Hawaii Mom Blog: 27th Annual Okinawan Festival




September 8, 2009

27th Annual Okinawan Festival

div>For the past few years, I've spent every Labor Day weekend at Kapalua, Maui.  This year, I decided to stay on Oahu, and therefore I was able to attend the Okinawan Festival for the first time.  The festival is an annual event held at Kapiolani Park at the foot of Diamond Head Crater and on the east side of Waikiki.  Parking is always scarce in this area, so instead of trying our luck to find a parking space near the park, we decided to park in the residential area in Kapahulu.  Parking and shuttles were available at Kapiolani Community College.  We're glad we didn't go that route since we heard the lines to take the shuttle from KCC to the Festival were quite long.  

The nice thing about having the festival at Kapiolani Park is that the park has a lot of trees which provided shaded areas for the festival-goers to rest, relax, and eat.  

Although it was almost 90 degrees, I just had to try the Okinawan soba, since I saw so many people eating it.  The soba was also available "yaki" style (grilled instead of in a soup base).

Everyone goes to the Festival with one thing in mind - ANDAGI!  Andagi is an okinawan donut, made with much of the same ingredients as a regular donut, except it is not coated in sugar and the texture is quite different.  These were good - nice and crispy on the outside.

We asked several festival-goers what the best thing to eat at the festival is, and everyone said to get the "Oki Dog".  Naturally, it had the longest line.  The Oki dog is a hot dog and chili wrapped in a soft flour tortilla with shredded lettuce and shoyu pork.  It is only available at the Okinawan Festival and I'm amazed that none of the restaurants have added it to their menus.  It's delicious and filling.

We also walked by another food booth that was making Champuru Plates - veggies and agedofu stir fried and served with hot rice, shoyu pork, and andamisu (pork and miso garnish).  We were too full to try these plates but judging from the length of the lines for this booth, these plates were in high demand.

In addition to FOOD, the festival also features other booths that reflect the Okinawan culture.  There were many beautiful bonsai trees on display.

You also had the opportunity to learn how to write calligraphy.

And they were giving away free headbands for the bon dance, which you could decorate with stamps of animals, flowers, and other characters/designs.

There was a tent that had a lot of koi for sale.  Many of them were sold by the time we got there.

One of the main reasons why we visited the Okinawan Festival was to watch my friend perform with a taiko club called the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko (RMD).  It was quite a show, full of energy and enthusiasm.

If you are on Oahu next Labor Day weekend, be sure to make it a point to stop by the Okinawan Festival!

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