Merrie Monarch wraps up after week of festivities - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Merrie Monarch wraps up after week of festivities

By Oscar Valenzuela - bio | email

HILO (HawaiiNewsNow) - The spotlight was on Hilo, Hawaii for nearly a week as work crews, spectators and halau after halau poured into town. At the Edith Kanaka'ole stadium, the stage was prepped early for practice performances.

Outside, roofers sealed up some holes at the last minute. At the concession stands, food and drinks were brought in by the truckload and camera crews set up lights and equipment for the big show. Even our own Sunrise crew showed up in full force, broadcasting live from Hilo's Naniloa Resort lobby lanai.

On Wednesday, the Hoike performances entertained anyone who showed up and simply stood in line. This exhibition show was offered for the best price in town: free.

Miss Aloha Hula was the first competitive performance. On Thursday, thirteen dancers showed off their best chanting and dance. At show's end, the award went to Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem.

Friday, the halau performances got off to a powerful start with the popular hula Kahiko or, ancient hula.

The beautiful dress and dance style of modern hula rounded out the final portion of the competition on Saturday with the hula Auana.

Awards were handed out at the end of the night and the big winners were, Kumu Ke'alii Reichel who took the two women's divisions and the Overall festival award went to Halau Ke Kai O Kahiki headed by veteran O'Brian Eselu.

Hilo finally returned to it's quiet home town self, the TV crews, performers and spectators went their separate ways, but the chants and music of this Hawaii tradition still echoes in the memories of anyone lucky enough to have been there, all in honor to King David Kalakaua.

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