Saturday in the Park

June 5, 2012 | By Christina O Connor

There’s plenty to see and do at this popular locale.

A group of nearly a dozen people are gathered at the Diamond Head-end of the Kapi‘olani Regional Park on a Saturday—silently, slowly executing chi kung movements in the morning sunlight. Across the way, a group practices wushu, and behind them, three men shoot arrows at the archery range. Throughout the park, people set up tents for parties and settle in for picnics, while others jog around the perimeter. With its stunning views of Diamond Head and its prime location at the end of Kalakaua Avenue, right across the street from the beach, Kapi‘olani Park is the perfect place to engage in any of the myriad of activities it offers. Need a point in the right direction? Get in on the action with the selections below. And don’t worry—the park is open seven-days-a-week, not just on Saturdays!

Chi-Kung, Tennis and More
The chi kung group meets at the park Tuesday through Saturday from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. Today, they are led by chi kung leader Kerrie Atley, but the class has a rotating set of leaders.

Chi kung is an ancient form of self-healing and mediation that originated in China. There are many different forms of chi kung, and this particular class was started by a third-generation chi kung master from Hong Kong, initially as a method of therapy for diabetics.

“The movements, what they’re doing on a physical level, is moving all of the joints and stretching,” Atley explains, adding that chi kung can be practiced at any age. “We move the neck, the shoulders the hips, the ankles and knees, even though we are standing still the whole time.”

Atley adds that she has seen participants get rid of long-time aches in their bones or muscles. But perhaps even more extensive are the mental and emotional benefits received. The practice is extremely meditative, Atley claims, explaining the movements and the breathing focus on moving chi— or energy—throughout the body. “When you finish, you feel good.”

Archery and More
Nestled in a back corner of the park is an archery range available for all types of archers—including hunters, hobbyists and competitive archers.

“You can shoot from anywhere from five yards out to about 70 yards at this range,” says island John Cerovich, who is among the group at the range. Cerovich is a bow hunter who comes here a few times a week to hone his skills.

Use of the archery range is available for free during park hours, but anybody looking to shoot a few arrows will have to provide their own materials. Even if you can’t get your hands on a bow and arrow, it’s exciting enough to watch the arrows soar into the sky at impressive heights.

In addition to the archery range, Kapiolani Park also has a number of other free sporting centers, including tennis courts and soccer, rugby and baseball fields.

Royal Hawaiian Band
While exploring Kapiolani Park, a must-see—or must-hear, rather—is the Royal Hawaiian Band, which plays at the bandstand from 2 to 3 p.m. every Sunday, excluding holidays or during other scheduled park events.

The band was formed in 1836 by King Kamehameha III and is a department of the City and County of Honolulu, making it the only full-time municipal band in the country. Band assistant administrator and French horn player Dennis Nagamine explains that the mission of the band is to preserve Hawaiian musical culture.

It currently consists of 31 members, and instruments played include the flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, saxophone, trumpet, percussions and more. In addition, the band also has a rotating list of guest vocalists.

The Royal Hawaiian Band boasts an extensive repertoire of Hawaiian music, along with classic and pop.

“Every Sunday is different,” says Nagamine. “We have a library of songs that we carry with us that includes several hundreds songs.”

The band is scheduled every Sunday through June, but will be a break from July 15 to August 4.

Waikiki Artfest
Waikiki is known for its shopping. So why not combine shopping with a relaxing day at the park? If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind painting or jewelry, Kapiolani Park is the place to be during the Waikiki Artfest, which is held one weekend a month and is hosted by the Handcrafters and Artisans Alliance.

Now in its 14th year, the Artfest currently averages around 90 vendors that offer a range of arts and crafts, including oil paintings, handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, woodworks, soaps and candles. Notable local artists include silkscreen creator Robert Hackney and jeweler Fran Cummings.

“Every artist’s piece is unique—that’s the best thing,” HAA executive director Nancy Calhoun says. “When we see someone walk by with a particular artist’s piece or product … we can tell who created it.”

Summer dates for the Waikiki Artfest are: June 23 and 24; July 28 and 29; and August 25 and 26.

Various Festivals
In addition to all of these activities, the park also is home to a number of diverse festivals throughout the year.

Upcoming festivals for this summer include the Honolulu Pride Parade & Celebration June 2, which celebrates Hawaii’s community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and allies. The park also will play host to the Kamehameha Day parade and festival (June 9) and the Juneteenth Celebration (June 16), which celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation.

The park will be the end point for the Fourth of July Parade (July 1). The Korean Festival (July 14) celebrates Korean culture and will feature dance performance, martial arts demonstrations and food. And for a family-friendly musical event, check out the annual Ukulele Festival (July 22).