Honokaa town is ramping up the 5th Annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace, slated for Sunday, Sept. 18.
Stepping off at 11 a.m. from Honokaa High School, the Peace Day Parade is a “moving stage” of Taiko drums, marching bands, bon dance, belly dancers, robots, jazz, rock & roll, hula, a circus and more entertainment with a message.
Special honorees for the 2011 Peace Day events will be Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV’s), in celebration of Peace Day and the Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary this year.
At least eight couples (our “lovebirds”), all of whom met and married during, or as a result of, their service in Peace Corps, have chosen to make their home in the Hamakua District. They, along with numerous other RPCV’s, will be special honorees in the Peace Day festivities.
Before and after the Parade, a Peace Day Festival takes place at the Honokaa Sports Complex 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with great local and ethnic foods, artists and crafters, live entertainment, numerous governmental agencies from the Rural Outreach Services Initiative and a large Bon Dance for everyone to join.
Featured entertainment includes John Keawe, Terminal Circus, Honokaa High School Jazz Band, Ryukyukoku Matsuri taiko group, and an open community bon dance session.
In addition, the 1st Annual “Run for Peace,” a 5K/3.1-mile run open to everyone, will start at 10:45 a.m., from the Honokaa High School Football Field. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. Entry Fee of $15 includes “Peace Day Parade” T-shirt.
(For high school cross-country teams, special terms and conditions apply.) $100 cash prizes will be awarded to the fastest male and female finishers and $50 for the best Peace costume.
Peace-related events continue throughout the month of September.
On Thursday, Sept. 22, the Sakura Ensemble will perform a concert of peace music at “Read for Peace,” 6 p.m. Honokaa Library, sponsored by the Friends of Hamakua Libraries and the Peace Committee.
And, through Sept. 29, the Wailoa Art & Cultural Center in Hilo hosts an exhibit of children’s Peace Posters in its Fountain Gallery, open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and noon-4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is free.
For additional information about the Center please call 933-0416 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
The 5th Annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace are presented by the Peace Committee of the Honokaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in cooperation with the United Nations and numerous community organizations. Major financial support has been provided by the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development (Tourism Division) CPEP and the Social Concerns Committee of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii.
The Parade for the United Nations International Day of Peace is produced by the Peace Committee of the Honokaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, an affiliate of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, a registered not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. Artwork and the words “United Nations” are used with permission.
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV’s) make up a very special demographic along the Big Island’s Hamakua Coast. A recent Sunday afternoon “photo op” brought together the couples from the area, all of whom met and married during, or as a result of, their service in Peace Corps.
They, along with numerous other RPCV’s, will be special honorees in Honokaa’s Peace Day Parade on Sunday, Sept. 18, in celebration of Peace Day and the Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary this year.
Romel Delacruz, retired Executive Director of Hale Hoola and Jodean Delacruz, former principal of Honokaa High School, met on assignment in the Philippines in the 1960’s.
About the same time, David and Gloria Myklebust, both educators, met in New York City before their service in Cameroon, on Africa’s central western coast. They’ve been told they are the first couple to be given permission to marry while serving in the Peace Corps.
Walter Mosch met future wife Janet Goh in graduate school in international studies at Columbia University, not long after Walter’s service in Cameroon, 20 years after the Myklebust’s (who coincidentally live next door).
Steve and Jacinta Hanks fell in love in Papua New Guinea during Steve’s service in the 1990’s. They both teach at Honokaa High School, and have devoted countless hours to helping the people of Jacinta’s homeland, the Carteret Islands.
Other Hamakua residents with ties to the Peace Corps include Bill and Jane Lichter (Saipan), Joe and Karen Clarkson (Marshall Islands), Andrew and Patricia Andrade Stout (Ecuador), Theresa Lee and Stephen Oldfather.
What makes Hamakua such a “peace-full” community? Hard to say. The rural lifestyle of the former sugar cane plantation town is a factor; the island’s tolerance for families of mixed races may be another, as well as work opportunity at Honokaa High School, good weather for growing things, and a strong sense of place.
Romel Delacruz estimates that of the 200,000 RPCV’s since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961, 200 live in Hawaii. Some RPCV’s trained in Waipio Valley, where a full-scale hamlet was constructed to replicate a Southeast Asian village.
In celebration of the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary, an island-wide reunion is planned for November 14-21, with events in Kona, Hilo and Waipio Valley. For more information, visit: www.rpcvhi.org