Hilo is a real community with real people

1 08 2009

Hawai’i Nui means Great Hawai’i. The Hawaiian Islands are a great place to visit, from the Garden Island of Kaua’i to the Big Island of Hawai’i. This is the first post in a series of opinion pieces on the question, “What makes Hilo worth a special trip?”

Reason #1. Hilo is a real community the likes of which you won’t find elsewhere.

Visitors and local residents alike rave about the beauty of Hawai’i. It is indeed a paradise. But there is something even better, the friendly people of Hawai’i and the distinctive local culture of the Hawaiian Islands.

Hilo is a place to connect with the real people of Hawai’i. Locals live here. Local businesses thrive here. In Hilo, visitors will see an authentic Hawai’i without all the packaging.

The East Hawai’i Cultural Center is a great place to experience the warmth that Hilo offers. We encourage you to try one of the free monthly Aloha Saturday events at the EHCC on the second Saturday of each month. The next event is coming up on Saturday August 8 from 10am – 4pm at 141 East Kalakaua Street in downtown Hilo. Just so you know: Kalakaua Street is dedicated to the memory of King David Kalakaua, known as the Merrie Monarch. The Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo is named after the Hawaiian King.

To see the kind of merriment that is still going down on Kalakaua Street in Hilo, take the time to watch this video from an Aloha Sunday at the East Hawai’i Culture Center. With Sam Kama and his Kapakahi Brothers band members providing background music, two of Hilo’s great Kupuna jump up and dance an impromptu hula for the delighted audience! This is not a tourist show. This is real.

Sing along in Hawaiian:

Henehene kou `aka
Kou le`ale`a paha
He mea ma`a mau ia
For you and I

This is the translation:

Your laughter is so contagious
It’s fun to be with you
Always a good time
For you and I

The East Hawai’i Culture Center is often a venue for young artists to begin to make their name — like the very talented son of Hilo, Kirk Shimabukuro.

The EHCC has a lot more going on besides music. There are art exhibitions, dance, classes and workshops as well. You can follow the East Hawaii Culture Center on Twitter at EastHawaiiArts.

The Hilo Farmers Market is another wonderful opportunity to interact with locals.

More than 200 local farmers and crafters sell their produce, crafts, gift items and tropical flowers in a festive outdoor atmosphere that recalls back to the old “plantation” days of early Hilo. Located at the corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue in historic downtown Hilo, it’s open all year round, every Wednesday and Saturday, “from dawn til’ it’s gone.”

Downtown Hilo is an essential site to consult in planning your trip to Hilo. Click here for some of their images of the Hilo Farmers Market.

We would like the opportunity to welcome you at the Hawai’i Nui Brewing Ohana’s tasting roomwhen you come to Hilo to connect with the real Hawai’i.


Nina Lytton, Ambassador of Online Aloha

PS: you read it here correctly, Aloha Saturdays (used to be a Sunday event, but this has changed)




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