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Culture, pageantry on display in Waikiki as Lei Day celebration returns

The city’s annual Lei Day celebration returned to Queen Kapiolani Park this year.
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 7:56 PM HST|Updated: May. 2, 2022 at 2:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city’s annual Lei Day celebration returned to Queen Kapiolani Park this year.

Hundreds gathered to celebrate the universal symbol symbol of aloha, with many donning lei made with colorful native flowers and plants.

“Really the Hawaiian culture and pageantry that goes along with the Lei Day celebration is so much more enjoyable when we’re here in person,” said Nathan Serota, of the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation.

The event featured a lei court, arts and crafts, and a popular lei contest with more than 100 entries.

Master lei maker Melvin Tracy Labra received the most awards with eight total, while fellow master William Char won the Mayor’s Grand Prize and 6 other awards.

Crowds enjoyed live music and hula performances, including one from Kaiu Martin who’s been dancing hula for more than 80 years.

“It’s part of our culture, probably the most distinctive part of our culture,” Martin said.

Vendors were also happy to be back.

Rachel’s Lei Stand has been part of the event for nearly 30 years.

“I see a lot of people out there actually spending money. So this year, it looks like just how it ended right before pandemic or even better,” said Olaa Hanohano-Inere.

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