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Upcoming Pop Ups - Save the date | Kona Loft @ Kailua-Kona July 13 • 11a - 3p | Mom Made Market @ Kahala Mall July 20
Upcoming Pop Ups - Save the date | Kona Loft @ Kailua-Kona July 13 • 11a - 3p | Mom Made Market @ Kahala Mall July 20


Kakou Collective Puakenikeni Pikake Pakalana Lei Aloha

Aloha Kākou Collective ‘Ohana!

We are SO excited because the Merrie Monarch Festival is just around the corner, and we are happy to announce that we will be at not one but TWO pop-up markets this year! This is such a cool event, and it’s such an honor to participate in the festivities.

What is Merrie Monarch? Well for those of you that don’t know, the Merrie Monarch Festival is a week-long event held in Hilo on the Big Island. It celebrates all things Hawaiian culture, but centers around a hula competition in honor of Hawaii’s “Merrie Monarch,” King David La‘amea Kalākaua.

During his reign, King Kalākaua pushed for the revitalization and perpetuation of Hawaiian culture. The Merrie Monarch Festival events were modeled after Kalākaua’s own “Silver Jubilee,” (a celebration of Hawaiian culture that was held on his fiftieth birthday). In 1963, the festival was created to boost the economy after the 1960 tsunami devastated Hilo Bay. The first few festivals didn’t even have a hula competition! Events included things like a King Kalākaua beard look-alike contest, a relay race, and a re-creation of the coronation of King Kalākaua.

In 1971, a hula competition was introduced and nine halau (hula groups) entered the wahine (women) group competition. In 1976, the hula competition opened up to kāne (men), and popularity for Merrie Monarch skyrocketed! Even after relocating to a larger venue, there weren’t enough seats for spectators, so the competition became televised for all to enjoy.

Nowadays, the hula competition still takes center stage, but other events have gained popularity such as the Wednesday night Hōʻike (exhibition), invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair, and a parade through downtown Hilo. Thanks to the Merrie Monarch Festival, hula and Hawaiian arts have become globally recognized and King Kalākaua’s legacy of perpetuating Hawaiian culture lives on!

One of the best ways people celebrate this festival is by cruising the awesome pop-up mākeke (markets) in Hilo and finding cool locally-crafted mea. We’ve included a list below of the markets that are on our radar so you can plan out your shopping! This year, we are excited to be at the Kākoʻo Hawaiʻi market from April 4 – 6, (located at Sangha Hall). Please stop by and say ‘aloha!’ to us at one of these events! We love seeing you all in person!

Also, just because Merrie Monarch is super special, we are going to be debuting our new aloha-wear apparel, starting with a collection for our Kāne! This is SO huge for us, and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on! 

And don’t worry – if you can’t make it to Hilo this year to shop in person, you’ll still have access to our online drop. Supplies will be limited so mark your calendars for this date!

Other Merrie Monarch Festival Pop-Ups:

Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair

When:  9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 3rd  through Friday, April 5th and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 6th    
Where: Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium (323 Manono Street, Hilo, HI 96720)

Click to be directed to Website for more info


Prince Kuhio Plaza for 2024 Merrie Monarch Craft Fair

 When: 10:00 am to 6:00 p.m., Thursday, April 4th through Saturday, April 6th

Where: Prince Kuhio Plaza (111 East Puainako StreetHilo, HI 96720)

Click to be directed to Website for more info


30th Annual Hawaii Arts, Crafts, & Food Festival

When: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Thursday April 13th through Saturday, April 15th
Where: Nani Mau Gardens (421 Makalika St., Hilo, HI  96720)

Click to be directed to Website for more info


That’s all for now! We CAN’T WAIT to see you all at our favorite hula event of the year!

A hui hou! (Until next time)


Mahalo for the resources used for this article:
  1. “About King Kalākaua | Merrie Monarch.” THE LEGACY OF KING DAVID LAʻAMEA KALĀKAUA, Merrie Monarch Festival, 
  2. “History of the Festival | Merrie Monarch.” HOW THE MERRIE MONARCH FESTIVAL BEGAN, Merrie Monarch Festival,
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