Music and Hula Fans Flock to Merrie Monarch’s Free Mid-Day Entertainment

April 19, 2017, 10:49 AM HST (Updated March 29, 2018, 11:00 AM)

Merrie Monarch Festival Mid-day Entertainment. April 18, 2017. Darde Gamayo photo.

Entertainment at Hilo Hawaiian. Darde Gamayo photo.

A crowd enjoys the entertainment at Hilo Hawaiian. Darde Gamayo photo.

Those who enjoy the dancing and drama of Hilo’s Merrie Monarch Festival competitions will be delighted with this year’s lineup of hālau. But it’s not just about the competition—there are many free hula shows and concerts throughout Hilo Town all week long through Friday, April 21.

The Merrie Monarch Festival Mid-day Entertainment, hosted by KAPA Radio’s Alakai Paleka, draws large crowds of hula and Hawaiian music fans each day. 

The mid-day hula shows at the Grand Naniloa Hotel and Hilo Hawaiian Hotel host an impressive lineup, featuring a who’s who in the Hawaiian music scene along with many well-known hālau.

The Grand Naniloa Hotel is located at 93 Banyan Drive. Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is located at 71 Banyan Drive.


Daily (Monday through Friday)
Free Mid-day Entertainment
Entertainment at the Hilo Naniloa Hotel at noon
Entertainment at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel at 1 p.m.

Wednesday, April 19, through Friday, April 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair
An annual favorite, this free event features local artists, crafters, and entertainment.
Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium


Wednesday, April 19, 6 p.m. 
Hōʻike Performances
An exhibition night of hula and folk dance from around the Pacific. The performances are free to the public, no tickets required.
Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium


The Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long cultural event that takes place annually in Hilo, honors King David Kalākaua—the “Merrie Monarch”—for his patronage of the arts. He is credited with restoring many Hawaiian cultural traditions during his reign, including the hula. Many hālau hula (schools) from the U.S. mainland and other countries attend the festival each year to participate in exhibitions and competitions.

The festival has received worldwide attention and is considered the most prestigious of all hula contests.

For more information, go online

Darde Gamayo
Darde Gamayo wen graduate from Honoka'a High & Intermediate in 1986. Her also known as “Tita Nui,” cause her one tita en her is nui. Her is da winna of da 2009 Ms. Aloha Nui Contess. Which is wat wen help her get her da job on da numba 1 rayjo station on dis island, KAPA Rayjo! Her is da weeken mid day DJ. You can catch her on KAPA from 6 p.m. to midnight Mondayz true Fridayz. Her is one blhog writah fo da Her write bout all kine stuffez, like how da mongoose wen come hea, wat collah da sand on da beach, pineapple in yo food and wat eva kine stuff her tink of. Her get choken udda stuff her like fo do like, write, read, go fishin' and her love to cook too... And wen you look at her you no she like fo eat, too! Her stay livin in Waipi‘o Valley with her honey, Darren, and the rest of their ‘ohana.


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