Before flying to Hilo, an Oahu halau gave a Merrie Monarch sneak peek

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Merrie Monarch fever has hit hula fans around Hawaii just before the prestigious competition.

The 55th annual Merrie Monarch Festival kicked off Sunday with a Hoolaulea.

The competition begins Thursday with the Miss Aloha Hula competition, but a halau from Oahu offered loved ones a preview this weekend.

On Easter Sunday, Halau I Ka Wekiu gave family and friends a sneak peek of their upcoming Merrie Monarch performances at the Mid-Pacific Institute gym.

The halau holds their own Hoike before flying out for those who can't make it to Hilo. It's also a way to thank their supporters.

"We go to Merrie Monarch -- It's a competition, but it's really about the hula and what is relevant cause we gotta be able to teach them something that is relevant to them," Kumu Hula Karl Veto-Baker said.

When the halau took time off from the competition in 2015 and 2016, the kane grew and harvested kapa to make their own malo for their kahiko performance.

"Then they had to get the guys to print it. The yellow is olena, and the browns, we used the koa root and kukui root of the trees and the red we use the alae dirt," Veto-Baker said as he described the process.

After all of their hard work and practice, the dancers hope to shine on stage at the Edith Kanakaole Stadium this week.

Stick with Hawaii News Now for continuing coverage of the 2018 Merrie Monarch Festival.

Hawaii News Now Sunrise takes you to Hilo starting Wednesday at 4:30 a.m.

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