The Hilo Downtown Improvement Association and businesses in downtown Hilo are gearing up to celebrate the 50th year of Merrie Monarch Festival.
To prepare for the anniversary, DIA volunteers have been cleaning sidewalks, painting the metal trash and recycle receptacles, and sprucing up the streets and access points. This crew also assisted Merrie Monarch coordinators with installing 28 vertical banners commemorating the 50th year along Kamehameha Avenue.
More than 30 businesses are decorating their windows in honor of the festival and Hawaiian culture.
Patriotic buntings of red, white and blue will dot the windows and doorways of buildings through town in the style of the 1960s.
On Monday and Tuesday, free live Hawaiian music and hula will be featured at the Mooheau Bandstand from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Also on Monday, the King Kalakaua Beard and Look Alike Contest will be held beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The beards take the stage at 5 p.m. with live music provided during the judge’s consultations before announcing the winner.
Tuesday night, the Barbershop Quartet takes over the bandstand at 5 p.m.
On Friday, April 5, businesses will open late for the monthly Downtown Hilo First Friday, and many are making efforts to show Friday night’s telecast of the competition.
On Saturday, the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the King Kamehameha statue on Pauahi Street. It will head up to Kilauea Street, which turns into Keawe Street, before it heads down Waianuenue Avenue, turning on Kamehameha Avenue to head back to the statue.
A DIA fundraiser will held held by the Lava Art Gallery featuring giclee prints of lava by photographer Leigh Hilbert at the Mooheau Bandstand. The fundraiser sale will be available:
l Monday: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
l Tuesday: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
l Wednesday: 8:30 a.m.-1:45p.m.
l Thursday: 1-4:30p.m.
l Friday, April 5: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.