Fans wait for hours to grab coveted tickets for Merrie Monarch’s Hoike night

After two years of pent up demand, tickets for Ho’ike at the Merrie Monarch Festival went on sale Tuesday morning in Hilo.
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 4:53 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 15, 2022 at 6:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After two years of pent-up demand, tickets for Hoike at the Merrie Monarch Festival went on sale Tuesday morning in Hilo.

Merrie Monarch Festival president Luana Kawelu said the tickets sold out in three hours.

Greg and Brooke Nasby drove from Volcano and arrived in Hilo at 4:30 a.m. to grab some. They were surprised to see they were first in line.

“We are pretty excited but they have reopened ticket sales and were able to wait in line,” said Brooke Nasby. They’ve got a cousin who’ll be dancing at Hoike and planned to buy 10 tickets for their family.

“My only hope is that we’re at the right door,” said Greg Nasby.

But it turns out they were in the wrong location.

Ticket sales were not at the Edith Kanakaole Stadium where the festival is at, but at the nearby Civic Auditorium where the line snaked around the building.

The Nasbys hurried to the actual line.

Thanks to a good Samaritan, the Nasbys found the right place.

Only 2,000 tickets were up for sale at $5 a piece. The doors opened at 8:30 a.m., and it was limit 10 tickets per person.

“This is Merrie Monarch. We’ve got to get tickets. We’ve got to get in there. Yes, we are excited,” said Darde Gamayo, who started waiting in line at 4:45 a.m.

The non-competitive Hoike is an island favorite that fans have missed for two years.

“We’re ready. We are ready,” said Aulani, who was also in line.

Some things don’t change like seat assignments done by hand by Kathy Kawelu..

To pass the time, there was impromptu music and a hula performance by a beloved uncle.

Sherry Kalua was first in line at 4:30 p.m. Monday and she got coveted seats at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“It feels good because I know I’m going to get to watch my granddaughter,” said Kalua.

After the initial mix-up, so did the Nasbys and they were excited they made it in.

“Four hours and 50 minutes, but it was well worth it,” said Greg Nasby.

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