Aloha Festivals Floral Parade 2009 - Pt 1
If you participated in this year's 2009 Aloha Festivals Floral Parade through Waikiki or if you missed this spectacular iconic cultural display on Saturday it was captured by Pacific Network.tv and will be made available via this blog, longer excerpts on PacificNetwork.tv, and on DVD provided by the Aloha Festivals organization.
If you've seen past parades you know that this magnificent display of floral mastery is spectacular. And you'll recall it was broadcast each year during half time at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. It was a live postcard from Hawaii to the world that convinced thousands of undecided travelers to come to Waikiki. Well, like everything else in the last decade, what used to be, has changed. The networks no longer broadcast this event but PacificNetwork.tv has taken on the honor and will stream the 2009 event to the world. Stay with us.
According to festival organizers (volunteers), merchants and corporate belts have tightened even more and one of the country's few remaining floral parades featuring Hawaiian style riders on horseback is struggling to stay alive. Please support ALOHA FESTIVALS 2010.
Nearly every kid who grew up in Honolulu has attached some childhood memory to this parade. While watching the beautiful women in their silk pa'u, maile, and ilima go prancing by on horses with manes braided and bridles decked with entwined fir, ti leaves, and baby roses I could not imagine Waikiki without this Aloha Festivals event. To think they nearly cancelled this year's parade because they did not have enough community support, shame on us, we should all make contributions to next year's parade. Aloha Festivals 808. 391-8714 or alohafestivals.com
For folks who have never visited Waikiki during Aloha Festivals it is an island-wide string of events. This is the parade down Kalakaua Avenue and it is the most colorful equestrian procession of pa'u riders and "extravagant floats with cascades of Hawaiian flowers, hula halau and marching bands" that sweeps through the heart of Waikiki. It is a “must see” experience and this year because of budget cuts many of the flowers and greens were donated by growers and families. The floral parade was supported by countless individuals and a handful of participating corporate sponsors including Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and others whose banners we were sure to catch on camera because their dollars were much appreciated by all. The 2009 theme was an homage to the Art of Hula and a special tribute to Kumu Hula, Maiki Aiu, one of hula's finest master teachers and performers.
We came on board very late in planning just a few days before the parade! so we jumped in and began documentation of one of Hawaii's oldest celebrations representing hundreds of hours of work by volunteers whose credits remain anonymous. We began filming on the traditional Friday night before the parade as an all-volunteer crew started to construct and dress floats, then back at 5am on Saturday morning of the event when the horses were gathered and adorned with beautiful hand woven floral wreaths, and the pa'u riders were costumed and mounted and the massive floats made their way to the mouth of Waikiki, 5 hours later, to begin their glorious ride down the boulevard to Waikiki.
This event was originally created in 1946 to mimic the Makahiki celebration (Hawaiian New Year) honoring the Hawaiian god Lono. Today Aloha Festivals celebrates the Makahiki season with events on six islands. So stay tuned for more video of the 2009 Aloha Festivals Floral Parade in Waikiki. Mahalo to the Hawaiian Civic Clubs whose participation is the backbone of this parade and to the Mayor and the City & County of Honolulu, to Toni Lee (parade organizer extraordinaire), Blaine Kia, Murray Towill, Communications Pacific and Nichole Laberge, Rick Egged, P.Tomonari, Waikiki Business Plaza (for your bird's eye view), and the many big rig trucking companies and their drivers, and to the individuals and families who worked so hard to make this parade a beautiful experience. Everyone please kokua to support the festival's fine efforts to keep Aloha in Waikiki for 2010!
The responsibility of shaping and sustaining Hawaii tourism doesn't fall exclusively on executives in the travel industry. If we all volunteered a few hours to help next year with this parade through Waikiki (you'll love it, you'll see. There'll be plenty of hot cocoa!) this is what Aloha is all about and if this is what we're promising our visitors we ought to generate more of it ourselves. Particularly in Waikiki.
This clip features the talented Melveen Leed, this year's Pa'u Queen, her riders; State Senator Brickwood Galuteria and radio personality Kimo Kahoano (who collaborate on a great radio program, “Nā ‘Ōiwi ‘Ōlino" - People Seeking Wisdom, on KKNE AM940).
This is one of many vignettes we'll be broadcasting over the next few weeks. For the entire video vignette please visit http://ARTS.pacificnetwork.tv/HotPicks/ and http://arts.pacificnetwork.tv/LifeIsGood/