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Virtual Okinawan Festival Happening This Labor Day Weekend

Okinawan Festival
Okinawan Festival
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The Okinawan Festival is streaming live on Youtube and Facebook

The 2021 Virtual Okinawan Festival will be livestreamed this Saturday and Sunday from 2pm - 5pm.

The popular cultural event will feature bon dances, musical performances, and Okinawan talk stories.

Celebrations will also take place beyond the live-stream through a collaboration with KHON and FEASTival.

FEASTival focuses on Okinawan-owned food businesses and restaurants. It began last year to support the businesses during the pandemic lockdown.

The FEASTival website has a comprehensive list of all Okinawan-owned restaurants on Oʻahu.

They also encourage businesses who do not usually offer Okinawan foods to make new menu items inspired by Okinawan food culture.

Shari Tamashiro is the creator of FEASTival. She says, "What really makes me happy is that some of them that are Okinawan-owned had very little connection to their roots."

"They’re having fun researching and creating dishes that are influenced by their Okinawan roots. For example, Beer Lab is making an Okinawan citrus beer — shikwasa," Tamashiro explains.

Live-streaming the festival gave the opportunity for people living outside of Oʻahu to experience the celebrations. From people living in Okinawa to immigrants in Argentina, world wide viewers were able to enjoy the festival last year.

Okinawan Festival Chair David Jones says he hopes to continue the live-stream after the event returns to in-person celebrations.

"I think we all miss going to a bon dance and actually dancing and hearing the music live," says Jones. "Our goal next year — hopefully if everything is good — is to have a live Okinawan Festival, but at the same time do a virtual Okinawan Festival either on the same week or at a different time of the year."

The livestream will be available on Hawaiʻi United Okinawa Association’s YouTube and Facebook, as well as the Okinawan Festival Facebook page.

For more information, visit okinawanfestival.com.

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