Honoka'a Western Week 2024

Honoka’a Western Week fun! (photo credit Sarah Anderson)

PPS takes seriously its kuleana to preserve and celebrate the paniolo culture and history, but from time to time, the celebration is serious fun. For example, if strangers ride into Honoka‘a from May 18 to 27, they better keep an eye out for “Sheriff” Larry Ignacio. He and his crew will be on the lookout, and arrest anyone who’s not wearing the special Honoka‘a Western Week button.

Cowboy Talk Story (photo credit Sarah Anderson)

Violators go to jail in the middle of town, and they’ll be stuck there until they buy a button, or else their friends come and bail them out. Commemorative HWW buttons are available now at businesses throughout Honoka‘a town for only $5.

It seems like the whole town, young and old, puts on their buttons and boots and goes in whole hog for a whole series of cowboy-style events. The fun starts with the Western Week Parade, with colorful horses and riders from all the ranches. The Block Party comes after, where onlookers stroll among purveyors of ‘ono food and drink, cheer for the talented cowboys and saloon girls, then grab their partners for dancing in the street. HWW concludes with the exciting Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo.

Young girl watching the rodeo

Watching the rodeo (photo credit Sarah Anderson)

Also during HWW, the Andrade Building will host a special presentation in honor of its 100th anniversary. (See schedule below). The Andrade Building story begins with John Jose Andrade, who built the original structure with his name on it in 1924. Jose ran a meat market there, as well as a restaurant, bar, and hotel. The hotel was a favorite hangout for rodeo competitors, sometimes sleeping as many as eight or nine cowboys to one room.

Andrade’s Bar – 1930s

A couple decades later, in the 40s, the newly-formed Honoka‘a Business Association decided to create an event that would bring the community together for some fun while the Rodeo was happening and the town was full of people. That was a fortuitous decision for the Andrade Hotel.

“We just called it ‘Rodeo Days,’” says Marlene Hapai,* present owner of the Andrade Building. “My grandmother was a business woman in Honoka‘a—in good and lean times—and rodeo time in Honoka‘a was like Christmas for everybody else.” Grandmother would be cooking soup in the mornings when cowboys stayed over, waiting for them to come rolling down the stairs after a night of whooping it up.

Father and son saddled up and ready to go! (photo credit Sarah Anderson)

Fast forward to 1953, when another member of the Andrade ‘ohana, William J. “Willy” Andrade, helped found the Saddle Club. He had gone to O‘ahu to visit a friend who leased bucking bronco horses to adventurous servicemen. Inspired to created a rodeo space in Honoka‘a, he talked to his friend Dr. Edward “Buzz” Willetts about the idea, and they called all the ranchers together. Those 150-or-so initial members teamed up to build the place, and called themselves the Hawai‘i Saddle Club.

The land for the rodeo stadium was donated by the family matriarch, Rose Andrade Correia. “This was her mother’s property,” Marlene says. “And she knew by giving the land for the arena, that it would insure, in perpetuity, that Honoka‘a would always have a rodeo.”

“Sheriff” Larry Ignacio – wear your badges or off to jail! (photo credit Sarah Anderson)

70+ years later, the Hawai‘i Saddle Club, the Rose Andrade Correia Arena, and Honoka‘a Western Week are still going strong. And, the public is invited to a celebration of the Andrade Building’s 100th birthday on Thursday, May 23 at 5 p.m. on the Ohia Lanai.
But that’s just one of a dozen events during Western Week 2024. Take a look at the full schedule.

May 18-27: Silent Auction

Western Week’s biggest fundraiser helps connect the community with its agricultural and paniolo roots, and supports scholarships for local youth. This year 100+ exciting items include a stay at the Westin Hapuna, round for four at Mauna Kea Golf Course, collectibles, antiques, activities, dinners and much more. Bidding opens May 18 at 12 noon, and closes on May 27 at 12 midnight. Register at www.honokaa.cbo.io

Saturday, May 18

  • 2-11 p.m. Road Closure for Western Week Festivities. Plan ahead!
  • 4-5 p.m. Western Week Parade. Entries are still available.
  • 3-10 p.m. Block Party. Honoka‘a’s favorite hoe down, with food trucks, vendor booths, and dancing in the street to live country western music.
  • 6 p.m., Saloon Girls & Cowboys Got Talent Contest. Contestants vie for cash prizes and bragging rights. All kinds of talents welcome.

Sunday, May 19, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.: Hāmākua Harvest Western Week Farmer’s Market

Live entertainment, agricultural education events, fresh, locally grown produce, and a cornucopia of exciting food and craft vendors. Plus, the-popular Farmer/Cowboy Fashion Show.

Monday, May 20, 6 p.m.: Cowboy Talk Story @ Honoka‘a People’s Theatre

Come and meet the paniolo as they share their stories and memories, hosted by Sheriff Larry Ignacio.

Tuesday, May 21, 5-7 p.m.: Portuguese Bean Soup & Smoke Meat Contest @ Ahualoa Family Farms Mac Nut Factory

Live music, food trucks, prizes for winners and gifts for all participants. Help choose the winners by tasting some ‘ono food.

Wednesday, May 22, 3-5:30 p.m.: Hawai‘i Saddle Club Keiki RoundUp @ Rose Andrade Correia Arena

Pony rides, branding, Cowboy Cornhole and other fun games. Boot Scramble with prizes at 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 23, 5 p.m.: 100th Anniversary Presentation @ Andrade’s Ohia Lanai

The Andrade Building Celebrates its 100th Anniversary with a special presentation, “The Azores: Homeland of Hawaii’s Portuguese Families and Friends Left Behind.” Andrade descendants relate the story of a child left behind in 1883, as their family boarded the Bell Rock and sailed for Hawai‘i. Sponsored by the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce Cultural and Educational Center and Andrade’s Honoka’a Cafe.

Friday, May 24, 3-10 p.m.: Hootenanny @ Honoka‘a Public House

Come and enjoy our outdoor beer garden with live music, dancing, food, drinks and fun for all

Saturday, May 25: Saturday Slack: Rodeo qualifying event at the Rose Andrade Correia Arena

AND… $5 cover and donations accepted for a night of line dancing after the big Rodeo with Pauline Dias & the Country Rhythm Sliders.

  • Line Dancing, 5-9:30 p.m.
  • Honoka‘a Peoples’ Theatre

Sunday-Monday, May 26-27, 12 noon till pau: Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo @ Rose Andrade Correia Arena

Tickets available from Rodeo Queen contestants, or at the gate.

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. For more information, please follow HonokaaWesternWeek on Facebook, _honokaa_western_week on Instagram. and www.HonokaaWesternWeek.org.

*in an interview with North Hawaii News, 2014

The crowd all gathered for fun and music! (photo credit Sarah Anderson)