Island History for Friday, October 7, 2011

The greatest attraction of the Kamehameha Carnival held Nov. 6 to13, 1926, at the Lihu‘e ballpark (then located in the area now occupied by the former Lihu‘e Big Save, Pi‘ikoi building and the adjoining parking lot) was Delaney’s Old Kentucky Minstrels.  

Delaney’s was one of a number of African-American minstrel tent shows that toured with carnivals mostly in the American South during the teens and ‘20s.

Featuring 16 highly talented Black singers, dancers, comedians and musicians, Delaney’s minstrels presented several tent shows at the Kamehameha Carnival — the likes of which had not been seen before on Kaua‘i.  

Performing before Kaua‘i folks from all over the island, who filled their show tent to capacity, was the Wild Cat Jazz Band, a six-musician jazz ensemble playing trumpet, saxophone, trombone and drums; the “Kentucky Song Bird,” La Verne Porter; the stylish male dance team of Go Paul & Stewart; the “The Black Al Jolsen,” comedian Nat De Loach; and the male and female singing and dancing duo of Ruffin & Ruffin.

Another favorite of the thousands who attended the week-long Kamehameha Carnival was the R. E. Homer’s Circus, a pony show “with some of best-educated horses in the business.”

The Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and the whip were big hits, also.  

Concessions manned by members of the Kaumuali‘i Chapter of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, wearing yellow lodge hats, sold hot dogs, ice cream, lemonade and soda.      

Dr. L. L. Patterson of Hanalei drew the number to win a brand new Pontiac.

And on Saturday, the 13th, Miss Marie Keikilani Robinson of Waimea won the popularity contest and a free round trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Lorraine Fountain of Lihu‘e, Miss Victorino of Kapa‘a and Beatrice Ledesma of Koloa finished in second, third and fourth places, respectively.

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