May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - As some spent time picking out the perfect lei today organizers of the city's lei day celebration say it's going to be the best festival ever. 80 years in the making.

Lei makers and sellers are adding the finishing touches at Watanabe Floral.

With lei day just hours away, employees sort, label and stacks of boxes containing colorful and fragrant flowers.

There are traditional designs and other elaborate creations.

In Waikiki organizers are scrambling to get ready for the city's 80th lei day celebration.

It starts Tuesday morning at 9 am at the Kapiolani Bandstand.

Lei Contest Judge Dean Harvest explains, "Since the creation of Lei Day the motto has been, make a lei, wear a lei, give a lei. You can't beat that. Hawaii is always known for leis so what other way to express your aloha for someone?

The festival honors Hawaii's lei tradition. Dean Harvest is an award winning lei maker. "Especially when you select a lei for someone, depending upon the event or circumstances, you want to pick something that is really expressing your inner feeling, your love for this person. That's what a lei is, a lei is an extension of you."

Kaiulani de Silva will also judge the lei contest. She calls lei making, "An art and everyone has their own style and beauty and you look for that in every lei and I think you do look for craftsmanship and quality of how it's made but here is a beauty."

Organizers invite you to stop by this cultural event.

The theme of this year's festival is kukui and you'll likely find the shiny nut incorporated into many of the lei.