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Free Moiliili Event Combines Popular Bon Dance, Japanese Street Food, and Entertainment | Arts & Culture

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Free Moiliili Event Combines Popular Bon Dance, Japanese Street Food, and Entertainment
Free Moiliili Event Combines Popular Bon Dance, Japanese Street Food, and Entertainment

The following information is provided by Kamehameha Schools:

Mō‘ili‘ili celebrates summer and the obon season with its first annual Mō‘ili‘ili Summer Festival happening Saturday, July 7 at 1110 University Avenue (across Puck’s Alley) from 3:30 – 10:30 p.m.   

The free event will showcase the rich culture, energy and modern appeal of Mō‘ili‘ili by combining a traditional bon dance, Japanese street food and food trucks, entertainment, historic Mo’ili’ili exhibit, flower market, retail merchandise and keiki activities.

For this year, Mō‘ili‘ili Hongwanji Mission is relocating its popular bon dance to University Avenue as part of the Mō‘ili‘ili Summer Festival.  The larger venue is expected to attract attendees from across O‘ahu, as well as visitors from nearby Waikiki.  Mō‘ili‘ili Hongwanji Mission will also host a bon dance with limited food available on Friday, July 6 from 6:00 – 10:30 p.m. at the same location.

The evening bon dance celebrates the Buddhist tradition of honoring the memory of departed loved ones and those who are living and is a time for expressing joy and gratitude for the love and compassion that surrounds all forms of life.  Everyone is welcome to dance.  For first-time bon dancers or those in need of a refresher, expert bon dancers will demonstrate dance steps and explain customs in half-hour workshops held earlier in the day.

“Mō‘ili‘ili is such an historic and unique community.  It’s a mixture of cultures, tradition, and energy in urban Honolulu,” said Blayne Higa, president of the Mō‘ili‘ili Hongwanji Mission and festival steering committee member.  “The Mō‘ili‘ili Summer Festival came about because the Mō‘ili‘ili community wanted to share its neighborhood with a wider audience.  Community groups, businesses, UH and landowners came together to put on an event that is a true showcase of this special place.”

The event will stretch across an entire city block with areas designated for dining, dancing, shopping and more.  The center stage area will feature ongoing entertainment like taiko drum and hula performances and ikebana (flower arrangement) demonstrations.  There will also able to keiki activities and an interactive Mō‘ili‘ili art wall.

In keeping with the tradition of obon, another area will be reserved for origami crane folding and luminaries.  Families will be able to write wishes to departed loved ones.  Children will also be able to participate and take home their Tanabata wishes strung on bamboo sticks.

Mō‘ili‘ili Summer Festival’s food vendors are guaranteed to hit the spot. “Japanese street food” is the theme for the night.  Eat the Street organizer Poni Askew from Streetgrindz is coordinating the overall event, and has curated a mix of street food trucks, pop-up restaurants and food stalls especially for the Mō‘ili‘ili Summer Festival.  The Mō‘ili‘ili Hongwanji – famous for its delicious bon dance food – will also be selling its popular BBQ, chili, andagi, musubi and shave ice.

Raffle tickets will be sold for roundtrip airfare to Japan on Hawaiian Airlines and overnight accommodations in Waikiki.

Free parking will be available at UH Mānoa with limited free shuttle service available.

Sponsors of the 2012 Mō‘ili‘ili Summer Festival include Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiian Airlines, HMSA, Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children, CVS Long’s, Bank of Hawaii, Hawaiian Island Homes, Colliers International, Hawaii Prince Hotel, Clear Channel Communications, Old Town Mō‘ili‘ili Business Association, University of Hawai‘i-Manoa, and Burger King University.

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