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This weekend, thousands of Hawaii football fans will smear on some face paint, tackle their closets for that favorite team jersey and jump right into the sea of Pro Bowl craze. And as they stand up to catch that massive rolling wave of fans or stomp along with the chants, the stadium beneath their feet moves with just as much excitement and energy. The UH Warriors defended their home turf against the University of Colorado Boulder last season.
And as the popular sports chant goes, “We will, we will, ROCK YOU!” The Aloha Stadium has been rocked, all right. Since 1975, Hawaii’s largest outdoor arena has hosted a multitude of events including soccer matches, car shows, concerts, fairs and the popular Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace. It replaced the aging Honolulu Stadium on King Street in Honolulu, which was later demolished. Up to 50,000 people can be seated in the Halawa stadium, which is also home to the University of Hawaii Warriors football team and hosts the Hawaii Bowl, the Hula Bowl (1975-1997 and 2006) and the Pro Bowl (1980-2009 and 2011-2012). Aloha Stadium even had its share of Hollywood fame, appearing on Magnum, P.I., Lost and the original Hawaii Five-0.
It’s amazing how versatile a facility can be. I remember going to a football game one week, then the Michael Jackson concert the week after. I didn’t even recognize the place, with all the colorful flashing lights and rows of seats on the field. In fact, the field had no resemblance to anything sports whatsoever, and instead of being oval shaped for football games, the stadium was triangular.
As the first stadium in the U.S. with this feature, Aloha Stadium could once be reconfigured into various formations depending on the different functions. The four moveable sections were changed into a diamond shape for soccer and baseball, an oval for football or a triangle for concerts. But in 2007, the stadium was permanently locked into the football configuration because of high cost and maintenance issues.In addition to sporting events, the stadium is home to the 50th State Fair, which attracts thousands every year to its carnival rides and games.
Inevitably, after 37 years, the Hawaii stadium has no doubt shown its age. Rust, broken seats that need to be replaced and restrooms that need to be expanded have become serious concerns for the stadium. A study estimated that it would cost the state more than $200 million to restore and maintain the facility. Recently, state legislature proposed to build a new facility as a more cost-effective alternative to restoring the current one, which would only last another 20 to 30 years.
Until then, we can always count on our dedicated Hawaii sports fans and concert-goers to rally amongst each other in the Aloha Spirit, at our beloved Aloha Stadium…rain or shine!
Photo Credit: Noa Myers (first photo); Ariel Navares (second photo)
ALOHA STADIUM • 99-500 Salt Lake Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96818 • 808-483-2500 • www.alohastadium.hawaii.gov