Travelers to Big Island should plan ahead for Easter weekend and Merrie Monarch Hula Festival

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The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation reminds travelers to give themselves extra time at airports statewide during the upcoming Easter weekend and the 61st annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, which starts Easter Sunday, March 31, and culminates on April 6.

The week-long cultural festival is expected to draw thousands of participants and enthusiasts to Hawai‘i Island, which could mean increased crowds and limited parking at Hawai‘i’s five busiest airports. The Hilo International Airport in particular is expected to be busy throughout the festival week, and travelers flying into and out of Hilo should plan accordingly.

The state offers the following tips for air travelers during this period, whether heading to Hilo or other destinations:

  • Plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours before your scheduled flight departure to allow sufficient time to park, check-in and get through security.
  • Check with your airline on the status of your flight, including any delays, gate assignments and baggage claim area if you are picking up arriving passengers.
  • Consider catching a ride to the airport, as parking stalls fill up quickly during holidays and special events. If using airport public parking garages, travelers are advised to arrive early and allow for additional walking time to the ticket lobbies, as some lots are farther from the main terminal than others. The maximum parking rate for a 24-hour period is $24 for all five of Hawai‘i’s busiest airports.

The Transportation Security Administration has created a series of videos to help you before you go through security checkpoints. See for a collection of videos and link to additional TSA resources.


Those departing Hilo are also advised to leave all ʻōhiʻa flowers, leaves and plant parts on Hawaiʻi Island to reduce the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death. Warning signs about the fungal disease that has killed more than one million native ʻōhiʻa trees will be posted inside the Hilo Airport.

To learn more about ROD visit the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture page here

A schedule of modified traffic patterns during the festival and parade are posted on the Merrie Monarch website.



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