Island Address Book 6-25-2005

Pyrotechnic engineer Wayne Hikiji on the islands' best fiery festivals

By: Karla Aronson

Where can visitors enjoy some surefire, fun-filled entertainment?

For 10 years, Wayne Hikiji has been blasting fireworks to thrill Hawaii audiences statewide. From small weddings to large conventions, his special events company, Envisions Entertainment and Productions, stages about two dozen fireworks shows a year. Not bad work for a former Oahu attorney.

Those fiery, aerial explosions cost around $12,000 at the low-end, Hikiji said, and can easily run into the six-figures for major extravaganzas.

Pricing is based on impact value, he noted, and not simply the length of a show.

In other events, Envisions Entertainment has arranged for a 44-piece symphony to play alongside a 12-piece dance band on the driving range of a golf course. The company regularly decks out tents, ballrooms, outdoor venues and restaurants for themed beach parties, luaus, biker parties or elegant galas. Attendees can mail friends coconuts with personalized messages or even send surfboards.

The company, jointly owned by Hikiji, works with resorts, destination management companies, wedding planners and incentive companies. For groups of seven to several hundred, Hikiji knows how to throw a party.

Topping his personal favorites for Hawaiian entertainment, not surprisingly, is the Ala Moana Fourth of July Fireworks. It is the biggest fireworks show in the state, and Hikiji places the Ala Moana celebration among the top fireworks shows in the country. Launched from Magic Island at the Ala Moana Beach Park, spectators can sit on the lawn, in their cars, or in their hotel rooms, while the audio show is simulcast on the radio.

Aside from fireworks, Hikiji is a big fan of the summer film series Sunset on the Beach. The outdoor series is held 24 weekend nights on the Queen’s Surf Beach in Waikiki. More than 1,000 people show up, Hikiji said, to watch the movies projected onto a large screen. Entertainment and food booths precede the films.

Over on Maui, nothing compares to the annual Halloween bash in Lahaina on Oct. 31, Hikiji said.

“Known as the ‘Mardi Gras of the Pacific,’” he said, “some actually plan their vacations around this event.”

Organizers said the event draws 30,000 people. The pageant begins with a children’s costume parade in the early evening and continues through the night with raucous, dressed-up crowds roaming the town’s Front Street, which is closed to vehicle traffic.

For ongoing quality entertainment, Hikiji said, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, or MACC, always has something going on.

“There is very, very high caliber entertainment,” he said, including some nationally known artists.

For a real infusion of Hawaiian culture, Hikiji’s favorite entertainment on the Big Island is the weeklong Merrie Monarch Festival. Held in Hilo, following Easter Sunday, the 40-year-old festival includes arts and crafts shows, a city parade and its signature three-day hula dance competition.

From petting a cow to hanging upside down in a carnival ride, the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair offers the best traditional-style entertainment. Each August, local food booths line up alongside the games, rides, arts and crafts displays, as well as the county’s livestock and agriculture displays.

Hikiji’s picks are a guaranteed good time for visitors and residents alike.


Ala Moana Fourth of July Fireworks

Sunset on the Beach Waikiki Improvement Association

Halloween in Lahaina
Lahaina Town Action Committee

Maui Arts and Cultural Center

Merrie Monarch Festival

Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair