Honoka’a Western Week Plus

Old cowhands, little buckaroos, boot-scooters, rough riders, and dance hall queens are going to be trotting into town this month, during Honoka‘a Western Week, May 19-29. Of course the observant and math-minded paniolo fans will realize that’s eleven days, but with so much stuff coming around the bend, there just wasn’t room to do it all in seven.

Not to be missed, the bargain-rich Silent Auction opens for bids at 7 p.m. Be on the lookout for an amazing selection of choice items, ready for you to score at discount prices. Myrna has outdone herself this year, with something cool for everybody and every budget: gift cards for your favorite restaurants, free nights at hotels, free rounds on great golf courses, fine art, beautiful jewelry and a wide range of gift certificates from local businesses. Vintage, one-of-a-kind paniolo items too.

Don’t wait. Register now at http://honokaa.cbo.io see the entire auction inventory. You can also register by texting the word honokaa to number 56651. Bidding closes at 7 p.m. on the 29th, so get ‘er done today.

Anyone with services or items to donate, please contact Myrna Green, myrnagreen@hawaii.rr.com.

Also Friday
The celebration of Hāmākua’s cowboy culture kicks off on Friday the 19th at 7 p.m. at the Honoka’a Peoples’ Theatre. Come on down for a free showing of the documentary “Paniolo O Hawai‘i—Cowboys Of The Far West.” (DVDs will be available for purchase).

Saturday will be the paniolo-palooza, with The Return Of Western Week Parade at 4 p.m. and Block Party, 3-10 p.m., on beautiful downtown Mamane Street. Everybody’s welcome to dust off your Stetson, shine your spurs, and get your boots walkin’ to the party of the year. Without revealing too many spoilers, look for mounted units with horses and riders sporting the colors of their ranches, plus gleaming vintage cars, the most beautiful belles in their fancy frocks, the handsomest cowboys around, and a whole lot more.

The Block Party promises not to disappoint as well, and folks from near and far are expected to join in the fun. Come and mosey along all kinds of vendors and food booths, whoop and holler for the Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent Contest, and dance in the streets to the bodacious beat of the Saddle Road Band.

But wait, there’s more.

On Sunday, May 21, all the action—and the food—is at the Hāmākua Harvest Farm Festival, on the corner of Māmane Street & Mamalahoa Highway, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Because you gotta feed the community and the ʻāina too, agriculture is an essential partner for Western Week. This year Hāmākua Harvest’s Farm Festival celebrates Canoe Crops; ʻulu, ʻuala, kalo, maiʻa, and niu. The day starts with a Hawaiian blessing and hula, then continues with all-day entertainment, canoe crop education, and fresh local-raised food to take home and fix—or eat on the spot. For more information, contact info@hamakuaharvest.org

Meet some of our island’s “almost famous” paniolo at the Cowboy Talk Story at Honoka‘a Heritage Center, on Monday at 5:30 p.m. Earlier in the day, the cowboys are going to record a closed-studio talk story session about famous and infamous horses they’ve known, and their very special love-hate relationships. Then at 5:30, everyone’s invited to meet under the eaves in front of the Botelho Building, and rub shoulders with Sheriff Larry Ignacio, along with a veteran veterinarian and a few horse whisperers.

Sip soup and savor the flavors at the Portuguese Bean Soup & Smoke Meat Contest on Tuesday, May 23, at Ahualoa Family Farms Mac Nut Factory. This is a free event, where guests will have the opportunity to sample the rich flavors of our historic town.

As waves of Portuguese families immigrated to the Islands between the late 1870s and 1915 to work on Hawaii’s sugar plantations, ranches and dairy farms, their traditional soup became a staple, with family recipes handed down through generations. Smoke meat is a tasty way to preserve beef, pork, fish, turkey and other game birds and animals. With respect to our local hunters and fishermen who help manage invasive species and uphold Hawaiian gathering traditions, This contest also welcomes the secret family recipes and methods. Together these foods contribute to the multicultural identity of this town and we hope you can join us in celebrating part of what makes Honoka’a so great (and delicious).

This is a first come, first serve event based on supply, be sure to arrive at 5 p.m. so you can sample all the flavors!

The Rose Andrade Correia Arena welcomes all the little paniolo and paniola for a Keiki Roundup, 3-5:30 p.m. There will be a Branding Demo, Pin the Brand on the Cow, Horseshoes, Cowboy Cornhole, Rope ‘um, and Pony Rides, and a grand finale Boot Scramble (Cowboy boots required. Bring an extra pair of junk socks). Prizes will be given to the winners.

The Honoka‘a Public Library is home to Thursday’s events. At 4 p.m. it’s Paniolo Storytime for keiki. We’ll read a few fun cowboy tales, make a craft, and do a library scavenger hunt. Plus, Friends of the Libraries-Hāmākua will host a book giveaway on the lanai, so come help yourself! (All books are free, though donations are always welcome). Then at 5 p.m. meet island historian Boyd Bond from North Kohala. He’ll speak on the Origins of Ranching and Sugar in Hawaii, discuss the history of land use patterns, and their various political implications over time. Boyd is an engaging speaker with an encyclopedic knowledge of Hawaiian history.


Who said there’s a Hootenany? We did, and it’s at Honoka’a Public House on Friday, May 26, 6-9 p.m., with entertainment by Kamuela. Come as you are, and meet your friends and neighbors for food, drinks and fun for all ages. The pub is actually in the game all week long with live music May 19-25, the Hootenany on Friday the 26th, and a DJ Dance Party on Saturday the 27th at 6:30 p.m.

Everyone is looking forward to the return of the Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo, at the Rose Andrade-Correia Stadium. Saturday is “slack,” the qualifying events, starting at 8 a.m. Finals begin at noon on Sunday and Monday. Tickets available from Rodeo Queen contestants or at the gate.

Except for a nominal charge for rodeo admission, events are free, and everyone is encouraged to join in the fun. Collectible HWW buttons will be available to purchase for $5 as a show of support, as well as “insurance.” Although buttons are not required for admission, attendees receive fair warning that those without buttons at the Block Party risk being thrown into the hoosegow by roving sheriffs. (All in good fun).

Honoka‘a Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honoka‘a Business Association, Hāmākua Kohala Health, and many other sponsors and supporters celebrating Hāmākua’s paniolo heritage and unique cultural blend. Of course monetary support is more than welcome! Checks payable to “Honokaʻa Business Association” can be sent to P.O. Box 474, Honokaʻa HI 96727, attention: Honoka‘a Western Week. Or, Venmo @honokaabusinessassociation.

For more information and entry forms for all events, follow Honoka‘a Western Week on Facebook, honokaa_western_week on Instagram, or visit www.honokaawesternweek.org.