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Hawaii: Ukulele fest celebrates the islands' favorite instrument

January 25, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • The ukulele, often associated with Hawaiian music, will be showcased in Honolulu Feb. 9-10.
The ukulele, often associated with Hawaiian music, will be showcased in… (Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism…)

The ukulele takes center stage Feb. 9 and 10 at the Ukulele Picnic Weekend in Honolulu. There will be music competitions, a benefit concert and (of course) a picnic.

The activities kick off Saturday morning with the International Ukulele Contest at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., musicians in three categories will strum their small, guitar-like instruments. The public is welcome and admission is free.

From 5:30 to 9 p.m. that day, a benefit concert will be held on the great lawn of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The evening will features a lineup of Hawaiian and Japanese entertainers, headlined by BEGIN, a pop-music group from Okinawa.

The performance will benefit efforts to build a ukulele museum in Honolulu. The ukulele, which is Hawaiian for "flea," was introduced to the islands in the 1870s. 

Tickets to the benefit concert are available on the Ukulele Picnic website and cost $35 for general admission, $55 for reserved seating with cocktails and $100 for reserved seating with dinner.

The Feb. 10 picnic, from 9 a.m. until sunset (about 6:30 p.m.) is a family affair.  It will be held at Kakaako Waterfront Park, with views of Diamond Head, Honolulu Harbor and the ocean. Besides continuous entertainment on the hilltop stage, there will be food vendors and a kids area. People are encouraged to bring mats or blankets for lawn seating.

Visitors to Waikiki can take a free shuttle to and from the park. It will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with stops at DFS Galleria (330 Royal Hawaiian Ave.) and the Hilton Hawaiian Village bus depot.

Admission is free, although the picnic will offer various ways for the public to contribute to the proposed ukulele museum.

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