Hilo Lei Day Festival, May 1
May Day is Lei Day in Hawaiʻi, and the Hilo Lei Day Festival is planning a return to Kalākaua Park in Hilo this year. The celebration, always held on the first day of May each year, is free and open to the public.
Opening ceremonies are at 9 a.m., when oli and hoʻokupu will be presented. The festival ends at 3 p.m. with a group hula and singing of Hawai‘i Aloha.
“One of the advantages of floating across the week is that over the years, everyone has a chance to come, including people who work on weekends,” event organizer Leilehua Yuen said. “It also is nice for the passengers of ships which come in during the week. This year, Pride of America is scheduled to be in port during the festival.”
“As a community-based event, it’s ideal for homeschool families to participate in or attend,” said Yuen, “It’s a wonderful way to incorporate Hawaiian history, culture and arts into a homeschool curriculum. The cost of different activities and materials varies, though a lot is free, as we did get funding from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority through the Kukulu Ola program, and other sponsors, such as Basically Books, the Hilo Coffee Mill, Lei Manu Designs, several individuals and the Carousel of Aloha—which also is our fiscal sponsor.”
“There are so many styles of lei that we are still looking for people who want to demonstrate lei making, and training is on-going,” Yuen said. “So, if you have always wanted to learn to make lei, come join us for the training sessions and then kōkua at the festival. After all, the best way to learn is to teach.”
Among the activities will be lei making demonstrations, a lei competition, floral court, demonstrations by “Spencer’s Invincibles” historical re-enactment group, group hula, portrayals of people and other beings of Hawaiian history and legend, vendor booths and selfie stations.
Kalākaua Park is located at 136 Kalakaua St.