Polynesian Cultural Center accepts award from HTA and Senator Kim. // © 2013
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) recently presented the Tourism Legacy Awards to three organizations that uphold Hawaiian traditions and culture: Hilo’s Merrie Monarch Festival, the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu and island retail chain Hilo Hattie.
“We are proud to recognize the Merrie Monarch Festival, Polynesian Cultural Center and Hilo Hattie for their commitment and dedication to preserving and promoting our Hawaiian culture for the past 50 years,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Their legacies celebrate our unique people, place and culture that make our destination unlike anywhere else in the world. Congratulations and mahalo to this year’s honorees.”
The annual Merrie Monarch Festival is a collaborative effort by local hula schools, researchers and students. It includes a hula competition, an invitational craft fair and a large parade. The Polynesian Cultural Center, which has hosted more than 37 million guests since its opening, provides tourists opportunities to learn about Polynesian culture through food, music, song and dance. The popular Hilo Hattie chain, founded by well-known teacher, singer and hula dancer Clarissa Haili, sells Hawaiian fashions and gourmet foods at seven storefronts on the islands.