The blood, sweat and tears of hundreds of hula dancers, poured out in months and sometimes years of preparation, will culminate in the showcasing of their hula prowess at the 2017 Merrie Monarch Festival.
Last year’s Miss Aloha Hula stunned the crowd with her hypnotic ʻoli (chant) in honor of Queen Keōpūolani, King Kamehameha the Great’s most sacred wife.
Hilo, and Hawaiʻi Island as a whole, represented well with spectacular showcases, such as Hālau o Ka Ua Kani Lehua’s performance, under the direction of kumu hula Johnny Lum Ho, in honor of a revered white turtle, “Honukea: Ka Honu Nui O Moloka‘i.” During their captivating performance, the Hilo rain, for which their hula group is named, could be heard beginning to fall on the stadium roof over head. It was a “chicken skin” moment.
This year’s week-long Merrie Monarch Festival runs April 16 – 22, 2017. See below for the line-up of events, list of dancers competing for the title of Miss Aloha Hula and the hālau hula, hula groups, who will be entering the competition this year.
The Merrie Monarch is streamed live online at www.merriemonarch.com/live-streaming.
2017 Merrie Monarch Schedule of Events
9:00 a.m., Sunday, April 16th at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium. Free admission to watch performances by our local hālau.
Free Mid-day Entertainment
Daily (Monday through Friday) entertainment at the Hilo Naniloa Hotel (12 p.m.), and the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel (1 p.m.).
Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 19th through Friday, April 21st, and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 22nd, at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
An annual favorite, this free event features local artists, crafters, and entertainment.
6:00 pm, Wednesday, April 19th at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium. An exhibition night of hula and folk dance from around the Pacific. The performances are free to the public, no tickets required.
Miss Aloha Hula
6:00 pm, Thursday, April 20th at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium. Individual competition for the title of Miss Aloha Hula with contestants performing hula kahiko, hula ʻauana and oli (chanting).
Group Hula Kahiko
6:00 pm, Friday, April 21st at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium. Hālau hula perform ancient style dances.
Group Hula ʻAuana & Awards
6:00 pm, Saturday, April 22nd at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium. Hālau hula perform modern style dances with an awards presentation for all group winners.
Merrie Monarch Royal Parade
10:30 am, Saturday, April 22nd. One of the festival’s most entertaining and fun events for the entire family, the parade begins and ends at Pauahi St. and winds through downtown Hilo (Kilauea Ave. – Keawe St. – Waiānuenue Ave. – Kamehameha Ave.).
Edith Kanaka‘ole Tennis Stadium
350 Kalanikoa Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium
323 Manono Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
2017 Merrie Monarch Miss Aloha Hula Participants
1. Kumu Kapua Dalire-Moe – Leilani Nicole Wilson
2. Nā Kumu Kunewa Mook & Kau‘ionālani Kamana‘o – Julyen Machiko Kaloke Kaluna
3. Kumu Leinā‘ala Pavao Jardin – Amanda Hiwalei Aliser
4. Kumu Nāpua Greig-Nakasone – Miriam Anuhea Kamakanaokealoha Hokoana Arakawa
5. Kumu Maelia Loebenstein Carter – Ashlyn Kahelelani Ma‘a
6. Kumu Chinky Māhoe – Chelei Kameleonalani Kahalewai
7. Nā Kumu Tracie & Keawe Lopes – Ariana Ka‘ano‘ikehaikūlō‘ihia Kaliliokū Akaka
8. Kumu Kamaka Kukona – Leila Noelani Ku‘uleimomi Rodrigues
9. Nā Kumu Haunani & ‘Iliahi Paredes – Leimakamae Maura Kea
10. Nā Kumu Robert Ka‘upu & Lono Padilla – Kelina Kiyoko Ke‘ano‘ilehua Tiffany Eldredge
2017 Merrie Monarch Hālau Hula Participants
1. Hālau Hula Olana, Nā Kumu Olana and Howard Ai & Shelsea Ai Apana (wahine)
2. Hālau I Ka Wēkiu, Nā Kumu Karl Veto Baker & Michael Casupang (wahine & kāne)
3. Ka Pā Hula O Ka Lei Lehua, Kumu Snowbird Puananiopaoakalani Bento (wahine & kāne)
4. Ka Pā Hula O Kauanoe O Wa‘ahila, Kumu Maelia Loebenstein Carter (wahine)
5. Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea, Kumu Kapua Dalire-Moe (wahine)
6. Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima, Kumu Māpuana de Silva (wahine)
7. Hālau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani, Kumu Nāhōkūokalani Gaspang (wahine & kāne)
8. Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka, Kumu Nāpua Greig-Nakasone (wahine)
9. Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leinā‘ala, Kumu Leinā‘ala Pavao Jardin (wahine)
10. Hula Hālau O Kou Lima Nani Ē, Kumu Iwalani Kalima (wahine)
11. Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela, Nā Kumu Kunewa Mook & Kau‘ionālani Kamana‘o (wahine)
12. Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua, Nā Kumu Robert Ke‘ano Ka‘upu IV & Lono Padilla (wahine)
13. Hālau O Ka Hanu Lehua, Kumu Kamaka Kukona (wahine)
14. Hālau Manaola, Kumu Nani Lim Yap (wahine)
15. Ka Lā ‘Ōnohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e, Nā Kumu Tracie & Keawe Lopes (wahine)
16. Kawaili‘ulā, Kumu Chinky Māhoe (wahine & kāne)
17. Pukalani Hula Hale, Kumu Hi‘ilei Maxwell-Juan (wahine)
18. Hālau Kekuaokalā‘au‘ala‘iliahi, Nā Kumu Haunani & ‘Iliahi Paredes (wahine & kāne)
19. Hālau Hula ‘O Nāpunaheleonāpua, Kumu Rich Pedrina (kāne)
20. Ke Kai O Kahiki, Kumu La‘akea Perry (kāne)
21. Kawai‘ulaokalā, Kumu Keli‘iho‘omalu Puchalski (kāne)
22. Hālau Hula O Kauhionāmauna, Kumu Denise Kauhionāmauna Kia Ramento (wahine)
23. Hālau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine, Kumu Ka‘ilihiwa Vaughan-Darval (wahine & kāne)
2017 Merrie Monarch Judges
Ainsley Halemanu, Rachel Lahela Ka‘aihue, Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, Etua Lopes, Pi‘ilani Lua, Keali‘i Reichel, Kalena Silva
For more information about the Merrie Monarch Festival, visit www.hawaii.com/tag/merrie-monarch-festival/.