Raphael and Hulali Vares Jr. of McCully were named winners of the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Dream Night Contest sponsored by the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The couple will attend Sunday’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards dinner at the Hawai’i Convention Center and get a prize package that includes one night at the Ala Moana Hotel, limo service from Platinum Limousine Hawaii, a formal dress for her from Calista, a complimentary tuxedo rental for him from Celebrity Tuxedos, a couple’s package from Ho‘ala Salon & Spa, a collection of 12 CDs from some of the Na Hoku Hanohano nominees, a morning-after breakfast at Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar at the Royal Hawaiian Center and a one-of-a-kind KoAloha ukulele.
Raphael Vares’ essay was the briefest of the 10 finalists chosen from the 70-plus entries, but the judges said they were moved by his “simple, sweet story.” Here is his entry:
“It was 1983, the 6th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards at the Neal Blaisdell Center and it was our first date out. I wore my best aloha shirt and my wife of now 25 years wore her red high school holomu. Wow, was I excited! Feeling as important as the entertainers on stage we had a memorable evening, one that dreams are made of. Many years have passed and five children are grown. What a great way to celebrate an event that we have loyally followed and enjoyed every year since.”