This year’s 49th annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo brings together the worldwide hula community for the most prestigious event in hula. Taking place April 8 through 14, the festival showcases a variety of activities proceeding the main events on Friday and Saturday, where halau (clubs) from Hawai‘i and the mainland compete in kahiko (traditional) and ‘auana (modern) styles of dance.
One of the highlights of the week is the Arts and Crafts Fair at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, Wednesday through Saturday. Some of the finest local artists and crafters present their wares, ranging from woven lauhala items, feather art, carvings, tapa, lei and more. Last night, the annual Miss Aloha Hula took place at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium, to be followed tonight and Saturday by the group hula competitions. If you didn’t get your tickets for the headlining events, you can always attend the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade on Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. Featuring beautiful pa‘u riders on horseback, the parade winds through downtown Hilo along Kilauea and Kamehameha avenues. If you’re not in town to see all the festivities first hand, you can watch on KFVE-TV here in Hawai‘i, or online at the station’s live stream.
The Merrie Monarch Festival began in 1964 to perpetuate, preserve and promote the art of hula and the Hawaiian culture in general. The festival gets its name from King David Kalakaua, who during his reign in the late 1800s, helped restore Hawaiian cultural traditions that had been suppressed by missionary teachings. He was known affectionately as the “Merrie Monarch.” In 1971, the festival opened became competitive, and by 1976, men were also competing at the event.
During your stay at Holualoa Inn, you can book a private hula lesson with an authentic hula dancer, who will teach you basic moves and give you a complimentary music CD as a memento of your lesson. As you plan your next romantic Hawaiian vacation, your Holualoa Inn ohana invites you to make our Kona bed and breakfast your home base during Merrie Monarch week.
Innkeeper Holualoa Inn