WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds gathered at the King's Village on Friday to watch a beloved drill team perform its very last routine.
"It's bittersweet because it's their last performance and I'm going to miss them very much," said Jayke Carig, a former Campbell High School student in the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. "Ever since my freshman year, I've watched them. I was just really inspired by the way they drill."
The King's Guard performed daily ceremonies at the Waikiki shopping area for more than 40 years, but its commander Paul Naki decided to retire and close down the program. The team will now be replaced by a Polynesian show.
King's Village was also sold to a Honolulu-based real estate firm in 2012, and plans are set to develop it into a luxury hotel-condominium slated for construction in 2016.
Donovan White, a King's Guard member, had been with the team since 1990. He said he enjoyed his time so much, it would've been difficult to quit.
"I just love to drill," he said. "I love all the friends I made. It was like a family so I could never see myself quitting. This was the only way for me to get out."
Members of the drill team were originally recruited in 1972 to create a special attraction which would revive and preserve the 19th century history in Hawaii, according to the King's Village website. Promoters wanted an attraction that would emulate Guards during the time period as well as utilize talents of the drill team.
"They have a lot of showmanship," Carig said. "I like their precision and accuracy and the way they execute drill. It's very unique and the best in the world, pretty much."