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Merrie Monarch Festival
The mother of all Big Island festivals, the Merrie Monarch celebrates all things hula and completely overtakes Hilo for one fantastic weekend a year. The largest event of its kind in the world honors the legacy of King David Kalakaua, the man responsible for reviving fading Hawaiian traditions like the hula. The festival is staged at the spacious Edith Kanakaole Tennis Stadium during the first week following Easter Sunday. Hula halau (schools) compete in kahiko (ancient) and auana (modern) dance styles. You need to reserve accommodations and tickets up to a year in advance. www.merriemonarchfestival.org.