Festivals of Aloha

With hundreds of paddlers and supporters in town for the Molokai Hoe, the Friendly Isle showcased Hawaii’s past and present through its three-day long Festivals of Aloha. The festivities also echoed the Hawaiian tradition of Kulaia — gathering together in celebration before the annual canoe races to Oahu.

“[We] focus on what our ancestors used to do before,” said emcee Lyndon Dela Cruz, who remembers similar celebrations from his childhood. “…It’s good that they’re bringing it back. We missed it.”

Thursday night kicked off with the crowning of the Royal Court. Molokai residents Clayton and Annette English were selected as this year’s mo`i kane and mo`i wahine.

“We feel it’s time to give back to the community,” said Mo`i Wahine Annette English, who, along with her husband Clayton will be involved with various volunteer projects throughout the year as part of their royal duties.

The packed weekend included cooking contests, musical performances, talent competitions, bed races and Saturday’s parade, a colorful highlight of the weekend. Horseback pa`u units represented each island with lei-decked beauty, local farmers marched in force supporting agriculture on the island, organizations like the Molokai Filipino community and 4-H Clover Lopers made an appearance, and politicians walked to garner support before the upcoming election.

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