Merrie Monarch 2018 Festivals Photo

This year’s Merrie Monarch Festival is finally over, and it’s been a gala of pageantry and celebrations for the little town of Hilo. This beautiful sleepy town every year springs to life when people all over the world gather for what is now called the “Olympics of Hula.”  For one whole week, Hilo is bustling with vendors selling goods from local grinds to exquisite Hawaiian clothing to everything hula and everything Hawaiian.  Shops are packed with customers who have saved the entire year so they may be able to splurge on gifts and goods from the festival to bring home and show off.

Kumu and Judges Line-up

Kumus and Judges for 2018 Merrie Monarch Festivals Image @Merrie

This year’s favorites at the competition brought out their best arsenal. And at the end of the three nights of competition, one halau stood out from the rest. On Thursday out of twelve contestants, a dancer of Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka won the prestigious title of Miss Aloha Hula 2018. Shalia Kapuau‘ionalani Kikuyo Kamakaokalani electrified the judges with her hula noho. Lei No Kapiolani hula honoring Queen Kapiolani done with kala’au sticks. Her ‘auana honored Princess Ka’iulani with a beautiful blue holomu’u adorned with peacock feathers, Ka’uilani’s favorite bird, the Peacock.

Miss Aloha Hula 2018 Covented Award Went To Shalia Kapuau’ionalani Kikuyo Kamakaokalani

Hula Auana

Shalia Kapuau’ionalani Kikuyo Kamakaokalani photo by


Video by Merrie Monarch Festivals

The next two evenings are group competitions. A total of twenty-nine halau participated in this year’s festivities. Friday is the traditional hula night filled with dances and chants of old, of Ali’i’s and God’s that is considered to be a religious performance. But it is the ‘auana night that is filled with vibrant colors, costumes, fun and floral gardens that fills the air.

Video by Merrie Monarch Festivals

Everyone is dressed to kill! Meaning that they will spend last weeks paycheck on buying the finest to wear along with the most precious Ni’ihau shell leis and matching earrings. Hawaiian Bracelets and Black Pearls adorn a Wahine Toa dress or a Zig Zane Design that are highly sought after year after year.

Video by Merrie Monarch Festivals

Halau Sweeps Top Awards

At the end of Saturday evening’s spectacular performances, all await the Awards ceremony. The Judges have a tough job especially when halaus are bringing top performance to the stage. This year it was one halau who swept the competition. From Waiohuli, Maui comes  Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka, Kumu hula Napua Greig. Her halau took first place Wahine Kahiko, first place Wahine ‘Auana and first place overall with top scores. And remember, it was her student that won the Miss Aloha Hula 2018. What a Sweep!

Congratulations to all the Halaus that participated in this years Merrie Monarch Festival. It was a wonderful weekend of Hula, music, and company.  Until next year…Just Hula!


See Related Articles:

The Beautiful Lei Hala

The Making of a Miss Aloha Hula