40th Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Iolani Palace Will Feature Twenty Hālau Hula, Presentation of Awards to Noted Kumu Hula and Community Leaders and Free Palace Admission on Sunday, July 16

Laukanaka Ka Hula…Multitudes of Hula People Gather, the 40th anniversary of the Prince Lot Hula Festival taking place at Iolani Palace on Saturday, July 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, July 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will showcase twenty of Hawai`i’s finest hālau hula (hula groups) over the festival weekend.  A performance line-up is attached. 

The largest non-competitive hula exhibition in Hawai‘i, the festival will be held this year at Iolani Palace where Prince Lot Kapuāiwa maintained his official residence.  It is presented by Moanalua Gardens Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Hawaii’s native culture and natural resources.   

Festival highlights include an impressive Opening Ceremony led by the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Chapters 1, 6 and 8, on Saturday at 9 am followed by the presentation of MGF’s prestigious Kukui o Lota Award to Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Kumu Hula Vicky Holt Takamine and Charles M. Cooke, IV. 

Twelve hālau hula will be showcased on Saturday beginning at 9:30 am, including Vicky Holt Takamine’s Pua `Ali‘i ‘Ilima, Coline Aiu’s Hālau Hula O Maiki, Niuli`i Heine’s Nā Pualei o Likolehua, Shirley Recca’s Hālau Nāmakahulali, and more.  Lilinoe Lindsey, niece of the late Joan Lindsey who received MGF’s Malia Kau Award in 2015, will include Aunty Joanie’s haumana (students) in her Ka Pā Nani o Lilinoe hālau performances.  Puna Kalama Dawson’s Ka Ipu Ha‘a o’ Kekauilani, Na Pua Hala o’ Kau‘ai, Japana, Europa a me Canada will represent the island of Kau‘ai.

On Sunday at 10 am master chanter Cy Bridges will receive MGF’s inaugural Namakahelu Oli Award for his contributions to the preservation of this ancient art form.

He carries on the tradition of his great-great-grandfather James Kapihe Palea Kuluwaimaka, who became a chanter at age 19 in the royal court of King Kamehameha IV and was recognized at his death at age 100 in the 1930s as the “last court chanter.”  Bridges’ Hui Ho`oulu Aloha hālau will present a hula tribute to their kumu.   

Kumu Hula Leimomi I Maldonado and her brother Milton I will receive MGF’s Malia Kau Award for their dedication to the perpetuation of our hula traditions as taught to them by the late Maiki Aiu Lake, known as the mother of the Hawaiian Renaissance.  Milton was one of the first male haumana of Aunty Maiki and the first male dancer in Waikiki’s most famous showrooms breaking new ground for other male dancers to follow.

Featured hālau include Leimomi I Maldonado’s Ka Hale I o Kahala Hālau Hula, Mapuana De Silva’s Hālau Mohala `Ilima, Hālau Hula ‘O Hokulani led by the late Hokulani De Rego’s three daughers, Leinani Lauaki, Kehaulani Kawai and Leonani Naho`oikaika, and more.  For the first time in decades Nalani Kanakaole’s Hālau o Kekuhi from Hawai`i island will perform a special program at the festival.

Making their debut at the festival will be Tony Conjugacion’s Hālau Nā Wainohia and Sky Gora and Liko Cooke’s Kilipohe Nā Leilehua who carry on the tradition of their kumu hula, the late Leina‘ala Kalama Heine.  Also performing for the first time is Hālau Māpuna Leo led by Kamana‘o Mano‘i-Hyde who studied under respected kumu hula Mapuana De Silva.   

Other highlights include noon concerts by the Royal Hawaiian Band on both Saturday and Sunday, a Hawaiian-themed craft fair featuring local crafters, demonstrations of traditional Hawaiian arts by noted cultural practitioners, including lauhala weaving, kapa making, ipu making, feather lei making, ukulele making and more.

Food vendors will offer a variety of mouth-watering local specialties featuring Hawaiian plates, shave ice, and other island favorites.

On Sunday, entrance to the first floor of Iolani Palace will be free. 

We welcome both kama`āina and malihini,” to our first Prince Lot Hula Festival at Iolani Palace said Alika Jamile, MGF Executive Director and President.

“This year’s 40th anniversary celebration promises to be one of our best ever and we invite the entire community and our visitors to join us for this free uniquely Hawaiian event,” he stated.

There is no charge to attend the festival, however, a button donation to MGF is requested to raise funds to support the event.

Limited edition tee shirts and a souvenir poster will be on sale.  Proceeds from these merchandise sales will help cover the costs of the festival.

The public, and visitors, are welcome to bring their low beach chairs and mats and enjoy the fun, food and festivities at historic Iolani Palace.  No commercial photography is allowed.

Festival sponsors and supporters include the Hawaii Tourism Authority, National Endowment for the Arts, State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the City and County of Honolulu and the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, Kamehameha Publishing, Hawaiian Airlines, The Queen’s Medical Center, Matson Navigation, Royal Hawaiian Center, Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau, O‘ahu Visitors Bureau, the Honolulu Star Advertiser, MidWeek, ‘Ōlelo Community Media, Pasha Hawaii, Iolani Palace, Urgent Care Hawaii and others.

Named in memory of Prince Lot, who later reigned as King Kamehameha V, the festival was founded in 1978 by MGF and now attract thousands of residents and visitors each year.

A non-profit organization founded in 1970, Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF) is committed to preserving and perpetuating the native culture and environment of Hawai’i through education and stewardship of Kamananui Valley and celebration of the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival. MGF depends upon grants and donations to cover festival costs.  To make a donation or become a member please visit https://www.moanaluagardensfoundation.org/donations

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