Organizing the princesses on their pretty ponies is no easy feat. Leiala Cook, equestrian chairwoman for the Aloha Festivals parade, begins preparations more than six months in advance.
"It can be very costly to ride in the parade. If they don't have their own horse, they are looking at a $500 to $700 rental," she said. The two will also need to get acquainted, so tack on at least another $150 for practice lessons with the rented horse.
The men sleep overnight with the horses at Ala Moana Park the night before the parade. The women have other things to worry about, like styling their hair, which starts at around 1 a.m., Cook added.
And the ladies aren't the only ones having to worry about their appearance. Volunteers work diligently to ensure that each horse is adorned with lush, beautiful leis that represent the specific islands.
"It takes about 40 bouquets to make one horse lei," Cook added. "As long as you have a lot of people to help, it is OK." Volunteers work on the leis several days before the parade.
Roselani Oga is one of them. "It's quite a production. Several people are making bouquets while others are cleaning the flowers," she said. "Everyone gets together and it is lots of fun."
Oga flew to the Big Island last year to pick the flowers she needed. "That was the first lei that I did all by myself. It was for a past queen."
Trips to the neighbor islands to collect flowers are adventures on their own. An array of supplies including trash bags, boxes and wire are needed, along with the use of both a car and a truck. Some flowers are picked on hikes in the mountain, others are obtained at farms or by asking residents.
Many of the larger leis use more than 60 bouquets. "You have to want to do this, from beginning to end," said Hanalei Ramirez, who normally leads Oga's volunteer unit but will be a judge this year.
"We make about 85 bouquets for each lei," Ramirez said. "The extra ones end up decorating the pooper scoopers."
"People learn a lot about the culture ... it has bound a lot of people together," he added. "You don't have to be Hawaiian to do this. You just have to be a good person and enjoy where you live."
» Aloha Festivals Artist Demonstrations:
Sandy Sarwin presents a demonstration of Hawaiian floral designs hand-painted on assorted glassware from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday; and a watercolor demonstration with Garry Palm from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 16. Both demonstrations will be held at Martin & MacArthur, Ala Moana Center. Call 941-0074.
» Mele Concert Series:
7 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, Ala Moana Centerstage. Featuring Auntie Genoa Keawe, Hoku Zuttermeister and Halau Hula O Kawaililula, Saturday; Keahiwai, Beach 5 and Halau Na Mamo O Pu'uanahulu, Sept. 22; and Kapena, Maunalua and Ka Pa Hula O Ka Lai Lehua, Sept. 29. Call 955-9517.
» Opening Ceremony:
5 p.m., Friday. Oahu Royal Court gathers on the steps of Iolani Palace. Traditional chant and hula. Call 589-1771. Free.
» Floral Parade:
9 a.m., Saturday. Two-hour procession down Kalakaua Avenue starts at Ala Moana Park and ends at Kapahulu Avenue.
» Thunderbirds' flyover:
2:30 p.m., Saturday. In celebration of the Air Force's 60th anniversary, the Thunderbirds perform over Waikiki.
» Aloha Festivals Kapolei Mele:
5 p.m., Saturday at Kapolei District Park. Entertainment on four stages includes Brother Noland and an Air Force 60th-anniversary celebration, plus keiki activities and food. Free.
» Waikiki Ho'olaule'a:
7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 21 on Kalakaua Avenue. Block party includes dancing, entertainment, ethnic foods, Hawaiian arts and crafts, entertainment stages, hula performances, Hawaiian food and a flower, shell and feather lei showcase. Kalakaua Avenue, from Lewers Street to Kapahulu Avenue, will be closed to traffic from 5:30 p.m. until midnight. Free.
» Keiki Ho'olaule'a:
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 22 at Pearlridge, Uptown and Downtown. Keiki activities, games and demonstrations. Aloha Festivals Keiki Royal Court appears at Uptown Center Court, 11 a.m. Participants with Aloha Festivals ribbons ride free on Pearlridge SkyCab. Visit pearlridgeonline.com or call 488-0981.
» Aloha Festivals Longest Hula Line:
3 p.m. Sept. 22. To join the line on Waikiki Beach call Iwalani Tseu at 623-6776 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
» Hawaiian Style Celebration:
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 22 at Koko Marina Center. Hands-on activities, games, demonstrations and more. Among the highlights are performances by Hula Halau Leolani from 11 to 11:45 a.m., free chair massages from Moku Ola Hawaiian Healing Center, Albert Moniz performing lasso and roping techniques, kapa-making demonstrations and Hawaiian games. Visit www.kokomarinacenter.com.
» Falsetto Concert and Statewide Contest:
Amateur falsetto performers in concert on Sept. 28. Doors open at 6 p.m. Contestants vie for a recording contract with Hula Records. Contest venue is being finalized.
» Hula Competition:
5 to 9 p.m., Friday at the Outrigger Keauhou. Hula Palua Couples Hula Competition debuts at this event. Free; must have Aloha Festivals ribbon. Call (808) 833-9005.
» Annual Great Waikoloa Ho'olaule'a:
Noon to 7 p.m., Saturday at the Kings Shops at Waikoloa. Featuring activities, entertainment and appearance by Aloha Festivals court. Free. Call (808) 886-8811.
» Aloha Festivals 14th Annual Ms. Aloha Nui Pageant:
7 p.m., Saturday at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott. Search for "Hostess with the Mostess" -- graciousness, beauty and talent -- featuring plus-sized women of 200 pounds or more. Entrants judged on interviews, community participation, talent and holoku wear. Call (808) 887-0480 or (808) 885-1244.
» 25th Annual Hawaii Kupuna Hula Festival:
6 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20 at King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel. Hawaiian arts, crafts, displays, demonstrations and an appearance by the Royal Court. Admission is $10; Aloha Festivals ribbon required. Call (808) 961-8592 or (808) 322-1812.
» Waimea Ho'olaule'a and Paniolo Parade:
Beginning at 10 a.m. Sept. 22. Event features food, entertainment and family activities. Parade starts at Church Row and travels to Waimea Park where paniolo and riders will demonstrate horsemanship. Free. Call (808) 885-1244.
» Fourteenth Annual KWXX Hilo Ho'olaule'a:
4:30 to 10 p.m. Sept. 29 on Front Street. Featuring dancing, entertainment, ethnic foods and Hawaiian arts and crafts. Free. Call (808) 935-5461.
» Eighth Annual Queen Lili'uokalani Music Festival:
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 30 at Queen Liliuokalani Park. Music, food and multiethnic dance. Free with Aloha Festivals ribbon. Call Roxy Waltjen at (808) 961-8706.
» Richard Ho'opi'i Leo Ki'e Ki'e Falsetto Contest:
7 p.m., Oct. 12, McCoy Studio Courtyard, Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Contestants compete for a recording contract with Hula Records. Free. Call Toni Rojas at (808) 573-7626 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Royal Court appears at 6 p.m.
» Twentieth Annual Lahaina Banyan Tree Ho'olaule'a:
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 at Historic Banyan Tree. Featuring entertainment, food and arts and crafts. Call (808) 573-7626.
» Kahekili, A Hula Drama:
6 p.m. Oct. 13. Hokulani Holt-Padilla and Pau O Hi'iaka's production, selected to be included in "American Masterpieces: Dance," brings together Hawaiian chants, kahiko, dramatic interpretation and the story of one of Maui's most influential chiefs. Call (808) 242-7469.
» Second Annual Starbucks Ukulele Festival:
1 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Entertainment, food, arts and crafts. Free. Call (808) 242-7469.
» Hana Parade:
11 a.m. Oct. 6, Hana Ballpark. Presentation of court, parade and activities. Call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
» Hana Play Day/Fishing Tournament:
6:30 a.m. Oct. 7. Fishing, games, potluck picnics and Hawaiian-style entertainment. Call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
» Hana Sports Night:
5 p.m. Oct. 8, Hana Ball Park, featuring tennis and volleyball tournaments. Call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
» Keiki Aloha Shirt and Muu Muu Contest:
Oct. 9, with Aloha Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hotel Hana Maui. Festivities continue at Helene Hall with the competition from 5 to 7 p.m. Sports tournaments at Hana Ball Park start at 5:30 p.m., followed by Teen Night at Helene Hall at 7 p.m. Call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
» Hana Talent Show:
6 p.m. Oct. 10. Call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
» Hawaiiana Night:
6 p.m., Oct. 11, Hana Ball Park. Royal Court appearance, poke contest, hula performances. Call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
» Lei and Floral Show:
9 a.m., Oct. 12 at Hotel Hana Maui. Call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
» Pupule Pasture Golf Tournament:
1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 12 at Coila's Hale. Call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
>> Jamboree Night:
7 p.m. Oct. 12, Hana. Hawaiian-style hoedown. Call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
>> Hana Closing Luau:
5 p.m., Oct. 13 at Hana Bay. Hawaiian food and entertainment. For tickets call (808) 248-8989 or (808) 248-8231.
» Opening Ceremony and Luau:
4 p.m. Thursday, at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, Seaview Terrace. Hula, chant and presentation of hookupu (gift), followed by luau at 6 p.m. Call (808) 240-6456. Discount with Aloha Festivals ribbon.
» Kauai Falsetto Contest:
7 p.m. Friday, Hilton Kauai Beach. Singers compete for recording contract with Hula Records. Entry fee $20 at door or $15 with Aloha Festivals ribbon. Call (808) 245-1955
» Kauai Ho'olaule'a:
10 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Kukui Grove Shopping Center. Ethnic food, crafters, entertainment and makahiki games. Call (808) 245-7784.
» Smith Paradise Luau Gardens:
6 p.m. Wednesday at Smith's Gardens Paradise Luau. Food, entertainment and appearance by Kauai's Royal Court. Admission is $70; $48 with Aloha Festivals ribbon. Call (808) 821-6895.
» Annual Kauai Mokihana Festival:
On Sept. 28, Kauai Marriott. Hula auana competition. Call (808) 822-2166 or visit mokihana.kauai.net.
» Hawaiiana Festival:
Oct. 19, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. Crafts, demonstrations, educational displays, Hawaiian lunch and entertainment. Admission discount with Aloha Festivals ribbon. Call (808) 742-1234.
» Opening Ceremony:
5 p.m., Sept. 21 at Lanai City Dole Park. Food, entertainment, games, arts and crafts. Free. Call (808) 565-3240.
» Parade -- Lanai Style:
9:30 a.m., Sept. 22, from Iwiole to Lanai City Town Square and around Dole Park. Free. Call (808) 565-3240.
» Lanai Ho'olaule'a:
4 to 10 p.m. , Sept. 22 at Lanai City Dole Park. Hawaiian music and dance, local food and crafts. Free. Call (808) 565-3240.
» Molokai Royal Court Investiture:
6 p.m. Oct. 4 at Mitchell Pau'ole Center. Poke contest follows at 7 p.m. Call (808) 272-0026, ext. 7678.
» Ho'ike Town Show:
7 p.m. Oct. 5, library grounds. Music, dance and entertainment. Call (808) 589-1771.
» Molokai Parade:
9 a.m., Oct. 6, begins near Bank of Hawaii and travels through town to Molokai ball park. Call (808) 589-1771.
» Molokai Ho'olaule'a:
11 a.m., Oct. 6, Mitchell Pau'ole Center. Game booths, arts and crafts, food and more. Call (808) 589-1771.