Merrie Monarch - The world's largest Hula Festival in Hilo (2012)
30 minutes from Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast in Hilo the famous annual Merrie Monarch Hula Competition will take place from April 8-14. It is a magical time, when all of Hilo town is in a festive ambiance celebrating the art of Hula and the Hawaiian Culture. It is a community event with everybody involved from the Keiki (children) to the Kupuna (Elders): Hula performances in parks, public places and all around town, fabulous arts and crafts shows, the smell of fresh flowers everywhere, beautiful leis, everybody out in their finest Aloha wear, cheerful and happy. It is one of the most wonderful times here on the East side of the Island and as a visitor this magic is contagious and carries over to all open to be taken in by it. What makes this event so special is the fact, that it is not put on as a festival for visitors. It is genuine and authentic. It is the perfect time to experience Hawaii, its cultural richness and overabundant beauty. It's also a time to closely experience some of Hawaii's most famous performers, entertainers and musicians: Keali'i Reichel, Robert Kazimero, members of the Beamer family, Sonny Ching, Kekuhi Kanahele & the Kanakaole Ohana, and many other kumu hula and their halau from around the world.
The event starts on Wednesday night (April 11) with the Ho'ike Performance, a free exhibition night of hula, international performers and music. Thursday night (April 12) features the Miss Aloha Hula competition of individual women for the title of Miss Aloha Hula. Contestants perform hula kahiko (ancient hula), hula 'auana (modern hula) and oli (chanting). On Friday night (April 13) groups of women and men perform Hula Kahiko. Saturday (April 14) night, the final evening, presents women and men groups dancing the modern style hula ('auana). At the end of this evening the overall winners of both group hula nights are celebrated.
The week-long event finds its finale in the Saturday parade (April 14th) through downtown Hilo as one of the festival's most entertaining and fun parts for the whole family.