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Hawaii_Oahu_Pearl Harbor

On Sept. 2, 1945, Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur and representatives from 10 nations assembled on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay to accept Imperial Japan’s formal, unconditional surrender.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial — now located a ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor (Oahu)  —will mark the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific with a free ceremony set to begin at 8 a.m. on Fri., Sept. 2 on the “Mighty Mo’s” forward main deck.

E. Bruce Heilman, WWII veteran and national spokesman for The Greatest Generations Foundation, will serve as the event’s keynote speaker. Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Seven, USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group, will also offer remarks. And Ruth Ann Becker, board member of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., will welcome guests to the hour-long program on behalf of the nonprofit that maintains America’s last battleship.

The program will also feature patriotic music, a rifle salute and Echo Taps from atop turret one and superstructure, and a special Old Glory Detail by the Navy Region Hawaii Chief Petty Officers.

The anniversary event is free but reservations are encouraged, as space is limited. To RSVP online, click here. Guests are asked to be seated by 7:45 a.m. For individuals without base access, complimentary roundtrip shuttle bus service from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center will be available beginning at 7 a.m.

The formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri followed V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day), May 8, 1945, when German troops laid down their arms after Germany surrendered to Allied Nations. Japan announced its surrender on Aug. 15 (Japan time) and formalized the agreement on Sept. 2 aboard the ship, thereby finalizing the Allies’ victory over Axis Powers.

Hawaii_Oahu_Pearl Harbor

According to a press release issued by the anniversary event’s organizers, Heilman joined the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII and completed boot camp as the highest scorer on the rifle range in his platoon. He was deployed to Okinawa, arriving during Kamikaze bombing raids on the fleet. He later served on occupation duty in Japan, flying as a radio operator on staff of the Commander of the Fifth Fleet, taking intelligence personnel to Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other sites in the Pacific, and even surviving an airplane crash on Iwo Jima. Sgt. Heilman was honorably discharged on Dec. 10, 1947.

Today, Heilman is chancellor of the University of Richmond and serves as spokesman for The Greatest Generations Foundation, a Denver-based, nonprofit sponsoring the return of 20 WWII veterans to Pearl Harbor this month.

Rear Adm. Girrier assumed duties as Commander, Carrier Strike Group Seven, USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group in February 2011. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Surface Warfare Officer, Girrier most recently served as Commander, Carrier Strike Group Eleven, USS Nimitz Strike Group, from March 2010 to February 2011. From 2008 to 2010, he served as vice commander, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, with operational commander duties in 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleets. 

In additional sea tours, Girrier commanded Destroyer Squadron 15, from 2005 to 2007, forward deployed in Yokosuka, Japan.

Girrier is co-author of the professional naval books, Command at Sea, Watch Officers Guide and Division Officer’s Guide.

For additional information about the Battleship Missouri Memorial, click here.

Photos: (top) “The End of the War in the Pacific” ceremony on Sept. 2, 2009, courtesy of the Battleship Missouri Memorial; (bottom) colorized photo taken at Japan’s formal surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay. (U.S. Navy photo). 

Hawaii_Big Island_ Kauai_Maui_Starting next spring, Alaska Airlines plans to offer daily, nonstop service from Oakland and San Jose, Calif. to Kauai and the Big Island.

To celebrate the new service, which is slated to get under way on March 12, 2012, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is now offering one-way fares as low as $179 on flights from California’s Bay Area to Lihue (Kauai) and Kona (Big Island), and to Kahului on Maui, which the airline now serves from Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif.

If you’re up for a spring-fling in the Islands, you’ll have to act quickly to secure this deal. Tickets must be purchased by Sat., Sept. 3 for travel from March 12 through June 9, 2012. Fares are for travel on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays to Hawaii and for Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from Hawaii. Blackout dates apply. For more information about terms and conditions tied to fares, click here.

In a press release issued by Alaska Airlines, its vice president of marketing, Joe Sprague, said: “Going to seven flights a week from both San Jose and Oakland to Kauai and Kona  — along with our existing daily service from both cities to Maui — makes it more convenient than ever for Bay Area travelers flying to the Hawaiian Islands.”

The airline has previously served the Kauai (pictured, above) and Big Island markets with three flights a week between San Jose and Lihue and between Oakland and Kona and four flights a week from San Jose to Kona and Oakland to Lihue.

A complete list of fares and days of travel is available, click here or call 1-800-ALASKAAIR (800-252-7522 or TTY/TDD line 800-392-0228).

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Ron Dahlquist


Aloha Festivals, one of Hawaii’s longest-running cultural celebrations, will get under way on Thurs., Sept. 1 with the annual Royal Court Investiture in Waikiki.

During the investiture, set for 3 p.m. at Hilton Hawaiian Village’s village  green, members of this year’s Royal Court (pictured, above) will officially take their place and be adorned with traditional symbols of their respective titles.

This free event will include traditional chants, hula kahiko (ancient hula) as well as other pageantry and regalia associated with Hawaiian royalty. The 2011 Aloha Festivals’ Opening Ceremony, also a free event, will follow at the Royal Hawaiian Center’s Royal Grove, marking the beginning of this year’s celebration, which runs throughout September. Participating entertainers include: Halau o ke Aalii Ku Makani, the Royal Hawaiian Band, Napua Makua, and Manu Boyd.

Founded in 1946 as Aloha Week, the celebration was renamed Aloha Festivals in 1991. This year’s theme, Mele Ailana, translates as “Celebrate Island Music.” 

Also, among the highlights is the 59th annual Waikiki Hoolaulea (celebration). The celebration, set for Sept. 17, spans more than 12 blocks along the beachfront main drag, Kalakaua Avenue. Entertainment stages will showcase Hawaiian music and hula halau (hula groups), and the avenue will also be well stocked with island cuisine, lei and craft booths. (The winner of HAWAII Magazine’s s Aloha Festivals Flyaway sweepstakes will be on Oahu for the hoolaulea.)

The month-long celebration will wrap up with the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade, which is set for 9 a.m. Sept. 24.  Packed with extravagant floats, pau riders (Hawaiian-style horseback riding), marching bands ad, of course, cascades of Hawaiian flowers, the parade will travel from Ala Moana Park to Kapiolani Park, near Waikiki Beach.

For additional information about the Aloha Festivals, click here.

Photo: Aloha Festivals


Hawaii_Oahu_Big Island_Maui_Kauai_HonoluluContinental Airlines is offering round-trip airfare deals to the Islands from more than 20 Mainland cities through a sale dubbed Tropical breezes of Hawaii. Flights touch down on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.

The special offer, which took effect this morning, includes roundtrip fares as low as $422 from Los Angeles to Hilo. Additional taxes, applicable bag charges and other fees may be added to the fares, of course. For additional details about the offer, click here.

Autumn’s winds may be weeks, or even months, away throughout much of the Mainland. Still, if the idea of swapping a brisk chill for a tropical breeze sounds appealing, check out some of the deals that will take you to Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island (pictured, right). 

Round-trip flights to Honolulu (Oahu) … from

• Atlanta — $800
• Austin, Texas — $720
• Chicago —  $711
• Cleveland — $820
• Columbus, Ohio — $840 
• Dallas, — $682 TX
• Dallas/Fort Worth, —$682
• Denver — $650
• Houston, — $707
• Kansas City, Mo. — $800
• Los Angeles — $462
• McAllen, Texas — $805
• New York, N.Y. — $849
• New York/Newark, N.J. — $747
• Oklahoma City, Okla. — $800
• Omaha, Neb. — $800
• Orange County, Calif. — $523
• Orlando, Fla. — $760
• San Antonio, Texas — $770
• San Francisco — $552

Round-trip flights to Hilo (Big Island) … from

• Baltimore — $770
• Boston — $751
• Chicago — $660
• Cleveland — $760
• Denver — $610
•Houston — $680
•Los Angeles — $422
•New York/Newark — $792
•Orlando — $700
•San Francisco — $540
•Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. — $ 795
•Washington, D.C. — $874

Round-trip flights to Kona (Big Island) …from

• Los Angeles — $536 

Round-trip flights to Maui … from

• Denver — $741
• Houston — $702
• Los Angeles — $536
• McAllen, Texas — $881
• New York, N.Y. — $959
• New York/Newark, N.J — $824
• Orange County, Calif. — $597 
• San Francisco — $626

Round-trip flight to Kauai (Lihue) … from

• San Francisco — $626

Photo: Hawaii's Big Island Visitor Bureau (BIVB)

Hawaii_Oahu_Waimea Valley_hikeReady to explore a hiking trail that takes you off the beaten path?

At leafy Waimea Valley, tucked into Oahu’s North Shore, the beaten path is a mile-long paved stroll lined with lush tropical botanical gardens and structural remnants from Early Hawaiian communities. It leads to a picturesque 45-foot waterfall, and visitors are welcome to cool off in its freshwater pool.

It’s one of our favorite beaten paths on the island. Still, should you get the itch to exit the valley’s groomed grounds for a comparatively scruffy but equally fascinating trail, we recommend trying a Saturday morning guided hike at Waimea Valley.

Hiipaka, the nonprofit that operates Waimea Valley’s 1,875 acres, is offering guided hikes into areas that are otherwise off –limits to the general public. There are six trails in the lineup, ranging from easygoing 2-milers to fairly strenuous treks of more than 6 miles, which include steep ascents and stream crossings.

The guides — well versed in Hawaiian cultural matters and environmental issues — start each hike at Waimea Valley visitor’s center, which serves as headquarters for Hipaka’s ongoing cultural education and conservation programs and activities. Hikers are required to wear closed-toed shoes and tote drinking water.

And what will you see once you’re off the beaten path?

You’ll see bits and pieces of Early Hawaii as the valley features one of Oahu’s last partially intact ahupua a — a mountain-to-sea system in which everything necessary for survival could be grown, gathered and exchanged locally. Archaeological surveys are continuing to find components of the system in the remains of traditional living areas and housing lots, farming terraces, fishponds, and religious sites.

Also, you’ll see native plants growing in their natural environment. More than 400 species of Hawaiian plants are growing in Waimea Valley, which is now designated as conservation land.

Finally, if you’re up for a bit of blood-pumping aerobic climbing onto the valley’s ridgelines, you will be richly rewarded with panoramic views of the verdant valley, its waterfall (pictured, above), and the nearby shoreline.

For details about Hiipaka’s hiking fees, schedules and related information, click here.

Photo: Robert Smith

Hawaii_Kauai_Kipu FallsCiting public safety concerns, Grove Farm Company is installing fencing and rolling in boulders to discourage trespassing at Kipu Falls, a popular Kauai swimming hole.

Grove Farm, which owns the land edging the falls near Puhi in East Kauai, is also posting “private property “and “no trespassing signs” to inform area visitors that they may not cross the farm property to reach the falls.
The move to tightly close up the area through which visitors (trespassers, mostly) have accessed the falls for decades was prompted by lawsuits filed against Grove Farm, according to a press release issued by the landowner. In the past five years, five people have died at the falls. Most jumped from the top of the 20-foot waterfall into a pool below, then drowned while attempting to swim to back to land. 

Over the last several years, as various visitor guidebooks began mentioning the falls as popular with area residents, visitor traffic along a private road near the falls has increased.

In a written statement, Warren H. Haruki, Grove Farm’s president and CEO, said: “Many attempts to change guidebook language and to dissuade people unfamiliar with the area have not been heeded.” Consequently, he added, “We have decided to restrict access to the site.”

Dr. Monty Downs, a member of the Kauai Water Safety Task Force said: “I will be very saddened that yet another special area is to be taken away from local people who may enjoy spending time there.” Downs, a medical doctor, said in a written statement that most visitors from the Mainland and elsewhere “don’t have the background to recognize the dangers and the risks” tied to Kipu Falls.

Grove Farm Vice President Marissa Sandblom said installation of metal fencing (pictured, above) began yesterday. Boulders will be placed alongside the private road to deter parking along the shoulder. Vehicles that are parked illegally on the road will be towed at the owner’s expense.

For additional information about Grove Farm, click here.

Photo: Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island 

Hawaii_Lanai_slack key guitarIf you happen to be on Lanai this week, consider heading over to the inaugural Lanai Slack Key Guitar Festival, slated for Fri., Aug. 26 and Sat., Aug. 27 at the Four Season Resorts Lanai and in Lanai City.

The event will feature performances by several award-winning Hawaii musicians in five venues on laid-back Lanai — the “Private Isle,” previously known as the “Pineapple Isle” because at one time most of its land was used to grow pineapples.

The musical lineup includes Grammy award and Na Hoku Hanohano winners including John Keawe (pictured, below), Sonny Lim, Dennis Kamakahi, Kevin Brown, Cindy Combs, Benny Uyetake, and Brother Noland (pictured, right). Na Hoku Hanohano awards are the Hawaiian music industry’s equivalent of the Grammys.

There is no charge for attending performances and workshops during two-day event. However, festival organizers request that donations be made to the Lanai Community Association, which assists families on the island.

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, or ki-hoalu, which translates as “loosen the key,” in the Hawaiian language, is a solo finger-picked style that’s unique to Hawaii. It originated here in the 19th century with Hawaii cowboys (paniolo). In recent years, slack key collection albums have won Grammy awards in the Best Hawaiian Music category.

Here’s the schedule.Hawaii_Lanai_slack key guitar

Fri., Aug. 26

• 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. — Slack Key Dinner under the stars at the Four Seasons, Manele Bay, with performances by John Keawe, Sonny Lim and Brother Noland and other guests. Call 808-565-4000 for dinner reservations and more information.

Sat., Aug. 27

• 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.  — Slack Key Java Jam, with Kevin Brown, Coffee Works in Lanai City.

• 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Slack Key Guitar Lunch at Café 565 in Lanai City. Live music.

• 12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. — Workshops, at the Four Seasons, The Lodge at Koele. John Keawe offers a complimentary slack key workshop in the music room, while his wife, Hope Keawe, teaches a hula workshop on the croquet lawn.

• 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. — Lanai Slack Key Guitar Festival at the Four Seasons, The Lodge at Koele.  The lineup includes Dennis Kamakahi, John Keawe, Sonny Lim, Cindy Combs, Brother Noland, Kevin Brown, and a hula performance by Hope Keawe.

• 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. — Ki Ho alu Fireside Jam at the Four Seasons, The Lodge at Koele. Performances by the Grammy-winning musicians.

For additional information about the first-time event, click here.

Photos: (top) John Heckathorn, (bottom) Lanai Slack Key Festival

Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_Waikiki_Aloha FestivalsCongratulations to Jessica Patterson of Colorado Springs, Colo. — the winner of our HAWAII Magazine’s Aloha Festivals Flyaway sweepstakes.

Jessica’s name was drawn at random from more than 7,800 sweepstakes entries submitted through our Facebook page over the last three weeks. Her prize?

• Complimentary Hawaiian Airlines roundtrip airfare for the winner and one guest between Oahu and one of Hawaiian Airlines’ 10 gateway cities on the U.S. Mainland.

• Five-days/four nights complimentary accommodations at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Sept. 15-19, 2011.

• Gifts from Aloha Festivals, including two Aloha Festivals T-shirts and ribbons, complimentary entry to Downtown Honolulu Aloha Street Festival (Sept. 16), access to the Waikiki Hoolaulea VIP/hospitality suite (Sept. 17) and two three-day boarding passes for the AlohaBus

Jessica received e-mail notification of her win yesterday — while at a haircut appointment. “I got an e-mail on my phone, and I didn’t want to get too excited until I knew it was actually true,” she said. About an hour and a half after managing to sit still for her haircut and return home, Jessica went about verifying for herself that the win was real-deal.

“The anticipation was terrible,” she said. But when Jessica finally convinced herself that, yes, she had won a sweepstakes through which she will touch down in Honolulu next month, she did an little dance and excitedly started making toes-in-the-sand plans with her fiancé Davyn Housman.    

Once on Oahu, Jessica and Davyn (pictured, above) — both first-time visitors — are slated to attend the 2011 Aloha Festivals. Now in its 65th year, the Aloha Festivals is one of Hawaii’s longest-running cultural celebrations. Founded in 1946 as Aloha Week, the celebration was renamed Aloha Festivals in 1991. This year’s theme, Mele Ailana, translates as “Celebrate Island Music.” 

Among the highlights is the 59th annual Waikiki Hoolaulea (celebration). The celebration, set for Sept. 17, spans more than 12 blocks along the beachfront main drag, Kalakaua Avenue. Entertainment stages will showcase Hawaiian music and hula halau (hula groups), and the avenue will also be well stocked with island cuisine, lei and craft booths.

Mahalo to everyone in our HAWAII Magazine reader ohana who entered our Aloha Festivals Flyaway sweepstakes. And a grateful mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, AlohaBus and Aloha Festivals for the wonderful prize package for our contest winner!

Congratulations, once again, Jessica and Davyn! We hope you enjoy your Oahu visit!
Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Patterson and Davyn Housman

Hawaii_Honolulu_Big Island_lauhalaLauhala (palm leaf) woven hats created by Gladys Kukana Grace — a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship — and more than two dozen of her students are featured in an exhibit slated to open on Thurs., Aug. 25 at Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Ulana Me Ka Lokomaika i: To Weave from the Goodness Within honors “Aunty Gladys,” as she is known, for her influence as a teacher. The exhibit will be displayed through Jan. 29, 2012.

Aunty Gladys learned the art of lauhala weaving from her maternal grandmother, while growing up in the small town of Olelomoana on the Big Island’s South Kona coast. Weavers claim the lau (leaf) of the hala, (pandanus tree) from that region produce the best lauhala (leaf used for weaving). Her grandmother's family was known for weaving hats with the technique of light-and-dark contrasting patterns known as anoni.

A longtime steward of lauhala weaving, Aunty Gladys has taught hundreds of students since the 1980s. Between 1988 and 1998, Aunty Gladys also participated in the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts' Folk Arts’ Apprenticeship program.Hawaii_Honolulu_Big Island_lauhala

In a press release issued by Honolulu Academy of Arts, Aunty Gladys says this of the traditional art: “It is a connection with the past. It changes your life. It will make you a better person.”

While weaving techniques and patterns were once guarded as family secrets, Aunty Gladys, has long taught anyone with a desire to help keep the traditional lauhala weaving from becoming a lost art. Her lessons have included: where and when to collect lauhala, how to prepare it, and how to master complex patterns of weaving. 

In 1997, with fellow weaver Frank Masagatani, Aunty Gladys founded a weaving club called Ulana Me Ka Lokomaika i.

Last year, Aunty Gladys was named as a National Heritage fellow, the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts. The program is designed to recognize and preserve the country’s diverse cultural heritage, with fellowships going to master folk and traditional artists.

For additional information about the exhibit or Honolulu Academy of Arts, click here.

Photos: Honolulu Academy of Arts

Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_slack keyThe Ki-hoalu Foundation describes Hawaiian slack key guitar music as  “sweet and soulful,” and “drawn from the heart and soul — out through the fingers of each player.”

Intrigued? If you’re on Oahu this weekend, check out the musical mystique for yourself at the 29th annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival “Waikiki Style” is set for Sun., Aug. 21, noon to 6 p.m., in Kapiolani Park.

The free fest will feature some of Hawaii’s top artists in the slack key genre including Ledward “Led” Kaapana (pictured, right), who was recently named as a 2011 National Heritage fellow, the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts. Previous fellows in the award’s 30-year history include bluesman B.B. King and cowboy poet Wally McRay.

Other musicians slated for the festival’s performance lineup include: Makana, Stephen Inglis, Keale, John Keawe, Dennis Kamakahi, John Cruz, Michael Kaawa, Hiikua, Brother NolandLT Smooth, Bobby Moderow, Patrick Landeza, and Donald Kaulia.

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, or ki-hoalu, which simply means "loosen the key," in the Hawaiian language, is a solo finger-picked style that’s unique to Hawaii. It originated here in the 19th century with Hawaii cowboys (paniolo). In recent years, slack key collection albums have won Grammy awards in the Best Hawaiian Music category.Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_slack key

According to the Ki-hoalu Foundation, which founded the festival in 1982, strings (or keys) are "slacked" to produce major chord, or a chord with a major seventh note, or sometimes one with a sixth note in it.  Each tuning produces a “lingering sound behind the melody and has characteristic resonance and fingering.” Slack key techniques "mimic the yodels and falsettos common in Hawaiian singing." 
In addition to performances, the fest will feature a guitar exhibit by Taylor Guitars, an ukulele exhibit by Kanilea Ukuleles as well as various island crafters and food vendors. Fest T-shirts and music cds and dvds will be available for purchase.For a complete schedule of festival performances, click here.

This year, the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival is being staged on four islands. It will be held Sept. 4 on the Big Island, and Nov. 20 on Kauai. Maui’s fest was held in June. For additional details about the festival and slack key history, click here.

Photos: (top) Marsha Forsythe/Cover Look Photo Corps,
(bottom) Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival

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