HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND – Nature Always Wins (Part 3 of 3) September 20, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Big Island Hawaii, HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND , add a comment
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
Nature Always Wins (Part III)
Puna’s population has grown enormously since the 1960s, when the big subdivisions were created: Hawaiian Paradise Park (HPP), Nanawale Estates, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Ainaloa, and Orchidland. The lots were not expensive – some cost as little as a Volkswagen Bug. Back then, it was assumed that only retirees, farmers and hippies would want to live so far (20 or more miles) from Hilo. Developers were encouraged, but not required, to install curbs, gutters and sidewalks along their interior roads; but since there was only one paved road in and out of Puna anyway – the two-lane State Highway 130 – it seemed pointless to bring the subdivision streets up to even that modest standard. But after the sugar industry was shuttered, in the 1980s, many people who worked in Hilo started buying the relatively inexpensive lots out in Puna, and commuting along Hwy 130. Traffic increased, and the morning and evening drive-times became so frustratingly congested, that finally, in 2010, the State began a project to widen Hwy 130 between Kea‘au and Pahoa, and to install roundabouts where Pahoa’s main street and the largest subdivision roads feed into the highway.
But there have long been calls to upgrade two dirt roads, makai of and roughly parallel to the highway, so they could take some of the traffic load away from the highway. One is Railroad Ave. which, when it had tracks, carried sugarcane trains from Kapoho all the way to Hilo. The other, hugging the coast, and very rugged even for 4WD vehicles, is called Government Beach Road; it originally linked Kapoho with Kaloli Point in HPP. From lack of foresight, however, neither of these roads goes its full length, anymore; they’re in segments, interrupted by overgrown lots, and allowed to become residential, in some places enabling homes to be built within their rights-of-way. And nothing was ever done to improve them. Until now.
The lava from Pu‘u O‘o, which in September emerged in the forest-reserve above Pahoa town, is steadily flowing downhill, burning the ohia and waiawi trees and everything else in its path. No one knows exactly where it will go, nor when nor if it will stop before reaching the ocean. Whether or not it goes through the streets of Pahoa, it would have to cross Hwy 130 somewhere; and that would force everyone on the Kapoho side of Pahoa to evacuate along Railroad and/or the Beach road.
Here is video captured by Mick Kalber, flying with Paradise Helicopters, showing the lava flow burning its way through trees, as it nears the edge of the forest.
County and state highway departments are working, right now, punching through undeveloped brushlands to connect their segments, and improve them at least enough to be passable by ordinary cars. Lava would eventually cross those roads too, although by that time, it should be possible to repair and re-open Hwy 130. And there is talk of (once again) repairing the Chain of Craters road. That would enable people in lower Puna to get out by going up through the National Park to Volcano.
Here is an official county map of the roads undergoing improvement. Photograph of an official Hawaii County map showing planned roadwork. Much of it is already well underway.
Whatever happens, it is important to remember that the Island of Hawaii is alive. We take our friends and family to Halemaumau and gape at the big crater; we walk through the steam-vents; we hike trails that, only a few years ago, were eruption sites. We stop along the jet-black landscape of Kona, leaving bits of white coral as our graffiti, but little thinking what that land must have been like when it was a miles-wide river of red-hot molten rock.
Hurricanes form every summer, in the warm waters of the Pacific, but they “hardly ever” come ashore in Hawaii. And as frequent as eruptions have always been, we only rarely get to see their end-game, when lava makes its inexorable way down from summit to sea. And whether we choose to accept this phenomenon of nature as expressing the will of the volcano goddess Pele, or prefer to examine it through the scientific lenses of volcanology and seismology, it is a defining characteristic of life on the Big Island. Those of us who choose to live here are compelled to accept the fact that, whatever we may do to make a home for ourselves on this living island, in the end, Nature will always win.
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND – Nature Always Wins (Part 2 of 3) September 19, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Big Island Hawaii, HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND , add a comment
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
Nature Always Wins (Part II)
As if a hurricane in August weren’t enough trouble for the Puna district [see Part I], a new source of trouble arose in September. It seemed to echo the words of an old hymn: “No more water, but the fire next time.”
There are three active volcanoes on the Big Island. Hualalai, in the west, rises above North Kona and South Kohala. The flows from its last eruption, in the early 19th century, are what you drive through on the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway. Mauna Loa, the biggest volcano on earth, takes up half of the entire island. It erupted briefly in the 1970s and ‘80s, but hasn’t made much of an impact on the island since the 1920s, when its lava burned through an enormous wedge of South Kona, including what’s now called Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.
But Kilauea is the most active, having been erupting on-and-off for centuries, and in continuous eruption since 1983. Like its neighbors, Kilauea is a “shield” volcano, meaning that its summit does not come to a (stereotypical) point, like Fuji. Rather, it’s a lengthy ridge called a “rift zone,” along which vents can emerge almost anywhere – and do.
1959 Eruption of Kilauea Volcano by Hawaii Volcano Observatory, USGS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1960, a previously unknown vent at the far end of Kilauea’s East Rift Zone opened up under the village of Kapoho. In the 1970s, lava from vents within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park closed the Chain of Craters road. A couple of times, the road was repaired, but new flows cut through it again and again, and the effort was discontinued. Kilauea eventually wiped out the park’s heiaus and historic sites along the coast, and flowed beyond the park’s boundaries, where it smothered a couple of subdivisions, two famously photogenic black-sand beaches, the spring-fed Queen’s Bath pond, and much of what had been a thriving, mostly native Hawaiian neighborhood called Kalapana.
For the past ten years or so, Kilauea’s most active vent has been under the cinder cone called Pu‘u O‘o. Lava there has tended to pool and puddle close to the vent, making the surface swell, then slowing down and dribbling off in the general direction of the ocean (makai), but stopping far uphill, well short of the coast.
“Puu Oo – Crater Lava pond 1990″ by J.D. Griggs – USGS HVO. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
In early September, though, lava originating at Pu‘u O‘o found (or created) a lava-tube, through which it has since been moving at high speed downhill on the inland side of the East Rift Zone: that is: mauka, into the island, heading toward a rural subdivision and – beyond it – to the little town of Pahoa. (To Be Continued)
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND – Nature Always Wins (Part 1 of 3) September 18, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Big Island Hawaii, HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND , add a comment
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
Nature Always Wins [Part I]
In My Fair Lady, Professor Higgins is trying to teach young Eliza Doolittle to say the “h” at the start of words, since Cockney folks like her tend to drop it (as in “’ow are you?” or “’ave a nice day”). So he gives her this sentence to practice: “In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen.”
He might have added “Hawaii” to that list – meaning the Big Island of Hawaii, which had apparently never experienced a direct hit by a hurricane, at least not since haoles started keeping written records about 200 years ago. But that changed last August, when a hurricane named “Iselle” slammed into the eastern corner of our diamond-shaped island. The south- and east-facing flatlands of the Puna district took the biggest hit. Iselle tore solar panels off roofs, and some roofs off houses; but the felling of trees – one kind of tree in particular – caused the most serious and widespread damage.
During the 20th century, Puna was extensively planted with trees to replace ohia and other native species that had been logged off, and to make forests out of fields where sugar cane land had gone fallow. Everyone – developers especially, who were subdividing land into house-lots – believed that people needed trees, both for shade and for giving or restoring a tropical look-and-feel to the place. The tree-of-choice for this enterprise was albezia (Falcataria moluccana), from the islands of Southeast Asia. It seemed ideal. One of the fastest-growing trees in the world, albezia can reach 60 feet in just ten years; it produces a wide-spreading canopy that drops lots of seeds, and thereby extends its range without further human effort.
Unfortunately, albezia is trouble. Those long branches are brittle, easily snapped away by strong winds; and sometimes, for no good reason, they just break off and fall. Land in Puna is very young, geologically, so there isn’t much soil above the underlying lava; all trees there are shallow-rooted; so heavy, mature albezia are therefore extremely vulnerable to being toppled in a storm. And that tendency to colonize new ground squeezes out other trees, and turns otherwise vacant lots into a forest of practically no other tree but itself. Albezia definitely lives up to its nickname: “The Tree that Ate Puna.”
So, when Iselle struck on Thursday August 7, its 60-mph wet winds whipped down acre after acre of albezias. Branches and trunks crashed into on houses, pulled down utility lines, and blocked even the widest roads, isolating pockets of neighborhoods, and cutting off electricity, telephone and cable-TV. Many homes in Puna had catchment-tanks for rainwater, but unless they also had a generator, they had no way to pump that water through their faucets. This was an emergency, the likes of which had not been seen anywhere in the state since hurricane Iniki devastated Kauai in 1992.
Road crew workers clearing the main thoroughfares of the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Iselle in Pahoa, Hawaii, 08 August 2014. [LA Times - www.veooz.com/news/QHP36N9.html]
And just two days later, on Saturday Aug. 9, Hawaii held its Primary Election. With several thousand people unable to get to their polling-places, two precincts in Pun were closed, and a make-up election for those precincts was scheduled in the weeks ahead. When those folks did finally vote, they did not alter the election-day results. But the delay added to a general malaise – which admittedly had been growing for many years – that Puna is a backwater, about which the rest of the County and State care little. But the fact remains that Puna is beautiful, verdant, and one of the most affordable places to live in Hawaii . . . if you don’t mind also being downrift of an active volcano! (To Be Continued)
Prized Legacy Asset! Once In A Generation Opportunity! September 8, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Updates , add a comment
Now available: Once in a generation opportunity to own a sprawling 321 acre ocean view estate perched along the edge of downtown Hilo, bordering Wailuku River and Pukihae Stream.
With mountain views, panoramic coastal vistas, expansive exotic fruit orchards, and a large cattle ranch, these 16 separate parcels hold endless potential.
An abundance of prime building sites offer buyers the opportunity to develop multiple stream-front estates, or to hold as a land trust for future generations.
With immediate proximity to the Big Island’s growing center of commerce, this is a prized legacy asset.
Experienced farmers are currently in place to maintain the cattle ranch and fruit orchards, offering buyers the opportunity to take over these valuable assets with minimal management concerns.
The owner’s preference is to sell all 16 parcels (MLS 274715 and MLS 276297) to a single buyer for the price of $7.5 million. However, it may be possible to buy the north and south sides of the estate separately.
MLS 276297 (the north side of the estate) includes 7 parcels totaling 168 acres. It is priced at $3.55 million. These parcels are currently being leased out as a cattle ranch, and have fantastic ocean and mountain views. Four of these parcels have Pukihae Stream frontage.
MLS 274715 (the south side of the estate) includes 9 parcels totaling 153 acres. It is priced at $3.95 million. Ocean views abound. Four of the parcels enjoy stream or Wailuku River frontage. These parcels are also planted with hundreds of exotic tropical fruit trees including Lychee, Mangosteen, Longan, Rambutan, Citrus and Coffee. An experienced orchard management company currently runs the fruit operations.
A custom 3 bedroom, 2 bath home built on the south side of the estate (MLS 274715) is currently leased to a tenant. With high ceilings and hardwood floors, this comfortable ranch style home has a large patio with commanding views of Hilo Bay.
For info and pics sent instantly to your mobile device: Text “1549″ to 79564.
For full images and virtual tour, go to: www.MaikalaniStreet.com
Largest Wholesale Fruit Tree Nursery in Hawaii August 4, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Big Island Hawaii, Featured Listings, Updates , add a comment
Plant It Hawaii is the largest wholesale fruit tree nursery in the State of Hawaii, and has built a solid reputation as the industry leader. This turnkey business has a consistent track record of quality products and positive name recognition throughout the State and beyond.
Sale includes five contiguous parcels (5 separate TMKs 3-1-7-17-130, 165,166,167,168), office building, warehouse, certified kitchen, six greenhouses, two shadehouses, garage, equipment, 8 acres of irrigated fruit tree nursery, established exotic fruit orchards (including Rambutan, Longan, Lychee, Starfruit, Citrus, etc.), and the turnkey Plant It Hawaii business (trade name, accounts, plant inventory, goodwill, etc.).
Plant It Hawaii produces over 200 varieties of sub-tropical and tropical fruit trees. The majority of customers are retail garden centers and orchard developers within the State of Hawaii. Plant It Hawaii also services local landscapers and “end user” consumers who attend semi-annual retail sales. A growing segment is the out-of-state clients to whom they export air layers of varieties of Lychee and Longan & other desirable “new” exotic cultivars.
In addition to the 8 acre nursery, there is a 13 acre scion wood orchard supplying the propagation material for the nursery. There are also 22 acres of producing fruit orchards, including Longan, Lychee, Rambutan and other exotics.
The quality trees produced by the owners and loyal staff of Plant It Hawaii are the result of a 20+ year effort to find, collect and propagate the best cultivars and plant material from around the world.
Plant It Hawaii is conveniently located in Kurtistown, just one mile from the Volcano Highway and nine miles from Hilo with close access to inter-island port facilities, airport and major government offices.
The nursery employs 15 full time nursery and orchard workers who are trained in all phases of propagation and plant maintenance.
Contact us today for more information. To receive info and pictures to your mobile phone, text “4254″ to 79564.
For full images and virtual tour, go to: www.BuyPlantItHawaii.com
What’s Shakin’? July 28, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Featured Listings, Updates , add a comment
To that question, the answer is: smoothies, mainly: juicy fruit-filled blends that people will – and do – drive hundreds of miles to enjoy. And arguably the best place to get a smoothie on the Big Island is What’s Shakin’, on the popular “scenic route” – the original highway that’s now a byway, up the Hamakua Coast.
The smoothies are made of frozen fruit — no fillers, no ice. Just good, homegrown fruit.
It started as a fruit stand, 20 years ago, and its owners still jokingly call it that, with great affection for what it was and what it has become. Patsy and Tim Withers came to the Big Island from L.A. in 1987, and bought 23 acres along the old road, much of which had been planted in macadamia nuts over the previous decade, after the local sugar company went out of business. The land was (and still is) zoned for agriculture, and had no structures on it except a tractor shed, although the Withers also purchased a modest two-bedroom house on its own lot just across the road.
Patsy, an accomplished dancer, and Tim, a moto-cross racing champ, both wanted to farm the land. They removed most of the mac-nut trees, replaced them with fruit trees and dozens of banana plants, and opened (what else?) a fruit stand. Their timing was excellent, as the old frontage road was just then becoming a visitor attraction. Along its four miles of rainforest, streams, gorges and rocky coastline between Papaikou and Pepeekeo, it is similar to the road to Hana, on Maui (albeit only one-tenth as long). And only a mile or so away, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden had opened, showcasing native and exotic plants in a lush valley culminating at Onomea Bay. The Withers quickly realized that their little fruit stand could be a destination in itself if they offered more than just fresh fruit.
So they built a small restaurant, open only from 10-5 every day, serving sandwiches and snacks, but mainly featuring smoothies made exclusively from fruit they had grown. Word spread quickly, aided by the then-new Internet, through which happy patrons contributed glowing reviews to travel sites. As a result, What’s Shakin’s smoothies have become a must-try, not only for independent travelers in rental cars, from as far away as Kona, but also as a scheduled stop for groups on backpack- and bicycle tours.
5-Star Business, Known Internationally, Featured in Magazines
Over the years, the Withers converted the house across the way to a vacation-rental, and built their own home behind the restaurant: a two-story house that stands on the 1,800-square-foot pad of that old tractor shed.
Zen Inspired Retreat Residence
Historic Vintage Cottage Guest Home — High Demand Rental
But now the Withers feel it’s time to move on, so everything is for sale: the house, the vacation-rental, and of course, What’s Shakin’. It’s a rare opportunity to acquire not only a unique home on a large parcel in a stunningly beautiful part of the island, but an enormously popular visitor-industry enterprise with a growing customer base.
Patsy doesn’t mince words, however, about what it takes to run What’s Shakin’. “Like any small business, you have to devote the time, not only to make good smoothies but to make sure everything is done right. This is not a fast-food operation,” she told me. “We have three employees, who’ll be happy to stay on; but you have to work there with them. You can take vacations, but you have to plan ahead for them.”
The expression “what’s shakin’?” is a colloquial contraction for “what’s going on, and what’s coming up?” And to Patsy and Tim, the present and the future of their industry is all about fresh fruit and vegetables and other demonstrably healthy foods. “With that in mind,” she said, “it seems to Tim and me that you just can not stop What’s Shakin’!”
To view the listing, virtual tour, photo gallery and full details, click here: www.OnomeaRetreat.com
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND – High Victorian Fun in Volcano July 18, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Entertainment, HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND , add a comment
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
High Victorian Fun in Volcano
Every few years, one of the greatest legacies of the Victorian Era is celebrated on the Big Island. If you enjoy musical comedies, you can thank the “operettas” that premiered in London in the 1880s and ‘90s. Their tone was light and comic; much of the dialog was spoken; the songs introduced the characters and advanced the plot – in other words, the model for all the musical comedies that have followed.
The greatest (and still the funniest) of the Victorian operettas were invented by two rather unlikely collaborators. Sir Arthur Sullivan was a celebrated classical composer. His theater pieces are snappy and beautiful and immensely memorable, but he thought he was wasting his talents on such light fare. Sir William S. Gilbert was England’s leading humorist, able to fill his lyrics with more rhymes in English than anyone before, and few since. But he had no ear for music. Yet the entertainments that Gilbert and Sullivan created together have been performed continuously, all over the world. You can be sure that there is a G&S production on stage, somewhere, right now.
In fact, you can see one here on the Big Island this coming weekend and next. G&S operettas are a regular feature of the Kilauea Drama and Entertainment Network (KDEN), presented at the Kilauea Theater, in Volcano. Producer/Director Suzi Bond has been doing two musical shows a year, there, for ten years, and this is the fifth in her G&S series.
On stage this year is Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse. Though not as well-known as The Mikado and HMS Pinafore, this one has plenty of what G&S operettas are famous for: lovesick maidens, hidden identities, an elderly spinster, a hero who’s not as bold as he might like to be, and a “topsy-turvy” conflict between love and duty. (Full disclosure: I’ve gotten the lowdown on Gilbert and Sullivan from one of my clients, who’s in the show.) The plot of Ruddigore is laugh-out-loud funny, a quirky parody of old-time lurid melodramas, complete with a mustache-twirling villain, and ghosts who come to life from their painted portraits!
Dame Hannah (l.) astonishes the corps of professional bridesmaids with the legend of the witch’s curse on all the Baronets of Ruddigore.
The orchestra is large, and so is the cast, with much young local talent — as there always is in the KDEN shows. And the theater itself is a little 280-seat gem inside Kilauea Military Camp, built by the WPA and CCC in the 1930s for servicemen’s R&R, within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (From about half an hour before show-time, you won’t have to pay the park admission if you’re going to the theater.)
The ghosts of his ancestors hound the newest Baronet of Ruddigore to suffer the curse: he must commit one heinous crime a day or die in agony.
There are six upcoming performances: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays July 18, 19, 25 and 26; and 2:30 matinees on Sundays July 20 and 27. Tickets are available in Hilo at The Most Irresistible Shop, in Volcano at Kilauea General Store, and in Kea’au at Kea’au Natural Foods. The price is $15 general; $12 for students, $10 for children. Call KDEN at 982-7344 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info about this delightful musical — oops, I mean operetta.
Living the Dream! Home, Business and Guest House! July 15, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Featured Listings, HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND, Updates , add a comment
Living the dream … Located on the Onomea Scenic Drive, just north of Hilo, you’ll find a serene zen-inspired retreat residence, surrounded by over 20 acres of income-producing tropical fruit orchards.
Imagine waking up in a Feng Shui inspired home. An upstairs master suite has cathedral ceilings, separate sitting area, and an ocean-view lanai. Downstairs is an open concept main living area and bedroom with sweeping views. Breakfast on fresh superfoods from your orchards. Slip down the street to enjoy beautiful Onomea Bay for a swim or snorkel. In the evening, enjoy guacamole made with your own avocados — over 6 varieties ensure ripe fruit year-round.
Over 90% of the bananas, avocados, dragon fruit, guavas, rambutans and other exotic fruits grown on the property are used in an on-site business. The remainder is sold to Whole Foods.
“What’s Shakin” smoothie stand is a 5 star farm-to-table business located on the property. It is known internationally for featuring some of the freshest fruit smoothies you’ll find anywhere on the planet. The business has been in operation for 20 years and has an excellent reputation and scores of repeat customers. “What’s Shakin” has been featured in Sunset magazine, and is on the “must visit” list for numerous travel publications. One reviewer on Trip Advisor posted “Rarely is one able to sample the ‘best’ of something.” Rarer still, is the opportunity to own it.
Across from the smoothie stand lies an historic guest home currently in high demand as a rental. Once used as a train station, this charming vintage cottage has been meticulously maintained and expertly furnished with decor that embraces the region’s plantation roots. The result is a romantic retreat into a bygone era.
3 TMKs are included: 3-2-7-11-6, 3-2-7-11-15, and 3-2-7-11-24.
The operation is well-run,with an experienced, reliable staff. The management team is available to assist with the transition. The hard work has been done. Let your dreams come true.
Contact us today for more information. To receive info and pictures to your mobile phone, text “27999″ to 79564.
For full images and virtual tour, go to: www.buywhatsshakin.com
Diversified Ag Business & Home on 20 Acres July 14, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Featured Listings, HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND, Updates , add a comment
PLEASE NOTE: TO ASSUME THE STATE OF HAWAII LEASE, BUYER MUST BE A 3 YEAR HAWAII RESIDENT & “BONA FIDE” FARMER!
Diversified agriculture business and home on 20 acres. Located in Keonepoko Iki Farm Lots, near Pahoa. Great combination of privacy and turnkey farm with room for expansion.
Please note: This is State of Hawaii leasehold property. Realtor can provide you with Dept. of Agriculture application detailing requirements for eligibility to assume this lease.
Sellers will help train new buyers in farm operations. There are 3 acres of Anthurium Flowers under shadehouse, 7 acres of Guava, 2 acres Bird of Paradise Flowers, 1 acre of Macadamia Nut Trees, 2 acres of Dracaenas (a foliage plant), and 1 acre of Hawaiian Christmas Trees.
Includes 2 Conley green houses, 2 storage sheds, 3,000 sq ft propagation shadehouse, 3 vehicles for deliveries and farm use. Approximately 3 acres near the front of the property is forested and can be cleared for more crops. Also includes an internet website, and established accounts. Turnkey business with your own house to live in!
The home has 3 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths and over 1,800 sq. ft. of living area. Features vaulted ceilings and a sunken living room in a private setting. County water for this property is an added plus for this area. Shopping, schools and community centers nearby. The ocean is at the end of Kahakai Boulevard, several miles away.
This property is located in the Pahoa Agricultural Park, and is State of Hawaii leasehold. There are approximately 20 years remaining on the lease. Buyer must be a bona fide farmer and meet the requirements and approval from the State of Hawaii, Department of Agriculture. Sale and lease transfer is subject to approval from the Department of Agriculture. Lease rent is every six months.
Note: Ten year agriculture use dedication (effective 7/1/2006) real property tax
For full images and virtual tour, go to: http://275108.kellymoran.com
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND – Summer Bon Dance Season 2014 July 10, 2014Posted by Kelly in : Entertainment, HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND, Upcoming Events , add a comment
HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND – Bon Dance Season is Here
by Kelly Moran
In the Buddhist tradition, during the summer months, Japanese residents welcome back the spirits of departed loved ones at lively and festive dance events called o-bon (most in Hawaii shorten the word to bon). There are numerous o-bon dances at venues around the island of Hawaii set for this summer season between June and August.
In Japan, the summer o-bon festivals date back to more than 500 years. In Hawaii, Buddhist temples take turns hosting the festivals and these dances have become as much social affairs as religious observances.
Everyone is welcome at the Hawaiian festivals, regardless of religious background or ethnicity making the temple festivals well-attended.
What can I expect to see at an o-bon festival?
- Dances that participants can engage in (called bon-odori). These generally involve people circling and dancing around a high wooden scaffold called a yagura (wooden musicians’ tower). Flutes and gongs may accompany singers and taiko drums.
- A variety of foods for sale, including musubi (rice balls wrapped in dried seaweed), stir fried noodles, andagi (sweet fried dough), barbeque sticks, stew & rice, chirashi sushi, bentos, Spam musubis, shave ice cones and more.
- Some dressed in a yukata (summer cotton kimono) or a hapi coat.
- Plenty of colorful chockin hanging lights. O-bon translates to “lantern festival” and the lanterns are believed to light the way for ancestral spirits, who are then greeted with offerings of flowers, food and incense.
BIG ISLAND O-BON FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
Here are the upcoming festivals for this year:
• July 11, 12
Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin, 398 Kilauea Ave., Hilo, 7 p.m.
• July 12
Kona Daifukuji Soto Mission, 79-7241 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kealakekua, 7 p.m.
Kohala Jodo Mission, Hawi, 7 p.m.
Paauilo Hongwanji Mission, 43-1477 Hauola Road, Paauilo, 7 p.m.
• July 18, 19
Hilo Meishoin, 97 Olona St. Hilo, 7:30 p.m.
• July 19
Honokaa Hongwanji Mission, 45-5016 Plumeria St., Honokaa, 7 p.m.
Keei Buddhist Church & Cemetery, 83-5569 Middle Keei Road, Captain Cook, 7 p.m.
• July 26
Papaaloa Hongwanji Mission, Papaaloa, 6 p.m.
Hilo Hongwanji Mission, 457 Manono St. Hilo, 7:30 p.m.
Kona Hongwanji Mission, 81-6630 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kealakekua, 7 p.m.
• Aug. 2
Hawi Jodo Mission, Hawi, 7 p.m.
Paauilo Kongoji Mission, 43-1461 Hauola Road, Paauilo, 7 p.m.
Taishoji Soto Mission, 275 Kinoole St., Hilo, 7 p.m.
Kurtistown Jodo Mission, Iwasaki Camp Road, Kurtistown, 8 p.m.
• Aug. 9
Hamakua Jodo Mission, Honokaa, 7 p.m.
Kona Koyasan Daishiji Mission, 76-5945 A Mamalahoa Hwy, Holualoa, 7 p.m.
Hilo Higashi Hongwanji, 216 Mohouli St., Hilo, 8 p.m.
• Aug. 15
Life Care Center, 944 W Kawailani St., Hilo, 6 p.m.
• Aug. 16
Kamuela Hongwanji Mission, Church Row, Kamuela, 7 p.m.
Hakalau Jodo Mission, Hakalau, 8 p.m.
• Aug. 23
Pahoa YBA Kaikan, Pahoa, 8 p.m.
• Aug. 30
Honohina Hongwanji Mission, 32-896 Mamalahoa Hwy, Ninole, 7 p.m.
SOURCE: Tsukikage Odorikai (www.hawaiimagazine.com)