#1 Merrie Monarch Festival Hotel - Host Hotel For Events
Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo - a DoubleTree by Hilton

When you book here: Get our best rate guaranteed. Customize your stay. Get Hilton reward points.


Jan. 2023



Jan. 2023





The Merrie Monarch Festival is a non-profit organization that honors the legacy of King David Kalākaua, who inspired the perpetuation of our traditions, native language, and arts. This week-long festival features an internationally acclaimed hula competition, invitational Hawaiian art fair, hula shows, and a grand parade through Hilo town.

The first annual Merrie Monarch Festival was held in 1964 as a means of boosting tourism, and thereby the economy. The festival soon evolved into a celebration of Hawaiian culture, honoring King Kalākaua for his role in fortifying the Hawaiian people. This refocused festival was expanded to a week-long, with additional components such as Wednesday night hōʻike (exhibition), an invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair, and a parade through downtown Hilo. Local and international hula groups and artists also perform throughout the week and showcase their unique Hawaiian works.

The festival begins each year on Easter Sunday, going until the next Saturday. The first days are free, with the majority of events highlighting the range of artistic talent in Hawaii. The pinnacle of the week are the 3 consecutive competitions, Miss Aloha Hula, Group Hula Kahiko, and Group Hula Auana, taking place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, respectively.  The Festival concludes with the Award Ceremony, where the winners of both Group Hula Kahiko and Group Hula Auana are named.

The Grand Naniloa Resort is the premier location to be during the festivities. Tuesday night, the resort hosts a pool-side Fashion Showcase featuring local Hawaiian designers and a live DJ. This past year, 18 designers participated and offered exclusive pop up shops before and after the show for VIP ticket holders. The Grand Naniloa Resort also hosts a hotel-wide marketplace Wednesday-Saturday. This marketplace includes daily hula on the Grand Lawn, food purveyors, and vendors, including Ari South and Kini Zamora. Book your Grand Naniloa Resort stay today to get exclusive access to the Merrie Monarch Festival!