The festival is dedicated to the memory of King David Kalākaua, the second (and last) elected king of Hawai'i, who came to the throne in 1874 and reigned until his death in 1891. He was a patron of the arts, especially music and dance. Begun forty-seven years ago by the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce and continued by the private Merrie Monarch Festival community organization, the major purpose of the festival is the perpetuation, preservation, and promotion of the art of hula and the Hawaiian culture through education.
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