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The second weekend of June is filled with celebrations and parades in Hawaii as the King Kamehameha holiday and the Pan-Pacific Festival coincide. It always means days of music, hula and flowers. This year, it also means parades or block parties on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the downtown/Waikiki areas of Oahu.
King Kamehameha Day is the 11th day of June. State offices close to observe the holiday on Friday this year and Monday next year, as June 11 falls on the weekend. The draping of the King Kamehameha statue with lei is on Friday afternoon at 3:30 pm on Oahu. There is also a lei-draping ceremony Friday in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. However, the King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade is on Saturday, June 11 from 9:30 – 2:00. On Oahu, six thousand marchers are expected, along with 50 vehicles, 10 floats and 8 bands. It begins at King & Richards streets and ends at Kapiolani Park, where a celebration is held from 10-3 pm. Parades are also held on the Big Island in Kohala and Kailua Kona on June 11. Parades on Maui and Kauai are on June 18.
The annual Pan-Pacific Festival generally is held on the second weekend of June. It opens Friday evening with a Hoolaulea, or festival, that blocks traffic along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki so people can party in the street. Along with food booths and crafts vendors, multiple entertainment stages are set up to feature performances from Korea, Japan, Hawaii and other Pacific nations. Cultural performances are also held from Friday through Sunday at stages in the Royal Hawaiian and Ala Moana shopping centers.
The Pan-Pacific Hula Festival is Friday and Saturday on the hula mound near the Duke Kahanamoku statue on Waikiki beach. Hula groups from Hawaii will be joined by many from Japan, where hula is popular. Event organizers say there are 200,000 hula practitioners in Japan. Many practice all year to prepare for performances in Hawaii, the home of hula.
The festive weekend concludes with the Pan-Pacific Festival parade Sunday from 5-7 pm. It begins at Fort DeRussy and ends at Kapiolani Park – from one end of Waikiki to the other.
If you are anywhere near Waikiki this weekend, it will be hard to miss the celebrations. If you are planning to visit Hawaii in the future, keep in mind that this weekend offers unmatched opportunities to see free intercultural celebrations near Waikiki hotels. If you dislike happy crowds, it might be a good weekend to explore a beach on the windward or KoOlina sides of Oahu.