Hui o Laka, the nonprofit that runs Koke‘e Natural History Museum, announced that Sharalyn Kahealani Bucasas will portray Queen Emma at the 30th annual Emalani Festival Kauai, Eo e Emalani i Alakai, on Oct. 13 on the lush expanse of Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow in Koke‘e State Park.
Bucasas was raised on Kauai and is a graduate of Waimea High School and University of Hawaii at Manoa. The Queen’s Court includes Lady-in-Waiting is Shannon Nohealani Bucasas; Kaluahi, the Queen’s guide, is Norman Ho‘okano; and Kumu Hololio is Kauhi Agoun. Kumu hula Roselle Keli‘ihonipua Bailey is mistress of ceremonies for the event.
A free annual day of history and hula, the Emalani Festival Kauai brings together residents and visitors to celebrate Hawaii’s beloved Queen Emma and recall her journey to the Koke‘e uplands and Kilohana vista in 1871.
Queen Emma made the journey up from her Lawai beach house with more than 100 companions, eager for an adventure with their queen. 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 monarch’s courage to undertake the trek in the January cold. She sat in the Alakai Swamp and chanted ancient mele to give them cheer to endure a soggy night.
Live music will fill the meadow beginning at 9 a.m. with KNUI Connection with Ukulele Na Haumana O Namolokama, followed by Nick Castillo &Friends.
“At 11 a.m., as Castillo sings ‘Wahine U‘i,’ the queen will ride into the meadow accompanied by her guide Kaluahi, the Hawaiian hunter and cowboy who guided the royal horseback party over rough, slippery terrain,” said Hui o Laka Executive Director Chris Faye. “The experience is breathtaking, and you won’t want to miss it.”
Eleven halau (hula groups) from across Hawaii will share gifts of chant and dance until 4 p.m. Kananaka, consisting of Ed Punua, Gabby Manintin and Wally Rita, will perform sublime Hawaiian music during intermission.
Exhibits, craft tables, a silent auction and a snack shop enhance the festival experience, which is best enjoyed with a low chair or mat.
The festival, co-sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hui o Laka, along with many community partners and businesses, has grown to be one of the most popular and authentic cultural events on Kauai.
Parking is limited so carpooling is recommended. Wear layered clothing for the cool uplands. This is a smoke-, alcohol- and pet-free event.
Info: Koke‘e Natural History Museum at 335-9975, ext. 2, www.emalanifestivalkauai.org or www.kokee.org.