Honolulu Festival Canceled in 2022 Due to COVID-19

For the third year in a row, the Honolulu Festival will be called off.
7 Friendship Gala Performers
Photo: Courtesy of the Honolulu Festival.

One of Oʻahu’s most beloved festivals will be called off once again this year due to the ever-present threat of COVID-19, and its various mutations.

The Honolulu Festival Foundation announced today—via press release—that it would not be holdings its annual festivities in person from March 11 to March 13, 2022, citing COVID-19 as the festival’s main deterrent. This will be the third year in a row the Honolulu Festival has been called off, breaking its streak of being held every year from 1995 to 2019.

In the press release, Honolulu Festival Foundation President Hiroyuki “Keith” Kitagawa said, “Our board of directors decided that trying to push forward with the Honolulu Festival next March would be unwise considering the ongoing high number of COVID Delta variant cases occurring globally this winter, coupled by the sudden rise of the Omicron variant and the uncertainty of its effects on people’s health.”

Annually drawing thousands of visitors and locals from throughout the Pacific Rim—a large portion of which from Japan—many will be missing out on the festival’s wonderful exhibition of Pacific cultures and art. This includes more than 100 groups who share their culture through music and dance in free performances at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center and other heavily trafficked venues, like Ala Moana Center, International Market Place and the Waikīkī Beach Walk. Many cultural groups from Hawaiʻi also perform during the festival.

“No one is more disappointed about having to cancel the 2022 Festival than our board of directors, but this is the appropriate decision to make for the correct reasons, especially now that the Omicron variant has been detected in Hawaiʻi. Doing our part to support the public’s health and well-being is always our board’s top priority,” says Kitagawa. “In addition, staging the Honolulu Festival takes many months of planning and logistics and requires a tremendous amount of work by dozens of dedicated volunteers. Asking everyone to keep going forward and then canceling the Festival at a later date would be disrespectful to their service.”

With massive events such as the Waikīkī Grand Parade and Nagaoka Fireworks Show—one of the best fireworks shows in Hawaiʻi—attracting thousands of visitors and locals, it makes sense why the Honolulu Festival Foundation is erring on the side of caution. However, the Honolulu Festival will still be sorely missed, and here’s to hoping we can experience it again in 2023.

For more information about the Honolulu Festival, visit their website here

Categories: News, Oʻahu