The 61st Annual Merrie Monarch Festival Royal Parade

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Photo: Kaleihikina Akaka

This past April marked the 61st Merrie Monarch Festival, a week of hula competition, artisans and culture of Hawaiʻi and beyond, and royal parade in Hilo, honoring King David Laʻamea Kalākaua and his contributions to hula and as a patron of the arts, music and dance. As we celebrate, commemorate and perpetuate our culture as the Indigenous people of Hawaiʻi by showcasing to the world our talents and aloha and that this is all possible through ʻohana and community.

What an honor to represent OHA in the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade, alongside my beloved Baby Ana Kapuahilehuaāiwaiwamaikahikinaiʻōlaʻa, fellow Trustees, and Ka Pouhana (CEO), OHA staff along with the students and family of Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School as we share aloha for the Hawaiian language, hula, culture and traditions through this week of festivities. So much aloha went into the design and decoration of the parade float by the Kua O Ka Lā students and their ʻohana. Our float featured a wailele (water fall), kāhili, Native Hawaiian plants, banners of OHA and Kua O Ka Lā, and a snow-capped mauna, with Hae Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Flag) waved and worn. It was a joy to see ʻohana and friends from keiki to kūpuna along the parade route. Mahalo to all that make the Merrie Monarch Festival the world class celebration that it is!

Photo: Trustee Akaka with Baby Ana, Chair Lindsey and Trustees Ahuna, Souza, Akina, Alapa, and OHA CEO Ferreira
Trustee Akaka with Baby Ana, Chair Lindsey and Trustees Ahuna, Souza, Akina, Alapa, and OHA CEO Ferreira in front of parade float. – Photo Courtesy of Trustee Akaka