Thousands crowd streets despite the (usual) Hilo weather
Hilo, Hawaii – Video by David Corrigan
The rain did not keep spectators from witnessing the traditional Merrie Monarch Festival Royal Parade on Saturday. For Hilo residents, the rain is nearly an everyday event, and it is even considered a blessing of sorts. Visitors, who are less accustomed to the damp environ, were far too enthusiastic about the annual event to miss the march.
Therefore, there were plenty of umbrellas lining the parade route around Downtown Hilo, like on Aupuni Street where this video was filmed.
The parade is the biggest in Hilo, and perhaps the biggest on the Big Island, with hundreds of participants, floats, and the trademark Pa’u Riders, clomping past on their lei adorned horses.
This year’s Pa’u Queen was Pudding Kahiwa Lassiter, a former Police Commission chairwoman and veteran horserider. The queen was joined by other riders from her family’s Pu’umoi Ranch in Papaikou.
The other riders, each representing one of the Hawaiian islands, were Hawaii Princess Marne Jeannine Walsh, Maui Princess Leina’ala DeMello, Kahoolawe Princess Maia Shae Dale, Lanai Princess Cindy Lou Moana Kaleohano, Molokai Princess Raenette U’ilani Haili Soares, Oahu Princess Kaimahina Francisco, Kauai Princess Faith Kalei Imaizumi and Niihau Princess Laurie Lewis. Lewis was awarded the title of “princess” by the parade judges, and the unit from Niihau also took first place. However, the Molokai cleanup crew edged out Niihau for the ever important “Pooper Scooper” award.
The horse riders weren’t the only part of the parade being judged. The elaborately decorated floats were also in competition. This year, first place went to Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko. Halau Hula O Kahikilaulani took second with a float of hula dancers. Third place went to Leo Nahenahe O Pohai Kealoha.
Retiring UH-Hilo chancellor Rose Tseng was the grand marshal. The public also had a chance to cheer the new Miss Aloha Hula, Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem, who won the title on Thursday during the first night of Merrie Monarch competition. Following her were a stream of politicians and civic clubs. The Hawaii State Division II basketball champion Pahoa Daggers also joined the march.