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  • 91st Annual Lei Day Celebration @ Queen Kapiolani Regional Park Bandstand - Waikiki - 2018

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City & County of Honolulu Department of Parks & Recreation

2018 Annual Lei Day Celebration


When: Monday, May 1, 2018, 9:00 a.m., to 5:30 p.m.

Where: Kapi‘olani Park

2806 Monsarrat Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815

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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City & County of Honolulu Department of Parks & Recreation

91st Annual Lei Day Celebration Tuesday -- May 1, 2018

Kapi‘olani Park 9:00 a.m. -- 5:30 p.m.

Join Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Department of Parks and Recreation as we celebrate one of the most recognized and beloved symbols of aloha during the 91st Annual Lei Day Celebration! The time-honored tradition will be held on Tuesday, May 1, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. around the bandstand at Kapi‘olani Park near the Waikīkī Shell.

This year's Lei Day theme is Lei ‘Alohi Kea, the brilliant white lei, the platinum of kūpuna. 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 2018 Lei Queen & Court

12:30 p.m. Official Opening of the Lei Contest Exhibit by the 2018 Lei Queen & Court

12:45 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Kamakakehau Fernandez and Keaolani Pau

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

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

3:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Bobby Moderow, Jr.

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.

2018 Lei Queen Leimomi Irvine and her court, First Princess Helen Kuoha-Torco and Princess Sharon Au-Curtis, will reign over this year's festivities. This includes the Investiture Ceremony 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 leis 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, which had 216 lei entered last year, and the entire celebration please visit

In addition, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association will conduct performances throughout the day. 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 the 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 at Mauna ‘Ala (The Royal Mausoleum) and Kawaiāha‘o Church on the morning of May 2. During that time, the lei from the Lei Contest Exhibit are placed on the graves of Hawai‘i's ali‘i.

A fond mahalo to the sponsors for 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.

Information subject to change.



Department of Parks and Recreation LeiDay Main Page


Lei Making Workshop Information

Download Schedule

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