The city is getting ready for its 91st annual Lei Day celebration Tuesday at Kapiolani Park with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
Festivities begin at 9 a.m. with the Royal Hawaiian Band, followed by the investiture ceremony for 2018 Lei Queen Leimomi Irvine and her court, First Princess Helen Kuoha-Torco and Princess Sharon Au-Curtis at 10 a.m., and performances by the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association, Kamakakehau Fernandez, Hoku Zuttermeister and Halau Hula ‘O Hokulani, among others, until 5:30 p.m.
This year’s theme is “Lei ‘Alohi Kea,” a brilliant white lei representing the platinum of kupuna.
The official opening of the lei contest exhibit is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. Submissions for the fresh flower lei contest will be taken between 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Lei Receiving Booth on the day of the celebration. The public will have an opportunity to experience the exhibit from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., following the judging of the lei and the official opening of the exhibit by the Lei Court.
The first Lei Day was celebrated in 1927 in downtown Honolulu with a few people wearing lei, according to the city. The first lei queen, Nina Bowman, was crowned in 1928.
Hawaiian artisans will share their talents with exhibits and demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Kulana Lei village. While at the village, children may visit Tutuwahine (Hawaiian for “grandmother”) at Tutu’s Hale to hear stories, play Hawaiian games, and learn songs, hula, lei making and lauhala weaving. Vendors offering crafts, lei, and food will be available to the public throughout the celebration.
The closing ceremony for the annual Lei Day celebration, where lei from the contest exhibit will be placed on the graves of Hawaii’s alii, or royalty, is held Wednesday morning at Mauna Ala (the Royal Mausoleum) and Kawaiahao Church.
Besides the city’s daylong celebration, other May Day festivities include a May Day on the Great Lawn celebration at 4:30 p.m. at Bishop Museum showcasing Robert Cazimero and his Halau Na Kamalei o Lililehua, in addition to other halau, while The Royal Hawaiian celebrates 3 to 5 p.m. on the beach, honoring the Waikiki Beach Boys with a concert by Henry Kapono and guests.