Aloha Festivals to share cultural traditions, special Nā Mele ‘Ukulele throughout September on KHON2

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Aloha Festivals has cancelled the main events for 2020 due the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. The annual event seeks to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and the diversity of these islands through music, dance and the famed floral parade. While Aloha Festivals is a community supported event made possible through private donations, community sponsors and merchandise sales, the festivals also relied on appropriated funds from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority which will not be available for 2020 due to the decline in Transient Accommodations Tax.

“Despite the circumstances we find ourselves in due to the pandemic, we are excited to
preserve the festivals’ mission of celebrating the aloha spirit through the culture and traditions
of Hawai‘i in a new format,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, co-chair of Aloha Festivals and
director – community & cultural relations for Hawaiian Airlines.

This year, instead of the usual festivities, the festival has partnered with KHON2 to produce and air special programming celebrating the legacy of Aloha Festivals including its cultural traditions and performances from local artists. KHON2 will include the Aloha Festivals theme in its original programming, including “Modern Wahine Hawaii,” “Sam Choy in the Kitchen,” and “Aloha Authentic” throughout the month of September, which will culminate in the half-hour special “Aloha Festivals: Nā Mele ‘Ukulele” that will air on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 9:30 p.m. on KHON2, online at and on KHON2’s YouTube channel. The special will be rebroadcast on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. on KHII.

“Our hope is that this program will bring the spirit of the festival into the home through song and an exploration of the unique traditions of the festival that generations of kama‘āina have celebrated for the last 74 years.”

Debbie Nakanelua-Richards

Aloha Festivals’ 2020 theme is “Nā Mele ʻUkulele – E Hoʻokani Pila Pū Kākou.” Translating to
“Songs of the ‘Ukulele – Let’s Make Music Together,” the theme celebrates the ‘ukulele as
Hawai‘i’s musical ambassador.

The ‘ukulele has shaped traditional Hawaiian music, especially in being used as an accompaniment to hula. Yet, the ‘ukulele also has universal appeal. In the 1920s, it gained worldwide popularity on the silver screen, and its compact size and simple tuning make it an easy instrument for the novice musician to begin his or her melodic journey. Today, the basic quarter note strum associated with traditional ‘ukulele playing has been reinvented into elaborate picking and fast-paced rhythms; creating a new cohort of ʻukulele virtuosos.

“Aloha Festivals: Nā Mele ʻUkulele” will showcase the astonishing musical range of the ‘ukulele with performances from some of Hawai‘i’s best musical artists. Aloha Festivals’ annual, month-long celebration is typically held from late August through September with its three signature events: Royal Court Investiture & Opening Ceremony, Annual Waikīkī Ho‘olaule‘a, and the Annual Floral Parade.

For more information about Aloha Festivals, visit and follow them on social media:, Twitter – @AlohaFstvls and Instagram @alohafestivals.

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