One of Kauai’s most talked about, authentic, and breathtaking celebrations is Eo e Emalani i Alakai Festival. It has become part of the many reasons why numerous tourists come to the island to take part and behold the unique festivities. Just like all other local celebrations, it is open to everyone, especially tourists who want to experience extraordinary merrymakings.
The festival is held every second Saturday of October. Visitors who want to see the celebrations should time the bookings of their Kauai getaway around that date. The annual outdoor festivities are held in the equally famous Koke’e State Park. Rain or shine, the scheduled yearly events would always push through on the date for everyone to see, take part in, and admire.
History of the Festival
It was in 1988 when Eo e Emalani i Alakai Festival was started. Since then, it became an annual celebration open to locals and visitors alike. The festival is a colorful commemoration of Hawaiian Queen Emma Naea Rooke’s journey in 1871 from her own beach house located in Lawa’i to Kilohana Viewpoint’s upper reaches. It was noted that the Queen wanted to personally see with her own eyes the beauty of the legendary area all the way to Wainiha.
During that historic journey, the Queen was with almost a hundred companions. The group was led by a guide, Kaluahi, who was then referred to by Eric Knudsen of Waimea. Each year since the start of the festival, a specific aspect of the inspiring legacy of the Queen is highlighted and made as focus of the celebrations. This is just appropriate as a tribute to a real humanitarian leader.
What to expect
Participants and audiences to Eo e Emalani i Alakai Festival are given the extraordinary privilege to reflect on the values of the Queen, who is recorded in Kauai history for taking the people by heart. People enjoy the visual and experiential treats that only the festival can bring about.
To be expected in Eo e Emalani i Alakai Festival are historical displays and exhibitions (which usually take place from 10 in the morning until 12 noon). There is a commemoration/re-enactment of the way the Queen entered the Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow on a horseback.
Hula hulau from different parts of Hawaii offer dance numbers. Hula groups from Japan and Europe also usually come to participate in the event. And of course live Hawaiian music should never be overlooked.
Queen Emma Royal Journey Reenactment
As mentioned, there is always a re-enactment of the royal journey. Queen Emma is aptly represented by an assigned halau (hula-dancing school) woman. The entourage re-enacts the Queen’s entrance to the meadows, where they are warmly greeted by local hula dancers, who for their part chant and do special dance moves.
Guests, whether local or visitors, are always asked to properly and politely observe the royal protocol. Everyone is asked to stand during the part of the depiction when the ‘Queen’ enters and leaves her royal tent. Other activities include photo exhibits, local craft demonstrations, and social gatherings.