Arts and Culture

Honoka‘a’s Western Week: Fun for the Whole Family

People love living in Honoka’a because of its small-town charm with its historic main street, quaint stores, and restaurants. Every May, folks from across the island beat feet to Honoka‘a for the annual Western Week.

Art by Sarah Anderson

Annual Event

Celebrating the century-old paniolo heritage of the region, Western Week is one of the biggest annual events along the Hāmākua Coast. Held annually for more than 60 years, Western Week festivities take place May 20 to 28 with events for the whole family, including a parade and a rodeo – even a saloon girl contest!

Photo by Sarah Anderson

The action starts on Sunday, May 20 with the second annual Farm Festival from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hamakua Harvest, the weekly Sunday Farmers Market held right off the highway at 44-2600 Hawaii Belt Highway. More than 40 vendors will be selling locally grown produce, products, and artisanal foods. There are activities for kids (keiki), live music, plus educational seminars on Hawaiian culture and agriculture.

Throughout the week there are a variety of activities (see the schedule listed below), including stick horse racing for the kids and line dancing. Be sure to stop by the North Hawaii Education and Research Center (NHERC) Pavilion on Wednesday, May 23, from 5 – 8 p.m. for Portuguese Paniolo Night.

On Friday, May 25, Mamane Street closes down for its popular block party, stick horse races, and parade. The Stick Horse Races start at 4 p.m. with the Parade making its way down Mamane Street at 5 p.m. The community Block Party runs from 6-10 p.m. with a steak fry, Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent contests, plus dancing in the street.

Photo by Sarah Anderson

During Memorial Day weekend, the annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo takes place at Honoka‘a arena. It’s a wonderful opportunity for newcomers and long time residents to experience an actual rodeo complete with bull riding, roping, and sheep riding for the keiki (children)

Honoka‘a Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honoka‘a Business Association, the Hāmākua Farm Bureau, and the Hāmākua Lion’s Club. Local businesses really pull out all the stops when it comes to Western Week with storefronts displaying elaborate decorations and offering special sales and events as part of the festivities. If you haven’t been to Western Week before, check it this month. It’s one of those unique events that make living in Hawaii so special!

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