MMF Wrap-up

Its finally over and I’m totally exhausted! The Merrie Monarch Festival was such a fabulous first-time experience for me & my family … I don’t even know where to begin! First of all, Sarah’s halau, I Ka Wekiu, ended up winning the top honors – they won 1st Place in both the men’s hula kahiko and ‘auana, and placed 2nd in the women’s hula ‘auana (their best finish yet!), which then resulted in a 1st Place finish for the over-all men’s and a 3rd Place finish for the over-all women’s categories, which finally resulted with them winning the top honor as the best halau! Whew! A HUGE congratulations to kumu Karl Vito Baker, kumu Michael Casupang and the men & women of Halau I Ka Wekiu on their awesome accomplishment! But the festival’s crowning jewel for me was watching Sarah compete for Miss Aloha Hula on Thursday night … a truly magical moment made even more special because Alex sang for her! And Sarah’s 4th place award was like icing on the cake – can you imagine what an honor it is to be selected as one of the top hula dancers in this, “the Super Bowl” of all hula festivals? Feelings of overwhelming joy and pride continue to wash over me even as I speak …

Food. Oh, yeah … we checked out the craft fairs on Friday and ended up buying mostly food stuff like furikake potato chips, homemade hot sauce, coconut curry- flavored Mac nuts, assorted mochi, etc. … and I also ate some great malasadas (fried donuts) that tasted just like ones from the Punahou carnival, if not better! They were soooo delicious! Last night we had dinner at Miyo’s, a local Japanese restaurant. We brought our own beer and wine and the food was pretty good (hard to go wrong with chicken katsu curry!), but the best part were the customers and the “entertainment”. There was an interesting mix of Hilo locals and out-of-towners including a gentleman with a piece of wood inserted through his nose like a cannibal! The entertainment was a solo guitarist in the corner playing what sounded like show tunes and oldies too soft for anyone to hear. Interesting ….

We’re off to Fukuoka this morning on Hawaiian Airlines’ inaugural flight to join in the celebration. It’ll be a short trip so I’m hoping the dreaded jet lag monster will leave me alone this time!
Next blog will be from Japan … stay tuned!