Every year, hula masters and their dancers help to create an annual event that has touched thousands of people for decades. Many people who come once to the free “Eo e Emalani i Alaka‘i” (or Emalani) festival return again to participate and marvel in this unique tradition.
Visitors who attend “Eo e Emalani i Alaka‘i” arrive in the forest of Kokee for an experience that takes them back to an era when a beloved queen ruled the land.
The Emalani Festival is held each year on the second Saturday of October. It commemorates the 1871 journey of Hawaii’s beloved Queen Emma to these upland forests. Emma was queen consort of King Kamehameha IV from 1856 to his death in 1863. Queen Emma left an inspiring legacy and that’s why each year the festival focuses on one aspect of her humanitarian leadership. The Emalani Festival gives those who participate and those watching in the audience an opportunity to reflect on the values that make a leader great, while also emphasizing Emma’s love for the beautiful land that makes up Kauai.
A special lady is chosen each year to represent beloved Queen Emma. This year, Nalani Kaauwai Brun will represent the queen. Festivities kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 10. At noon, Queen Emma and her entourage, including her cowboy, arrive at the lovely Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow on horseback, accompanied by hula masters and their dancers from around the state who perform and chant as a gift for the queen.
Since the Emalani Festival began in 1988, it has quietly become one of the most authentic and powerful Hawaiian cultural experiences in the State.
Locals and visitors alike call the festival “the best program ever on the island…truly feel this is one of, if not the best, events on Kauai all year. So very special and unique; hard to describe just how wonderful it is.”
If the echo of Hawaiian music and traditional chants isn’t enough, there are also exhibits, craft demonstrations, and snacks available for purchase at this free outdoor day of Kauai fun. The afternoon features offerings of dance made by hula groups who have journeyed to Kauai from as far as Europe and Japan.
Our Koloa Landing staff would be happy to give you more information about this lovely cultural event and provide directions to Kokee forest. To find out more you can contact us at 808-240-6600.