Hawai'i State News

Cherry blossom festival lists 2024 venues, reveals annual poster artwork winner

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A painting titled “Cherry Blossom Days” is the official artwork of the 31st Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival on the Big Island.

The annual event will be held Feb. 3, sprawling through town from Parker Ranch Historic Homes to Church Row Park. The festival offers a full lineup of free, multi-cultural performing arts and hands-on demonstrations, plus a multitude of crafters and food booths, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Look for the pink festival banners in town identifying venues.

The 2024 event artwork is by Kea‘au artist Patti Pease Johnson. The acrylic painting was the winning art among a field of 11 chosen by the festival committee. Depicting blooming cherry blossoms and buds on a tree branch, the art has been reproduced on a limited number of festival collector posters available for $10 at Waimea Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery.

Pease Johnson says her goal of “Cherry Blossom Days” was to accentuate the beauty of the tiny cherry blossoms by “creating a thick, colorful modeling of the petals by using a palette knife.”

Festival activities are at various venues stretching through the town’s center. Roberts Hawai‘i offers free shuttle service between Parker Ranch Historic Homes, Parker Ranch Center, Church Row Park and Pukalani Stables. Parking is available at Parker Ranch Center, the soccer field across Church Row Park and along Pukalani Street.


The free handout, “2024 Festival Activity Lineup,” will be available at all venues to guide festival goers among activities. In addition, a free 2024 Souvenir Program will also be distributed to showcase the many organizations that put on the festival. Both of these publications will also be available online through a bar code published on posters throughout the festival.

Presented by the county’s department of parks and recreation and community members, the festival marks the blooming of the historic cherry trees at Church Row Park and celebrates the age-old Japanese tradition of hanami, which translates to “cherry blossom viewing party.” After a seasonal winter chill, the trees typically bloom in early February.

A quick rundown of festival activities at various locations follows (times are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. unless specified otherwise). Schedule and times are subject to change; activities are free unless noted.

2024 Festival Activities and Lineup

Church Row Park—Hwy. 19


• Historical Cherry Tree Display: Waimea Lions’ Club offers a pictorial history of the cherry trees and serves as the festival’s official lost-and-found station. T-shirt sales.  

• Entertainmant: Halau Manaola, Ryukukoku Matsuri Daiko Taiko, Puna Taiko and more

• Bonsai: The Waimea Bon-yu Kai Bonsai Club offers a display and sale of bonsai, ongoing demonstrations and a clinic to discuss and work on the art of bonsai.

Kamuela Hongwanji and Church Row Park

• Food & Cherry Branch Sales: Mission members offer Asian food sales: nishime bento, chichi mochi, andagi and chili/rice bowl. Cherry tree branches for sale if available.


• Cooking Demos at Kamuela Hongwanji: Hawai‘i Island resort and restaurant chefs offer cooking demonstrations 9:30 a.m. 2 p.m.

• Open House at Kamuela Hongwanji: Rev. Masanari Yamagishi explains Shin Buddhism rituals.

• Keiki Activities at Kamuela Hongwanji: Presented by Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

Parker Ranch CenterHwy. 19

• Festival Entertainment Stage: In the Centerʻs back parking lot. 9 a.m. blessing opens festival with introduction of dignitaties; entertainment until 3 p.m. Join-in dance with North Hawai‘i Bon Dancers starts 9:20 a.m. followed by entertainment by the Just Us Band, Saddle Road Band, Johnny Ness & The Rock Ness Monsters and Taishoji Taiko.  

• Craft Fair: Over 75 crafters and info booths inside and out of the Center.

• Mochi Tsuki Pounding: Help pound mochi with members of the Kona Hongwanji Buddhist Temple outside in the back parking lot starting 10 a.m.; samples.

• Vehicle Display: IK Dealer Group displays new vehicles from Kama‘aina Motors, Kama‘aina Nissan, Kona Nissan and Kona Auto Center behind the Center in the grassy lot next to Mana Christian ʻOhana.

Waimea Historic CornerHwys. 19/190 intersection

• Firehouse Gallery Activities: Waimea Arts Council presents “31st Annual Cherry Blossom Art Exhibition” with originals and prints for sale, including the new and past festival posters for $10. Hands-on cherry blossom art for all ages, materials provided, outside chalk drawing.

• Waimea Preservation Association Cottage: open house and fun on the 20-foot-square chess board 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

• Thelma Parker Memorial Public and School Library: Create your own acrylic painting of a blooming cherry branch with guidance from Waimea Arts Council artist. Materials provided (while supplies last).

Parker Ranch Historic Homes – Hwy. 190

• Free Tours of Historic Homes: Visit Puuopelu and Mana Hale, two homes that chronicle the Parker familyʻs rich history involving monarchs, ranching and Broadway.

• Japanese Tea Ceremony: The Urasenke Hilo Association performs traditional chanoyu 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

• Asian Dance and Music: “Sakura Beauty and Spirit” performed 2 p.m. by local musicians and members of the Shizuno Nasu Dance Institute of Japan.

Waimea Center Hwy. 19

• KTA Super Stores Waimea: Food demonstrations 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

• Waimea Center’s Atrium: Entertainment 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m, Kohala Taiko Drummers, Honoka‘a Jazz Band, Sho-shin Kai Koto, lion dance.

Historic Spencer House (Next to Waimea Center) Hwy. 19

• Japanese Collectibles: View a display of vintage kimono, obi and collection of kokeshi dolls, plus learn about the 1840 Spencer House.

Keck Observatory Headquarters Lawn Hwy. 19

• Telescope Viewing: See our nearest star, the Sun! Festival craft fair.

Kamuela Liquor Store – Hwy. 19: Sake tasting noon-3 p.m.

Pukalani Stables Pukalani Road

• Kamuela Farmers Market: Browse over 70 food and product vendors, including sales of cherry trees and blooming branches 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Face painting 10 a.m.-1 p.m., food demos 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m., North Hawai‘i Bon Dancers 11:30 a.m.-noon, Darlene Ahuna noon-1 p.m. 

Holo Holo Ku at Parker Ranch next to Pukalani Stables

Cherry Choo Choo train rides for young keiki, $5 fee.

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