Scores line up overnight for Merrie Monarch Hoike tickets

Hundreds camped out overnight while others joined the line early Sunday morning for the hottest tickets in Hilo.
Published: Feb. 26, 2023 at 12:04 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 5, 2023 at 4:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dedicated hula fans have lined up in Hilo, trying to get their hands on the hottest ticket in town.

Sales for the Merrie Monarch Festivals’ Ho’ike night began Sunday morning.

READ MORE: Here’s who will compete at Merrie Monarch 2023 (and who will pick the winners)

Many celebrated after successfully securing their Hoike tickets including Bob and Sue Green and their line neighbor, Laura.

“We wanted to be at Hoike and you gotta be here and get the tickets,” said Sue Green.

“I need to be there,” said Laura.

They were one of the many bundled up in sweaters and blankets outside the civic center in Hilo.

“There’s something different being here in person as opposed to being at home watching it on TV,” said Sue Green. “It’s not the same, we love it.”

Sherry Kalua was first in line last year and again this year.

She got in line at 5 a.m. on Saturday with 23 of her family members.

“I used to dance in Merrie Monarch and then afterwards my kids perform and now my grandchildren are performing in Merrie Monarch,” said Kalua.

Tickets are $5 each cash only, with a maximum of two for each buyer.

“Some people think, oh, it’s duped you know, you get all these people behind the scenes, but you see you get people who are in our court, like our king for this year was in the line,” said Merrie Monarch Festival Assistant, Kathy Kawelu. “And some of our volunteers, longtime volunteers are in the line so even we were surprised to see that they wanted to do it in the fairest way.”

And as ticket sales began at 9 a.m., Kawelu said the line moved quickly.

Despite having to wait for hours, Hilo Resident Christy Lassiter said it was all worth it.

“But the greatest thing is I met wonderful people, I renewed acquaintances, I said aloha to so many good folks,” said Lassiter. “We endured the rain, we laughed in the sun”

This year’s Merrie Monarch runs from April 9 — 15, with The Royal Coronation Ball on April 9.

Learn more about the Merrie Monarch Festival here.