History & Mission
Honoring Kamehameha for over 135 years
The Kamehameha Festival (Festival) is part of the Kamehameha Day celebration that was first established in 1871 as a national holiday of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. Kamehameha Day honors the memory of Kamehameha who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 to became Hawai‘i’s first King. The Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Māmalahoa has been involved in the presentation of the Kamehameha Day Celebration in Hilo, Hawai‘i since 1908. In more modern times Māmalahoa has presented the Kamehameha Day celebration on Mokuola (Island of Life) in Hilo Bay since 1985. In 2008 Māmalahoa revitalized Hilo’s Kamehameha Day celebration with an expanded and more culturally significant event called the Kamehameha Festival (Festival).
Today the Festival continues to pay tribute to Kamehameha and acts to protect, preserve, and perpetuate, the Hawaiian culture. The Festival features traditional Hawaiian dance, music, chant, practices, arts, and crafts that are enjoyed by thousands of island residents and visitors from around the world. Proudly presented by the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Māmalahoa (Hilo Chapter), the Festival takes place every year on Kamehameha Day (June 11) in Hilo, Hawai‘i on Mokuola (Island of Life). A day of Aloha for the entire family the Festival is free and open to the public and remains an alcohol and smoke free event.