From hoedown to hootenanny: Honokaa Western Week will dish up line dance, farm fest and Portuguese bean soup contest

  • Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent hopefuls ride in last year’s Paniolo Parade. COURTESY PHOTO
    Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent hopefuls ride in last year’s Paniolo Parade. COURTESY PHOTO

HONOKAA — Honokaa Western Week starts down on a farm and ends with a rodeo, beginning this Sunday through May 29. The now-legendary Paniolo Parade &Block Party on Friday may be the biggest parts of the celebration, but a week filled with activities and events promise to be memorable.

Kick the dust up

To get ready for the hootenanny, free line dancing classes are underway 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Honokaa High and Intermediate School auditorium. Led by instructor Pauline Dias and presented by Parents for Public School Education-Hawaii and HHIS’s Family Academy, line dancing offers a fun way to exercise. Students will get a chance to strut their stuff from 6-9 p.m. May 24 at the Line Dance party at Honokaa People’s Theatre.

Hamakua Harvest

The 2nd Annual Farm Festival this Sunday will bring more than 40 vendors to Hamakua Harvest on Mamane Street to celebrate food from farm to table or truck. Attendees can enjoy a variety of favorites, purchase fresh fruits and veggies from regional farms, learn how to grow their own and watch cooking demos by island chefs.

The Festival also includes five free educational workshops from agriculture professionals, such as composting and soils, tree grafting, green tea, food preservation and pasture management. Entertainment will be provided by slack key master Ben Kaili, the Rachael Scott Band, Dennis Padilla and James Lowe, and the Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hamakua.

There is no charge for admission, and a free shuttle bus provided by Hamakua Youth Center will run from various locations in town to the Farm Festival.

The “Golden Ladle”

Pro chefs and home cooks of all ages can enter the Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest May 23 in the NHERC Pavilion. Depending on the type and number of entries, prizes will be awarded in various categories, including the coveted “Golden Ladle.” Winners will be recognized in the Paniolo Parade May 26.

Hosted by Gramma’s Kitchen, there’s no entry fee. Contestants will need to prepare enough soup or bread for 50 tastings — or about four quarts or four loaves of bread – and bring it to the NHERC Pavilion by 4:30 p.m. The contest will be from 5-8 p.m. Costumes and decorations are encouraged.

Paniolo Parade and Block Party

Mamane Street will be closed from 2-11 p.m. May 26 for multiple activities.

Paniolo Parade will start at 4 p.m. Then, at 6 p.m. the Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent Contest is open to all, giving everyone a chance to kick up their heels and release their inner diva onstage. Folks of all ages are encouraged to dress up in Western duds, bring their best three-minute song, dance, story or other performance, and take a shot at cash prizes. There is no cost to enter.

From 7-10 p.m. are the Block Party and Dancing in the Street, with classic country and rock by the Bobby Reno Band, emceed by Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter.

61st Annual Hawaii Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo

The competition will be held on May 28 and 29 at Honokaa Rodeo. For more information, contact

Line Dance Party info: Contact Susan Wood, 756-0179 or

Hamakua Harvest info: Contact or call 640-2506

Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest info and applications: Go to, or email

Saloon Star Search info and entry form: Go to, or call Michelle at Big Island Grown at 775-9777

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