The Big Island Celebrates King Kamehameha DayJune 11 is King Kamehameha Day, a state holiday observed since 1872. The Big Island honors its most revered son, King Kamehameha the Great, the weekend of June 10 -11 with festivities all around the island. Hawaii's greatest ruler was born in North Kohala in the mid 1700s and united all the Hawaiian Islands under his rule by 1810. His powerful legacy lives on and is celebrated at his many significant sites on the Big Island, free to the public:
- North Kohala, Kapa'au - The birthplace of Kamehameha honors the royal monarch on Saturday, June 10, by adorning his statue with long floral lei and a festive parade complete with pa'u (equestrian) riders, starting at 8:00 a.m. The celebration continues with a joyous ho'olaulea (Hawaiian celebration) at Kamehameha Park. On Sunday, celebrate the spirit of Kamehameha at the Old Courthouse behind his statue at 1:00 p.m.
- Kailua-Kona, Ahu'ena Heiau - After uniting the Hawaiian Islands, King Kamehameha proclaimed Ahu'ena Heiau in Kailua-Kona the capitol of the Hawaiian Kingdom. A parade along Ali'i Drive early Saturday morning ends at the heiau (temple), located on the oceanfront side of the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel. Hawaiian cultural exhibits and demonstrations follow at the hotel. Visit www.kulana.org or call (808) 327-0123 for more information.
- Hilo - Another regal statue of King Kamehameha the Great stands vigil over Hilo at Wailoa State Park. On Saturday, June 10 at 5:00 p.m., Kamehameha Schools alumni will perform the annual lei draping on the statue to honor the King. Music, Hawaiian chants and more will be part of the program. Covered seating provided.
- Volcano - On Sunday, June 11, the afternoon will be filled with "The Songs of the Big Island," a free concert by the Kamehameha School's Alumni Chorus, directed by Clarence Waipa. Located at the Volcano Art Center's Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village, 2:00 p.m. Go to www.volcanoartcenter.org or call (808) 967-8222 for more information.
Other June Activities on Hawaii's Big Island
On June 2, Japan Airlines celebrates its tenth anniversary of flying direct between Kona International Airport and Narita International Airport in Tokyo. The daily direct flight has had a tremendous impact on the Big Island visitor industry, carrying more than 700,000 passengers to the island over the past 10 years. In 2005, more than 244,000 travelers from Japan visited the Big Island, making up approximately 16 percent of the total number of visitors.
Bamboo Slack Key Concert in Volcano - The Volcano Arts Center presents the outstanding duo of shakuhachi flutist Riley Lee and slack key guitarist Jeff Peterson. The duo will combine the instruments of Japan and Hawaii in an acoustic sound uniquely their own at the Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Friday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors (65 and up) and children (12 and under). For more information, go to www.volcanoartcenter.org or call (808) 967-8222.
A sleek, white helicopter has landed at the Kona International Airport.
Paradise Helicopters has added a beautiful new Bell 407 aircraft to its air tour fleet. It features state-of-the-art electronic flight information systems, including synthetic vision, which allows the pilot to see the outside terrain in the event of inclement weather. The exceptional design of the Bell 407 ensures a smooth ride over the Big Island's most stunning scenery. For more information, call (808) 896-9605 or visit www.paradisecopters.com
The much-anticipated Tommy Bahama's Tropical Café at the Shops at Mauna Lani will open on June 12. The café seats 225 people, will serve lunch and dinner daily and features a full bar. Also opening adjacent to the restaurant is Tommy Bahama's Emporium, offering a selection of men's and women's resort-ready fashions.
Adventurers who visit the magnificent 315-acre Kealakekua Bay Marine Life Conservation District will appreciate four new, colorful interpretative signs along the Napo'opo'o shore. The signs highlight the marine resources of the bay and are designed to educate and promote visitor respect for the spinner dolphins, numerous corals and reef fish living in and around the bay. In addition, a sturdy new concrete viewing area allows admirers to observe the bay at the end of the paved county road.