The Merrie Monarch Festival is a week-long cultural event held in Hilo, Hawai’i each spring. It features an internationally acclaimed hula competition, arts fair, hula shows and parade in Hilo town. The Merrie Monarch Festival endeavors to maintain and perpetuate the history and culture of Hawai’i to ensure that their unique traditions will continue to flourish.
“Hula is the Language of the Heart. Therefore, the Heartbeat of the Hawaiian People.” — Kalākaua Rex
The festival is dedicated to the memory of King David La‘amea Kalākaua, known as the “Merrie Monarch” for his flamboyant and fun-loving ways. Kalākaua was elected king of the Hawaiian Nation in 1874, and reigned until his passing in 1891. He advocated for a renewed sense of pride in all things Hawaiian such as the arts, medicine, music, and hula. This year the Festival is celebrating its 55th year, continuing what the king started.
Festival dates are April 1-8, 2018. Most activities during the festival week are free to the public; however, tickets are needed to attend the three-day hula competition. Dates of competition are April 5-7, 2018.