Cherry Blossom Festival i Saturday
The 21st annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival has a full lineup of free multicultural performing arts and hands-on demonstrations, plus nearly 150 crafters and food booths from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at various venues sprawling through town — look for pink banners identifying site locations.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie is also scheduled to join the celebration of Waimea’s Japanese heritage. He will attend the opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. at Parker Ranch Center and, beginning at 10:30 a.m., the governor will plant flowering cherry trees in honor of community contributors at Spencer House and Waimea’s Department of Agriculture building.
Festival parking is available at Parker Ranch Center, the soccer field across Church Row Park and Parker School. Three festival shuttles offer free transportation among venues. A map of the shuttle route and festival venues is available at each venue location and distributed in North Hawaii News.
This year’s festival art showcases the impressionistic art of Keauhou-Kona resident Rani Denise Ulrich. The 11-by-17-inch event poster features Ulrich’s impressionistic painting, “Love These Cherry Blossoms!” The $10 posters, along with the original 18-by-24-inch painting, can be purchased at the Firehouse Gallery, 887-1052. Posters go on sale Wednesday.
Organized by members of the upcountry community and the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the festival marks the blooming of the historic cherry trees at Church Row Park and celebrates the age-old Japanese tradition of hanami, which translates to “cherry blossom viewing party.” After a seasonal winter chill, the trees typically are blooming in February.
This year’s festival is dedicated to Waimea residents Emiko Wakayama and Fumi Bonk. The women, who both have Japanese heritage, will be recognized at the festival’s opening ceremony. Time is 9 a.m. on the main entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center.
Harrison leading meditation events
A “Walking Meditation in the Wild” conducted by Gavin Harrison is scheduled from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday at Iole, the Bond homestead, 53-496 Iole Road in Kapaau. The walk is not strenuous and followed by refreshments. Bring hat, hiking shoes, sunscreen, bottled water, a towel or cushion for rest stops, raingear and mosquito repellent. There is no charge, but a suggested $10 to $15 donation helps make this program possible. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 889-5151.
Harrison will also lead “Awakening to the Deepest Truth of Who We Are: a Gathering with Gavin Harrison” from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Waimea Events Salon, 66-1664 Waiaka St., Waimea. The event includes sitting and walking meditation, talk, dialog and inquiry. Groups are nondenominational and open to all. Experienced and beginning meditators welcome. Bring a meditation cushion; chairs are available. Donations will be accepted.
For more information, contact Matilda Tompson at 885 9206 or TompsonP001@hawaii.rr.com.
AARP offers tax preparation help
Beginning Saturday, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide will provide free tax assistance and preparation for Hawaii County taxpayers with low- to moderate incomes at five locations on the Big Island. Now in its 45th year, AARP Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free tax assistance and preparation service, with special attention to people 60 and older. People do not have to be members of AARP or retirees to use this free service.
Last year in Hawaii, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers helped more than 16,000 residents file their federal and state returns, generating more than $5.8 million in total refunds and more than $1.1 million Earned Income Tax Credits. Nationally, Tax-Aide volunteers helped taxpayers get $1.3 billion in income tax refunds in 2013, and more than $244 million in EITCs.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers are trained and IRS-certified each year to ensure they understand the latest changes and additions to the U.S. Tax Code. For more information or to locate the nearest AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site, visit aarp.org/findtaxhelp or call toll-free 888-227-7669 for assistance.
Tropical Paws coming in March
Hawaii Island Humane Society’s 18th annual Tropical Paws benefit event will take place at 6 p.m. March 28 at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.
Tropical Paws has an established reputation for abundant silent and live auctions, cocktail reception with furry friends meet and greet, Four Seasons-style buffet dinner and entertainment and dancing. Proceeds from the festive evening help support Hawaii Island Humane Society’s Second Chance Fund and Spay/Neuter Community Assistance Program. The Second Chance Fund provides medical care and treatment for abused animals while they recuperate and become ready for adoption. The goal of the Spay/Neuter Community Assistance Program is to end pet overpopulation on the Big Island through increased spays and neuters and community education.
Tickets, which are $125 per person or $2,000 for a reserved table of 10, are available beginning early February at the society’s Keaau, Waimea and Kona shelters and online at hihs.org. A portion of each table sale is tax deductible as allowed by law.
Visit hihs.org or call 329-8002 for information regarding donation and sponsorship opportunities.
Eggleston teaches wisdom workshop
Summer Eggleston is offering a community workshop on “3 Secret Sources of Wisdom: Listening to Your Internal Knowledge, Clarity and Authenticity” from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Yoga Hale in Kailua-Kona. There is no charge but donations will be accepted.
This presentation will use simple, nonmetaphysical methods to help participants learn about the three sources of inner wisdom, the types of information from each source, determine what the source is telling them, and how to trust it. Experiential exercises will identify a person’s inner voice, how to ask for what he needs and improve ability to listen to it. Eggleston has more than 20 years’ experience as a therapist in helping people heal their thoughts and memories. For more information, visit summertherapist.com or to register, call 327-1711. Yoga Hale is at 75-5742 Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona. Participants should bring their own seating.
Friends of the Children receives grant
The Friends of the Children of West Hawaii has received a $12,000 grant from the Victoria S. and Bradley L. Geist Foundation of the Hawaii Community Foundation to support its Enhancement and Basic Needs Program.
This program supports the healing process for West Hawaii children who have experienced child abuse or neglect or have witnessed violent crime, including domestic violence. The funds will be used to meet a variety of needs, from providing school supplies and clothing to providing opportunities to participate in music, drama, art or athletic activities. The goal of the organization is to “help a victim become a child again.”