15. Merrie Monarch Parade

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  15.  Merrie Monarch Parade

Every year, there was a parade through town for the week long Merrie Monarch celebration.  One of the biggest parades in Hawaii – the parade had “only in Hawaii” style floats.Hilo zoomobile Merrie Monarch Parade


riderPa’u riders were a big hit! Wahines, including the parade queen, wearing long colorful gowns, rode astride on horses bedecked with flowers and leis.

There were high school and military bands and color guards.

Al Yonan asked me if I played a musical instrument.  Well, yes, I played drum and trumpet in high school.  Al said, “You’re in!”  He had organized faculty and students for a band to march in the parade.  It was “The Leeward Kahoolawe Recreational Nonprofessional Military Band.”  (Kahoolawe is an uninhabited island offshore of Hawaii that was used for bombing practice during World War II)

It was a comedy band, and we were to have some semblance of a military uniform and be able to make noise with an instrument – actually, a few kids could play, there was a trombone and clarinet, and we marched to one of John Philip Sousa’s marches.   I borrowed a drum, and got some military ribbons to put on a Scout shirt, and my umbrella hat.  Al and I were the drum row.

A couple of the college kids had uniforms from relatives who fought for Japan in the war. We actually practiced once.  Al said that was enough, he didn’t want us to sound too good!

The band was a big hit in the parade!  I still marvel that I could walk that far with a drum bumping my leg – and NO CANE!

In addition to the parade, The Merrie Monarch celebration, honoring King Kalakaua, had a Hawaiian art fair, an international hula contest, and a ukulele playing contest at the Palace.

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