Emalani Festival set for Saturday

KOKE‘E — On Saturday, Hui o Laka-Koke‘e Natural History will present its 23rd annual Eo e Emalani I Alaka‘i Festival at Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow in Koke‘e State Park, a news release states.

Each year, the Emalani Festival brings Kaua‘i residents and visitors together to commemorate and celebrate Hawaii‘s beloved Queen Emma and her journey to the Koke‘e uplands and Kilohana Lookout in 1871.

A plucky woman, with many facets to her personality, considerable skills and talents and a great leader of her people, Emma made her journey with over 100 people who leapt at the chance for an adventure with their queen, the release states. Along the way, she called for her court chanter to offer oli, great poems of appreciation for the magnificence of the region’s landscape and for its precious birds, trees and plants. Other chants praised the queen’s courage to undertake the trek in the cold month of January where the rain and damp caused her companions to waver. She even sat in the Alaka‘i Swamp and chanted ancient mele to give them cheer to get through the soggy night.

The festival brings together kumu hula and their haumana, teachers of hula and their students, together with scholars, Hawaiian craft people, Hawaiian musicians, exhibits and other activities that evoke that time, the release states. When the queen makes her entrance on to the meadow, there is always excitement as she comes on horseback, bedecked with lei accompanied by the man who will portray Kaluahi, the Hawaiian hunter and cowboy that guided Queen Emma’s party over rough and slippery terrain.

Live Hawaiian music begins at 10 a.m., beginning with David Kaua‘i and Friends with Ukulele Na Haumana O Namolokama, followed by Nick Catillo and Friends. Queen Emma arrives at noon and halau from across the state as well as Japan will give their gifts of chant and dance for the rest of the afternoon. Papakolea performs at 2 p.m.

The public is invited to the cool uplands of Koke‘e for the 23rd Annual Emalani Festival, festivities begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. There is limited parking so carpooling is recommended. Bring a mat or low chair and layered clothing. Please no pets. For more information, call the Koke‘e Natural History Museum at 335-9975 ext. 0.

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