The last reigning monarch of Hawaii was born Sept. 2, 1838. Her name at birth was Lili‘u Loloku Walania Kamaka‘eha. After her baptism, her name was Lydia Kamaka‘eha. Upon being named heir to the throne, “okalani” was added to her given name as an indication of her royal rank, resulting in the name we know now: Lili‘uokalani.
After restoration of Lili‘uokalani Gardens and the addition of ADA pathways in 1999, the gardens reopened in September 2000 with a celebration of the Queen Lili‘uokalani’s birthday. In recent years, Jacqueline “Honolulu Skylark” Rossetti helped codify the date of Hilo’s celebration as the first Saturday in September after the queen’s birthday.
The 20th annual He Hali‘a Aloha No Lili‘uokalani (A Cherished Memory of the Queen) is slated for 9:30 a.m. until pau Saturday, Sept. 7, at the gardens on Banyan Drive in Hilo.
The free, family-oriented festival will feature live entertainment including the Kalapana Awa Band with Ikaika Marzo, Randy Lorenzo and Friends, Taishoji Taiko, Darlene Ahuna, Waiakea Elementary School Ukulele Band and Braddah Waltah Aipolani.
Mass hula with an orchid drop will take place at 1 p.m.
Children’s events throughout the day will include activities with the Lili‘uokalani Trust, a bouncing castle and water slide in the meadow, a scavenger hunt with a “medal” presented to each completed entry, and a costume photo opportunity with Japan Airlines. Dress up as a pilot or stewardess.
Additional special activities during the festival will include tours of the Shipman Power Plant by staff from Hawaii Electric Light Co. from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., a telling of the history of the banyan trees with author Jane Hoff and a special presentation about the Hawaiian monarchy.