All the culture and spirit of Aloha will be on display at the 73rd Annual Aloha Festivals Floral Parade. The Aloha Festivals are a month’s worth of community-supported festival events featuring Hawai’ian culture and history. The Floral Parade is the climax of this series of events where the natural beauty and cultural beauty come together.
Waikiki hosts the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade which takes place from 9:00 am until noon on Saturday, September 28. The parade runs from Ala Moana Park through Kalākaua Avenue to Kapi‘olani Park. Wake up, have breakfast at your hotel, and take a parade shuttle over to the route.
The parade features numerous floats, intricately decorated with thousands of Hawai’i’s fresh flowers. The parade includes all-American classics like marching bands and civic leaders, but the finest parts are those that show island culture. Pau riders show off traditional equestrian methods of women dressed in long, colorful dresses and riding side-saddle. Hula showcases island music and dance from the many different halau (schools) of hula. Dancers of all sorts parade in wild costumes highlighting the many heritages of Hawai’i, keiki (children) blow conch shells, and the royal court performs its final appearance of the festival. Almost everyone and everything will be covered in the flowers that give the parade its name.
This year’s festival theme is “Nā Mo‘olelo ʻUkulele: ‘Ukulele Stories”. Hawai’ians adapted an instrument brought in by Portuguese sailors and named it “jumping flea” or “ukulele” because that is what the player’s hopping fingers looked like. Since then, the instrument has grown to symbolize the culture of the islands. The happy, jumping ukulele will make its mark all over the parade.
The important tradition of the Aloha Festivals started in 1946 and celebrated the end of World War II and bringing the people back together. Then, it was called Aloha Week. Once there were Aloha Festivals all over the islands, but the main one in Honolulu is the only one left. The parade celebrates the many different cultures that constitute Hawai’i today. Other festival events this year include a block party, a ukulele jam session, the royal court investiture, and plenty of music and dancing.
Today, one of the best ways to get there is by private car service, individually or with a parade shuttle. The drivers will know where and when to get you to the best viewing locations and parking near the parade route is notoriously bad. Pack a foldable chair if you want to sit because the parade is long. Sunscreen, water, and maybe a hat or umbrella will help you enjoy the entire length of the parade. The colors, sights, and sounds of the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade are unforgettable, but you might want to bring your camera, just in case.
Festival transportation is available with SpeediShuttle and Arthur’s Limousine.