Tune in for Virtual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today file photo Cherry blossoms are seen on church row Feb. 1, 2020, in Waimea amid the 27th annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival.

Church Row Park’s historic planting of cherry trees turned the town pink and in celebration the new 2021 Virtual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is now available for viewing via Na Leo TV.

The virtual festival aired March 12 on Spectrum TV Channel 53 and online, but anyone who missed it can watch the festival later at their convenience at naleo.tv/vod under the “NLTV Exclusives” tab or via the Na Leo TV mobile app. A promotional video clip can be found at https://bit.ly/3v9EpsW.

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Conducted annually the first Saturday of February at numerous Waimea venues, the usual in-person Cherry Blossom Festival was canceled because of COVID-19. Heralding the coming of spring, the festival has traditionally offered a full day of Japanese and multicultural performing arts, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, fun mochi pounding and a host of colorful craft fairs.

Produced by Na Leo TV and the Culture and Education Division of the county Department of Parks and Recreation, the 90-minute virtual version marks the festival’s 28th year.

“The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival truly exemplifies how community, private enterprise and government work together for a common goal,” says Roxcie Waltjen, parks culture and education administrator and longtime festival organizer. “This year’s virtual celebration pays tribute to all those people, who over the course of the past 28 years, have generously contributed their time, effort, resources and knowledge to perpetuate the traditions of ‘Hanami,’ or ‘Viewing of the Flowers in Springtime.’”

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The video also shares the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms, a lineup of local entertainment typically enjoyed during the festival and messages from a variety of local dignitaries.

Featured virtual entertainers include Darlene Ahuna, Mark Yamanaka, Randy Lorenzo, Hawane Rios, Ho‘oko, Bending Elbows, Kris Fuchigami, Vaughn Valentino, Longakit ‘Ohana (Loeka & Pomai) and Taishoji Taiko.

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