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Merrie Monarch Festival will welcome a live audience back this year in Hilo

As COVID cases decline and restrictions ease, the Merrie Monarch Festival is gearing up to return with a live audience this year.
Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 2:30 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2022 at 5:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As COVID cases decline and restrictions ease, the Merrie Monarch Festival is gearing up to return with a live audience this year.

The hula competition will be back to its usual spot the weekend after Easter with 10 contestants vying for Miss Aloha Hula along with 17 wahine and seven kane groups in the group competitions.

The Edith Kanakaole Stadium will be roughly at a third capacity ― with seats for 2,000 people.

There will be no general ticket sales so tickets will be reserved for the halau and festival sponsors.

Merrie Monarch Festival president Aunty Luana Kawelu, 81, says last year’s festival without an audience was difficult so everyone is excited to welcome people back.

“Iʻm really excited about being live again having people in the audience,” said Kawelu.

“These halau and the kumu are troopers. They are so passionate about hula. They give you the best,” she added.

Unlike last year, there’s no isolation requirement before the competition and Kawelu says even if county COVID protocols change by April, the seating won’t change.

“At the last minute, if he tells me to open it up. I canʻt see how I can do it fairly,” said Kawelu.

After a two year absence, the craft fairs will also return, and there will be a parade and Ho’ike night.

“They work hard and have beautiful beautiful exquisite works that are sold at the craft fair,” said Kawelu.

Tickets will be sold for $5 each for Ho’ike, and attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination.

To get tickets, Kawelu said to check the Merrie Monarch website soon for ticket information. People are being asked to call the office before coming in. For more information, click here.

You’ll be able to watch the entire Merrie Monarch Festival on K5 and streaming online at HawaiiNewsNow.com.

2022 Participating Hālau:

Kumu Hula Shelsea Lilia Ai Pu’uloa, O’ahu Hālau Lilia Makanoe

Nā Kumu Hula William Kahakuleilehua Haunu’u “Sonny” Ching & Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera Kapahulu, O’ahu Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu’uanahulu

Kumu Hula Keolalaulani Dalire He’eia, O’ahu Keolalaulani Hālau ‘Ōlapa O Laka

Kumu Hula Kapua Dalire-Moe Kāne’ohe, O’ahu Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea

Kumu Hula Māpuana de Silva Ka’ōhao, O’ahu Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima

Kumu Hula Drake Keolakapu Dudoit Delaforcé Āliamanu & Nānākuli, O’ahu Hālau Keolakapuokalani

Kumu Hula Leinā’ala Pavao Jardin Kalāheo, Kaua’i Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leinā'ala

Kumu Hula Puanani Jung Laguna Hills, California Hālau Hula Lani Ola

Nā Kumu Hula Kunewa Mook & Kau’ionālani Kamana’o Kalihi & Waimānalo, O’ahu Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela

Nā Kumu Hula Hula Robert Ke’ano Ka’upu IV & Lono Padilla Kalihi Kai, O’ahu Hālau Hi’iakaināmakalehua

Kumu Hula Kamaka Kukona Waikapū, Maui Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua

Nā Kumu Hula Tracie & Keawe Lopes Pū’ahu’ula, O’ahu Ka Lā ‘Ōnohi Mai O Ha’eha’e

Kumu Hula Chinky Māhoe Kailua & Mānoa, O’ahu Kawaili’ulā

Kumu Hula Meleana Manuel Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi Hālau Hula Ke ʻOlu Makani O Mauna Loa

Nā Kumu Hula Haunani & ‘Iliahi Paredes Wailuku, Maui Hālau Kekuaokalā’au’ala’iliahi

Kumu Hula Keli’iho’omalu Puchalski Kaiwiʻula, O’ahu Kawai’ulaokalā

Kumu Hula Ka’ilihiwa Vaughan-Darval Mānoa, O’ahu Hālau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine

Kumu Hula Kenneth Dean Alohapumehanaokalā Victor Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i Hālau Kala’akeakauikawēkiu

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