With safety guidelines and television coverage plans now in place, the Merrie Monarch Festival has announced that the decades-old competition will be held in 2021, on June 24, 25, and 26 at Hilo's Edith Kanaka'ole Stadium. KFVE-TV will broadcast all three days of the Merrie Monarch Festival the following week on July 1, 2, and 3.
This marks the return of the Festival after a forced cancellation one year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth said in a statement that he had "received, read, and approved the comprehensive and robust outline of the extensive [safety] protocols and actions." The protocols were developed in conjunction with many health professionals and a team of advisors to the Festival.
According to a press release from organizers, all halau participants, festival staff, as well as television production crew members have agreed to follow the guidelines which include multiple COVID tests, a 5-day isolation period prior to entering the competition venue for the first time, and daily screens to monitor participants. There will be no live audience for this year's competition due to continuing COVID-19 protocols preventing gatherings for large events.
There are a total of 15 halau participating in this year's Merrie Monarch Festival. The halau will present 11 Wahine and 8 Kane performances in both the Kahiko and 'Auana categories, as well as 7 Miss Aloha Hula entrants.
For the most up to date information on the Festival, please visit merriemonarch.com.