The Aloha Festivals culminates in a lavish floral parade. // © Aloha Festival
A longstanding tradition, the Aloha Festivals always treats visitors to Hawaiian culture and entertainment imbued with a heavy dose of the aloha spirit. This year’s event promises to follow suit in splashy style.
Along with the usual activities, the 2013 celebration is paying tribute to traditional Hawaiian sea travel with its theme, Moana Nui Akea (Celebrate Ocean Voyaging).
Running from Sept. 12-28 at various locations on Oahu, the 67th annual Aloha Festivals celebrates the canoe builders, voyagers and navigators who have kept Hawaii’s native culture vibrant, according to Aloha Festivals co-chair Helene “Sam” Shenkus.
“Each event this year captures Moana Nui Akea by perpetuating our island culture and educating everyone who participates in our signature events,” said Shenkus.
The theme also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), which was founded in 1973. PVS has inspired generations of voyagers who have retraced the paths of Hawaii's Pacific island ancestors, fostering the revival of the double-hulled sailing canoe and non-instrument navigation by the sun, stars and reading of natural signs.
The celebration kicks off with the investiture of the 2013 Aloha Festivals royal court on Sept. 12, followed by an opening ceremony featuring traditional chant and hula; a children’s hoolaulea (block party) with activities, demonstrations and entertainment; and an evening hoolaulea with live performances on multiple stages, food booths and crafts.
The celebration culminates in a floral parade along Waikiki’s Kalakaua Avenue on Sept. 28. All events are free and open to the public, supported by the sale of Aloha Festivals ribbons and merchandise from participating retailers.