big Island. Western Week rides back into Honoka‘a in full force this year, celebrating the Hāmākua community’s paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) heritage and unique cultural blend.

Honoka‘a Western Week rides back in full force from May 19-29 this year in the Hāmākua community on the Big Island. (Courtesy photo)

The 10-day event, from May 19-29 this year, promises a  friendly competition, ono food, music, dancing, storytelling, keiki games and Honoka‘a’s special breed of cowboy culture. This year’s grand marshals are Waltham and Bernadette Johansen.

Honoka‘a Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honoka‘a Business Association, Hāmākua Kohala Health and other sponsors and supporters. But before all of the festivities get underway, the crew is recruiting:

  • Western Week Parade entries. The parade is from 4 to 5 p.m. May 20. Contact Kai Carvalho at 808-640-6095 or via email [email protected]. The deadline to apply is May 5.
  • Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent hopefuls. Contestants vie for cash prizes and bragging rights, releasing their inner superstar and share them with the crowd during the competition that begins at 6 p.m. May 20. All kinds of talents are welcome, from aerial silks and acrobatics to zookeepers and Zydeco. Email [email protected] to throw your cowboy hat into the ring or apply online. The deadline to apply is May 12.
  • Volunteers and vendors for the block party. The party is a cowboy culture celebration, with food trucks, vendor booths and dancing in the street to the music of the Saddle Road Band. Email Ta’sa McDonald at [email protected]. The deadline to apply is May 6.
  • Contestants for the Portuguese bean soup/smoke meat contest. The contest is slated for 5 to 7 p.m. May 23 at the Ahualoa Family Farms Mac Nut Factory. Email Mallion at [email protected] or call 808-765-9373 to participate or apply online.
  • Vendors and volunteers for the Hāmākua Harvest Farm Festival. The festival will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 21 and will celebrate canoe crops such as ʻulu, ʻuala, kalo, mai‘a and niu. It starts with a Hawaiian blessing and hula, then continues with all day entertainment, canoe crop education and fresh, local-raised food to take home and fix — or eat on the spot. For more information, email Tanner Keys at [email protected].
  • Silent auction items. Contact Myrna Green at 808-960-0366 or via email at [email protected].

Anyone interested in volunteering or donating to the event in other capacities can email to [email protected].


Except for a nominal charge for admission to the annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo from noon until pau May 28-29 at the Rose Andrade-Correia Stadium, events are free and everyone is encouraged to join in the fun.

Collectible Western Week buttons will be available to purchase for $5. While buttons are not required for admission, all the cowboys and cowgirls planning to attend are given fair warning that anyone without a button at the block party from 3 to 10 p.m. May 20 risk being thrown into the hoosegow by roving sheriffs — all in good fun, of course.

For more information and entry forms for all events, follow Honoka‘a Western Week on Facebook or click here.



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