HONOLULU (KHON2) — The 13th Festival of the Pacific Arts and Culture — or FESTPAC — has been postponed due to concerns of the coronavirus.
Hawaii was meant to host the event for 11 days in June 2020.
“It was not an easy decision but we had to take into consideration first and foremost the well being and safety of the residents of Hawaii,” FESTPAC Hawaii Chairman and State Senator Kalani English told KHON2.
“That’s the overarching idea that we don’t want to take any chances. We want to make sure that the people of Hawaii are safe.”
FESTPAC is a traveling festival hosted every four years by a different Oceania country.
It would have been the first time Hawaii was to serve as host.
Event organizers are hoping that the event will be rescheduled in 2021.
“We don’t know the exact date and we’re unsure of when we will be discussing this to find out exactly how to do it,” English said.
The state, which hosts the event, is on the hook for transportation, meals, and lodging for the delegates. Before postponement English said 1,400 delegates were scheduled to come for the event.
“We’ve been working with the University of Hawaii to put them in the dorms and the meal plans there. We will be speaking with them about how do we renegotiate and how do we move this forward,” English said.
With other gathering events scheduled in the future and the spread of COVID-19 unknown, concerts, festivals, and even sporting events could be in limbo.
“I would imagine that all of the coordinators and organizers of big events and even small ones in Hawaii are sitting down and considering the implications of what this means considering the choices they have before them.”
The Honolulu Festival is still scheduled this weekend from March 6-8. Now in its 26th year, the festival celebrates Asia Pacific cultures, people and traditions. It has free cultural performances at the Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center and Waikiki.
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