It’s that time again to watch the hula halaus compete in kahiko and auana for the annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, Hawaii from April 23-26, 2014. This is more than just a hula competition; it includes entertainment and a parade through downtown Hilo. In addition, many crafters, entertainers, local artists, and food vendors will fill the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium for the Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair.
“The Merrie Monarch Festival began in Hilo, Hawaiʻi in 1963 when Helene Hale, the Chairman of the County of Hawaiʻi, looked for a way to attract tourists to the island. Hawaiʻi Island needed an economic boost after suffering from a tidal wave and business downturn.” - http://www.merriemonarch.com/history
This festival is dedicated to the memory of King David Kalakaua, who took the Hawaiian throne in 1874-1891 and was known was the Merrie Monarch. He was an advocate for restoring Hawaiian culture, like the hula. It is through his desire to embrace the Hawaiian culture that this Hawaiian hula can be passed down from generation to generation. Hula is the Hawaiian dance, which expresses the words and emotions of song into a dance.
“The Merrie Monarch Festival is committed to: 1) Perpetuating the traditional culture of the Hawaiian people; 2) Developing and augmenting a living knowledge of Hawaiian arts and crafts through workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions and performances of the highest quality and authenticity; 3) Reaching those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate; and, 4) Enriching the future lives of all of Hawaii's children.” - http://www.merriemonarch.com/about-the-festival
The Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair will be at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium on April 23-25 at 9a.m.-5p.m and on Saturday, April 26 at 9a.m.-4p.m. Take this opportunity to check out the many artists, entertainment, crafts, and food vendors all gathered together for this annual Merrie Monarch Festival.