Travel to the Okinawan Festival this Labor Day

Hawaii is a timeshare rental vacation dream for many people, what with its sublime weather, tropical beauty, gorgeous beaches, and all kinds of outdoor activities. And there seems to always be something fun going on there! One of the most eagerly anticipated events of the summer by locals and visitors alike is the Okinawan Festival.

In 2010 this annual festival will be celebrated for the 28th time over Labor Day weekend at Kapiolani Park on Oahu. This gigantic event (it requires over 2000 volunteers) had humble beginnings when a local group of Okinawan women wanted to share Okinawa and its culture with the public. Hui O Laulima, the Okinawan women's group, held its "Cultural Jubilee," in 1971, which included a troupe of Okinawan dance masters sent over by the Japanese government.

The first Okinawan Festival was held in 1982 at McCoy Pavilion in Ala Moana Park. Over the years the numbers of programs and events have grown so that the Okinawan Festival is now a premiere annual Hawaiian event, attracting more than 50,000 visitors each year, and requiring the space of Hawaii's largest park, Kapiolani.

This year's Festival offers continuous entertainment programs at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand by Okinawan performers both Japanese and those native to Hawaii. There is also an opportunity for visitors to join in the festivities at the "Bon Dance." This traditional dance honors the ancestors, and is fun and easy to learn. Dress in your kimono and happi coat and dance the night away!

Many games, activities and craft classes will be offered for kids. For a fee, in the Cultural Tent, children can dress in the traditional Okinawan attire bingata (kimono) with a hanagasa (headdress), or as a paranku (drummer) and have a keepsake picture taken by a professional photographer.

Food booths will abound to let you sample traditional Okinawan cuisine, including the popular andagi (a delicious type of donut), and sobi noodles garnished with kamaboko (fishcake), and shoyu pork. You'll also want to try the Champuru Plate and the Yakitori Stick!

Attending this big event from your Oahu timeshare will be easy since the Festival organizers plan shuttle buses. You can park for free at Kapiolani Community College and ride roundtrip for just $1. The shuttle buses have storage compartments for such things as baby strollers and large bags.

(Photos provided by
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