King Kamehameha Day celebrations to close a portion of Ali‘i Drive all day

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For the first time in the history of the King Kamehameha Day celebrations, a portion of Ali‘i Drive in the heart of Kailua Village will be shut down to traffic all day to allow the community to enjoy festivities, shopping and food.

Additionally, the parade committee is partnering with the Kailua Village Business Improvement District to bring the Street Eats Food Truck Festival to Saturday’s festivities.

Parade chairperson Manu Powers said the food trucks will also roll in the parade. Following the event, they will stop on Ali‘i Drive and serve food for the rest of the day.

Ali‘i Drive will reopen at 6 p.m.

Powers said they want the community to be aware that this year it will be a daylong festival. “It’s always been sweep the street at 11 a.m.” But not this year.

“It’s not just a busy tourist street. It’s our village,” Powers said. “It’s really fun for me to incorporate more small businesses and support this thriving village after the pandemic.”


One of the business owners participating is Mandi Post, who owns and operates Kona Treehouse and Petals and Provisions in Hōlualoa.

Post said she didn’t know it was an option to participate in the parade until Powers reached out to her about it.

“We’re flowering up the van right,” Post said this afternoon. “It’s fun to be part of the cultural experience of the parade and get exposure.

“We’re just excited we’re all going to get decked and get our wave on.”

With incorporating more businesses and keeping the road closed all day, Powers said she feels like it’s the start of something interesting, adding this year feels fresh.


But traditions will not be forsaken.

As usual, the parade will also feature more than 100 riders on horseback. The highlight of the parade, the beautiful pa‘u riders on horseback will showcase the flora and colors of the eight Hawaiian Islands. The island units will be led by the Pa‘u Queen and her equestrian unit.

Following the parade, there will be a ho‘olaule‘a at Hulihe‘e Palace. (Hawaiian music and art festival) will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival will feature food vendors, hula, cultural practitioners, Hawaiian crafts, Royal Court, live music, and a silent auction.

King Kamehameha I established the first capital of the united Hawaiian Kingdom in Kailua-Kona at Kamakahonu. The famed ali‘i resided at his royal compound during the final years of his life.

The reconstructed temple (heiau) near where he passed away overlooks Kailua Bay at the pier at the royal Kamakahonu compound.


Hawai‘i County Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas said Kamehameha Day festivities are an opportunity for community to come together and celebrate Hawai‘i’s king, his lineage and sacred spaces.

“Kailua Village is so precious and these places are priceless for the perpetuation of our culture and history,” Villegas said. “If we don’t know our past how can we know our future?”

This will also be the first time Villegas will ride in the parade as a council member as this is the first year organizers are allowing elected officials to participate.

“I’m so excited my grandson is going to ride with me. It will be his first time being in a parade, and for him to see, smell and hear and interact with the community and see it at its fullest is a special memory I look forward to making.”

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