The Prince Lot Hula Festival has made a triumphant return to a live, in-person format after a four-year hiatus. The event was held in July, and will make its way to our screens on Thursday, October 19th, from 7 to 9 pm on KHON2. The iconic cultural event owes much of its success to dedicated volunteers, and we learned about that with Arthur Aiu, who served as the Logistics Chair for this year’s festival.

Arthur’s journey with the Prince Lot Hula Festival began as a participant, dancing alongside his kumu hula Leimomi Ho and Keali’ika’apunihonua Ke’ena A’o Hula at Moanalua Gardens. His involvement grew when he became a member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha (ROOK), actively participating in the festival’s opening ceremony and awards recognition.

The pandemic brought unprecedented challenges, leading to a virtual adaptation of the festival. ROOK stepped up to provide crucial backstage support, from parking assistance to sanitization. 

Many volunteers came from the Royal Hawaiian Benevolent Societies, such as the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and Na Wahine o Kamehameha, supporting various aspects of the event. Hawaiian Airlines’ Team Kokua helped with setup, while Bank of Hawai’i’s Blue Crew assisted with programs and sales.

Volunteers played a pivotal role, contributing to every facet of the festival, from setting up banners in various locations to assisting vendors, crafters, food vendors, and performers. They ensured everyone had a memorable experience from start to finish.

Managing both the virtual and live festivals came with unique challenges. The virtual festival had to navigate pandemic-related restrictions, while the live event involved coordinating with the City and a tight timeline. Despite these challenges, the dedication of everyone involved, including Mayor Blandiardi and his Office of Culture and Arts, ensured the festival’s success.

The Prince Lot Hula Festival, now in its 46th year, owes its longevity to the tireless work of the Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF) and its staff. It’s imperative to keep hula and Hawaiian cultural traditions alive, preserving our heritage and fostering unity in our community.

MGF, with support from sponsors like 7-Eleven Hawai’i, the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations, and many others, ensures that this festival remains free for the community. This year, the festival promises a spectacular two-hour virtual experience on KHON2, showcasing the beauty of hula and Hawaiian culture.