HOUSE HONORS MERRIE MONARCH FESTIVAL'S 50th Anniversary
Honolulu, Hawaii - Last week the House honored the Merrie Monarch Festival on the historic occasion of its 50th Anniversary. In the early 1960s the late Hawaii Island Representative Helene Hale, along with George Naope and Gene Wilhelm created the Merrie Monarch Festival as a way to attract tourists after a devastating tidal wave wiped out Hilo's tourism industry. In 1968, the late "Auntie Dottie" Thompson became the Executive Director and inspired by King David Kalakaua's example brought the best hula halaus throughout the islands to perform in Hilo.
Since then the festival has expanded beyond the shores of Hawaii and received worldwide recognition for its historical, cultural and entertainment significance.. The Merrie Monarch festival was a cornerstone of the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s and continues to be a catalyst to draw together those committed to the hula and the advancement of the Hawaiian culture.
"Auntie Dottie's" daughter, Luana Kawelu, current President of the Merrie Monarch Festival, was presented a resolution on the House floor in celebration of this momentous occasion.
The resolution was introduced and supported by Representatives Clift Tsuji, Cindy Evans, Mark Nakashima, Faye Hanohano, Nicole Lowen, and Richard Onishi.