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Kamehameha Day parade canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic

The King Kamehameha Celebration Commission today announced it was canceling its annual June parade events statewide due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The colorful, time-honored Kamehameha Day celebrations in observance of the June 11 state holiday draw thousands of residents and visitors each year. The parades are especially known for the mounted units showcasing regal princesses in flowing pa‘u skirts and adorned with lei representing the colors and flowers of each Hawaiian island, their horses also decked out for the occasion.

In Honolulu, the parade starts at Iolani Palace and proceeds to Waikiki and Kapiolani Park.

The draping of lei on the famed Kamehameha statue fronting Allilolani Hale, across from Iolani Palace, may still be held in a private format if regulations permit, according to a statement. The commission also said a socially distanced hoolaulea on Oahu is still being considered for the June 11 holiday.

This year’s parade theme was to have been “Na ‘Aina Ho‘opulapula: Celebrating a Century of Prince Kuhio’s Legacy,” highlighting Hawaiian homestead lands.

“The decision to cancel these major, statewide events was made with the health and safety of our island communities and kupuna in mind, said Kainoa Daines, chairman of the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission. “While we are hopeful that the worst of the COVID-19 health crisis will be behind us by June, we feel the prudent response at this time is to cancel the parades as the preparations and event draw large crowds to prepare and attend.

“This allows all involved in our respective King Kamehameha celebration festivities across the state to focus on matters important to health, welfare and economy. We look forward to a return to in-person festivities commemorating and celebrating Kamehameha Pai ‘ea in 2022.”

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