King Kamehameha Day Celebration Kicks Off 142nd Year in Honolulu

This year marks the 142nd continuous year of the King Kamehameha Day Celebration, making it one of the oldest traditions in the state and the only celebration in the U.S. that honors a monarch. 

For the first time the annual event will feature a concert as part of the Hawaii Tourism Authority's Hawaiian Music Concert Series program.

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“The King Kamehameha Celebration is a time-honored tradition in Hawaii that brings the community together to honor our dignitaries and kupuna,” said Mike McCartney, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) president and CEO. “The HTA is pleased to support special events like these that authentically perpetuate and showcase our unique people, place and culture.”

The King Kamehameha Celebration started on June 11, 1872 in honor of King Kamehameha I, who unified the islands of Hawai‘i between the 1780s through 1810. Original festivities included parades, foot races, canoe regattas, feasts and grand balls. Lei draping on the statues of King Kamehameha I statues began in 1883 when the statues were erected in 1883 by King Kalakaua.

Today, festivities include lei draping, parades and ho‘olaule‘a events on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island. This year, the King Kamehameha Celebration on Oahu will also include a free concert during the ho‘olaule‘a at Kaka‘ako Makai Gateway Park on Saturday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.