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City & County of Honolulu Department of Parks & Recreation

2019 Annual Lei Day Celebration

The tradition of aloha continues at 92nd Annual Lei Day Celebration

Free event scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on May 1 at Kapi‘olani Park

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Department of Parks and Recreation welcome everyone to celebrate one of the most recognized displays of aloha during the 92nd Annual Lei Day Celebration! The tradition honoring Hawai‘i's people and their rich heritage will be held on Wednesday, May 1, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Kapi‘olani Park near the Bandstand and Waikīkī Shell.

Background Information:

The first Lei Day was in 1927 (the Academy Awards began in 1929) and celebrated in downtown Honolulu with a few people wearing lei. From that it grew and more and more people began to wear lei on May 1. We are told that the first celebration and exhibit of lei was at the Bank of Hawai‘i. In 1928, the first lei queen was Nina Bowman. Mayor Charles Arnold crowned Lei Queen Nina Bowman here in Honolulu.

The annual Lei Day Celebration provides a venue, where one day of the year is set aside to celebrate the lei and the skill and artistry of Hawai‘i's lei makers. This event honors Hawai‘i's people and their rich heritage.

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This year's Lei Day theme is Lei Kahakai, the seashore lei. This free event not only celebrates the skill and artistry of Hawai‘i's lei makers, but also features fantastic local entertainment and performances from hula hālau. The schedule for the day is as follows:

9 a.m .- 9:45 a.m.

Royal Hawaiian Band

10 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Nā Wahine O Ka Hula Mai Ka Pu‘uwai

11 a.m .- 12:30 p.m.

Investiture Ceremony for the 2019 Lei Queen & Court

12:30 p.m.

Official Opening of the Lei Contest Exhibit by the 2019 Lei Queen & Court (open to the public at 1 p.m.)

12:45 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Melveen Leed

1:45 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Del Beazely

2:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Kamakakehau Fernandez and Keaolani Pau

3:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Ku‘uipo Kumukahi

4:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Hālau Hula ‘O Hōkūlani

Schedule information is subject to change. For a printable copy of the program, please click here.

2019 Lei Queen Nicole Nakamatsu and her court, First Princess Brittanie-Kristina Corpus and Princess Naiya Kuwaye-Naehu, will reign over this year's festivities. This includes the Investiture Ceremony, the Lei Contest Exhibit, and numerous other cultural experiences.

One of those experiences is the coveted Lei Contest Exhibit, showcasing some of the world's most exquisite handcrafted lei in a variety of materials, colors, and styles. Those wishing to enter fresh flower lei for the contest must submit them between 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Lei Receiving Booth on the day of the celebration. The public will have an opportunity to experience the exhibit from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., following the judging of the lei and the official opening of the exhibit by the Lei Court. For more information about the contest and the entire celebration please visit

In addition, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association will perform throughout the day, and Hawaiian artisans will share their talents and skills with exhibits and demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Kūlana Lei village. While at the village, have your mo‘opuna (grandchildren) visit Tūtūwahine (grandmother) at Tūtū's Hale to hear stories, play Hawaiian games, and learn songs, hula, lei making, and lauhala weaving. Vendors offering crafts, lei, and food will be available to the public throughout the celebration.

The closing ceremony for the annual Lei Day Celebration is held on the morning of May 2 at Mauna ‘Ala (The Royal Mausoleum) at 9 a.m., and at Kawaiāha‘o Church at approximately 10:15 a.m. During these events, lei from the Lei Contest Exhibit are placed on the graves of Hawai‘i's ali‘i (royalty). The public is also invited to attend these events.

We encourage everyone to share this event information with your family and friends, and on social media. Use the hashtag #leidaycelebration and like our Lei Day Celebration Facebook page ( to share your favorite memories.

Mahalo to the sponsors of this year's celebration, including the following: the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Hula Grill Waikīkī, Handcrafters and Artisans Alliance, Friends of Honolulu Parks and Recreation, and partners KFVE, Summit Media, Hawaiian Music Live, and Salon 808.

The first Lei Day was celebrated in 1927 in downtown Honolulu with a few people wearing lei. Miss Nina Bowman was crowned the first lei queen in 1928.



Department of Parks and Recreation LeiDay Main Page


Lei Making Workshop Information

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