The Merrie Monarch Festival began in 1963 as a way to preserve and promote the art of hula and Hawaiian culture. Now, over 50 years later, it has grown into a premier event. This spring thousands of people from Hawaii and around the world will come to the Big Island to celebrate Hawaiian history and culture by watching dancers display their skills in both ancient and modern hula.
The week-long festival begins on April 20th and runs through to April 26th. Most of the activities during the festival such as art exhibitions, musical entertainment, and craft fairs are free to the public. However, tickets are required for the three-day hula competition. Below you’ll find the highlights of this year’s festival!
Community Hoʻolauleʻa (April 20th from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium): This is a great opportunity to watch hula performances by our local hālau. The event is free of charge and there will be Hawaiian music and local fare.
Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair (April 23rd through April 26th 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium): Come by to see the finest Hawaiian arts handcrafted by local artisans. You’ll also be able to view demonstrations of lei making, coconut weaving, pahu drum making, and more.
Wednesday Night Hōʻike Performances (April 23rd at 5:45 pm at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium): Last year attendees were required to have a ticket to this event. But this year you can watch this evening hula performance free of charge. You’ll want to come early. Seats are available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Miss Aloha Hula Competition (April 24th at 5:45 pm at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium): The individual competition for the title of “Miss Aloha Hula” is a must see. Contestants will exhibit hula kahiko, hula ʻauana, and oli (chanting).
Group Hula Kahiko (April 25th at 5:54 pm at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium): During this hula exhibition you will be able to see groups performing in ancient styles of dance.
Free Mid-day Entertainment: Throughout the week (Monday- Friday) there will be free entertainment at the Hawaii Naniloa Volcanoes Resort starting at noon and at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel starting at 1:00 pm.
Merrie Monarch Royal Parade (April 26th starting at 10:30 am in downtown Hilo): The festival will end with a parade through Hilo. Bring the whole family to enjoy this entertaining extravaganza.
For more information and a full schedule visit the Merrie Monarch website at, www.merriemonarch.com.