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Aloha from Hilo and Merrie Monarch

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  • On the stage for rehearsal: Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu'uanahulu.
  • View from the boarding zone. Not bad!
  • Hula-related books, images and Hawaiiana in the window of Basically Books, Hilo.

Aloha from Hilo, and greetings from the home of Merrie Monarch!

I’m honored to be able to blog and share my impressions of Hilo as the Merrie Monarch Festival continues. I am new to the festival, and hope I can share my delight at the sights and discoveries with you. Look for new photos, video and stories from the festival daily.

My day began early Tuesday, with a morning flight to Hilo. As I took a seat in the waiting area for my Hawaiian flight, a bright rainbow appeared outside the wall of windows looking out at the jetway. A good omen!

Also a happy coincidence: Sharing the plane ride with the men of Ke Kai O Kahiki, above, an Oahu halau with a stellar performance record at the Edith Kanakaole Stadium. Though early in the morning, the dancers were cheerful and kind enough to gather for my photo. (See them dance here, in an April 6 profile by Hawaii News Now.)

Once at the stadium (my first time!), it was a joy to be able to observe halau at practice at the stadium. Though multiple movements and conversations were going on simultaneously, the talent of dancers such as those in kumu hula Sonny Ching’s Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu’uanahulu, above, was evident.

It was inspiring. I’ll tell you more about Hilo and the festival in future blogs. Follow along!


Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at or follow her on Twitter.

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