BY NANCY DANIELS — This year, the 67th annual Aloha Festivals celebration paid tribute to traditional Hawaiian ocean voyaging in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. In celebration of this year’s theme, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts conducted a series of cultural events and activities throughout September in Waikīkī, including a presentation on canoe restoration, keiki storytelling, appearances by the Aloha Festivals Royal Court, a viewing stand for the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade and much more. On O‘ahu, activities took place at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, Outrigger Reef on the Beach, Holiday Inn® Waikiki Beachcomber Resort and at Waikiki Beach Walk®.
Outrigger was particularly honored this year to have Waikiki Beach Walk® serve as the official Waikīkī headquarters for the Aloha Festivals Royal Court, a traditional Ali‘i Court that pays tribute to the Hawaiian culture and past monarchy. Throughout the month-long celebration, the ‘Ohana Island Style retail store on the second floor of Waikiki Beach Walk® served as the court’s official headquarters, providing members a place to gather and prepare for their many appearances in Waikīkī. Thank you to Embassy Suites® - Waikiki Beach Walk® for hosting a breakfast for the Royal Court while they were in Waikīkī and to Outrigger Reef who hosted the Royal Court to lunch at the Shore Bird restaurant.
On Sept. 27, Outrigger had the privilege of welcoming the Royal Court to the Outrigger Waikiki, Outrigger Reef and Waikiki Beach Walk® locations where, ho‘okupu, or offerings were presented to the court under the guidance of Kumu Hula and cultural practitioner Blaine Kia. The events were open to the public so our guests and visitors could be a part of these special ceremonies.
At Waikiki Beach Walk®, representatives from various Outrigger entities participated in the cultural presentation. Mahalo to Alan White, Barbara Campbell, Brent Kitsu, Carol Lopes, Darnell Zablan, Dr. Chuck Kelley, Kathy Hansberry, Lamond Malone, Luana Maitland, Napua Ho, Pam Yagi, Robert McConnell, Simeon Miranda, Stephanie Nojima and William Bethel.
The Aloha Festivals Floral Parade is always a popular event for residents and visitors who line the streets from Ala Moana Park through Waikīkī to Kapi‘olani Park. This year Outrigger hosted a viewing stand in front of the Outrigger Waikiki with invitations extended to VIP guests, senior members of the military and media representatives. Our emcees were Billy V of Hawaiian 105 KINE and Senator Brickwood Galuteria who provided wonderful commentary throughout the parade. Thank you to Robert McConnell and his team at Outrigger Waikiki for working so hard to make the Outrigger viewing stand such a success.
As a local company with deep roots in Hawai‘i, we are always looking for ways to share our island culture with visitors and kama‘aina. The Aloha Festivals provides us with a rich and colorful opportunity to do just that by highlighting the unique traditions that make Hawai‘i a special place to live and visit.
Excerpt from “A Letter of Mahalo” from Blaine Kia, Aloha Festivals BOD – Royal Court
Aloha Mai Kakou!
On behalf of the Aloha Festivals Royal Court, I am overwhelmed with immense appreciation and gratitude for each and every one of you for your participation and generosity in Friday’s Outrigger Day of Aloha Festivals that began at the Outrigger Waikiki On The Beach, Outrigger Reef On The Beach, and the finale at the Waikiki Beach Walk Plaza.
It’s very difficult for me to put in to proper words what I had experienced. The feeling, pride, and emotions were overwhelming for the “host” culture and to see the honor and respect shown and given to the Festivals Court. I grew up in this court as a member, which began thirty years ago! And I have been on the board of directors for the last twelve years! And I can tell you, that there is no greater feeling th[a]n the spirit of aloha, and how it moves people to perform random acts of “kindness.” All of you were willing to come together in a common bond of “goodwill” among executives, direct[ors], and staff members to promote and to perpetuate our sense of pride, family, and community.
Please know that our celebrations exemplified on this entire day, was the best day for the Aloha Festivals Royal Court. Why? Because it was done in the way it should always be done…by showing and exhibiting our “aloha” for Hawai‘i in one of the largest celebrations in the State. … It’s always good, right and “pono” to give back to that which gives us purpose! I can proudly say, we “talk the walk.”
Again, my aloha to you all,