PHOTO UPDATE: Merrie Monarch Hoike Night

April 20, 2017, 4:41 PM HST (Updated April 21, 2017, 9:12 AM)


    On Wednesday, April 19, 16 hours before the 2017 Merrie Monarch Hoike performances were scheduled to start, Sherry Kalua arrived outside the Edith Kanakaole Multipurpose Stadium.

    What was she doing there at 2:45 a.m.? The 2017 Merrie Monarch Hoike doesn’t even start until 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

    When asked why so early, she replied, “Because I like be first in line and I want to sit in section H in the stadium.”

    Kalua has been first in line for the last five years. She started getting to the stadium early over 15 years ago, when her first son danced for Halau O Kekuhi.

    The evening’s Hōʻike performances are an exhibition of hula and folk dance from around the Pacific.

    The free event at the Edith Kanakaole Multi-Purpose Stadium was filled with a palpable excitement. As attendees filed in, the anticipation could be felt.

    “It feels like this place is a magnet and you can feel it vibrating with aloha,” a visitor from Finland stated.


    As the Royal Court entered, the crowd stood to honor the representation of the ali‘i.

    The beautiful voices of the Waiakea High School Ensemble, Ka Leo Wai, filled the stadium with their renditions of the Star Spangled Banner and Hawai‘i Pono‘i.

    The Merrie Monarch stage, which many hālau compare to an altar, received its first offering of the year as Halau O Kekuhi, led by Kumu Nalani Kanakaole, presented the first performance.

    The crowd was enthralled.

    All the way from Mexico, Na Ohana Kahikilaulani O Mexico, under the direction of Aida Araceli Garcia Cruz, Brenda Marissa Morales Arzate and Esperanza Rosalinda Paredes Hernandez, brought to Hilo the dances and vibrant colors of their country, featuring both upbeat and traditional religious numbers.

    San Francisco’s Parangal Dance Company presented traditional dances from the Tagalog people of the Philipines. Dances included amazing feats—women standing on a stack of white plates; a woman balancing several pottery vases on her head.

    Coming from the West Side of Hawai‘i Island to make their first appearance ever on the Merrie Monarch stage, Halau Kala‘akeakauikawekiu, under the direction of Aloha Victor, paid tribute to Kona.

    Lance Duyao said it perfectly in his Facebook post: “And so the stories were told. Costuming. Grooming. Vignettes. Narrations. Musicians. All top-notch. That is how you own ho‘ike. Kona, you were in the house and definitely represented!”

    Find all of the night’s performances on KAPA Radio’s Facebook page.


    Friday, April 21, 6 p.m.
    Group Hula Kahiko
    Hālau hula perform ancient style dances.
    Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium

    Saturday, April 22, 10:30 a.m.
    Merrie Monarch Royal Parade
    One of the festival’s most entertaining and fun events for the entire family, the parade begins and ends at Pauahi Street and winds through downtown Hilo (Kilauea Avenue, Keawe Street, Waiānuenue Avenue, Kamehameha Avenue).

    Saturday, April 22, 6 p.m.
    Group Hula ʻAuana & Awards
    Hālau hula perform modern style dances with an awards presentation for all group winners.
    Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium

    Emcees for Hoike are one-half of the KAPA Morning Sshow—Ka’ea Lyons (L) and Darde Gamayo (R). Darde Gamayo photo.

    Line outside the Edith Kanakaole Multipurpose Stadium for the 2017 Marrie Monarch Festivals Hoike night. Darde Gamayo photo.

    The Parangal Dance Company from San Francisco. Darde Gamayo photo.

    Line outside the stadium for Hoike night at the 2017 Merrie Monarch Festival. Darde Gamayo photo.

    The Parangal Dance Company from San Francisco performs traditional Filipino dances Darde Gamayo photo.

    Nā ‘Ohana O Kahikilaulani O Mexico. Photo: Ka‘ea Lyons.

    Hālau Kala`akeakauikawēkiu. Photo: Ka‘ea Lyons

    Hālau Kala`akeakauikawēkiu. Photo: Ka‘ea Lyons

    Nā ‘Ohana O Kahikilaulani O Mexico. Photo: Ka‘ea Lyons

    Nā ‘Ohana O Kahikilaulani O Mexico. Photo: Ka‘ea Lyons

    Nā ‘Ohana O Kahikilaulani O Mexico. Photo: Ka‘ea Lyons

    Nā ‘Ohana O Kahikilaulani O Mexico. Photo: Ka‘ea Lyons

    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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