We could not have asked for a more picturesque day for the Old Hawaii on Horseback: Nā Wahine Holo Lio, pageant! Held on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at the Waikiʻi Polo Field, the day dawned with crystal clear blue skies and puffy white clouds which provided a welcoming backdrop as trucks and trailers made their way up to Waikiʻi Ranch for an event that has not been experienced in 11 years.
Grammy award winning artist John Cruz kicked off the event with his legendary sounds, setting the tone for what was to be a most memorable event. Delicious aromas from food vendors offering beef stew, chili and rice (with mayo!), Mexican plate lunch, Kona coffee and Hawaiian shave ice filled the air as generations of families with chairs and children in tow picked out their spots along the grassy green field.
The pageant began promptly at 11 with the welcome oli (blessing) by Kahu Danny Akaka, followed by the Grand Entry of flag bearers Billy Andrade and Bernard Hoopai. Patriotic Lady Escorts and Nā Wahine Holo Lio representatives quickly followed suit.
After a stunning rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner and Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi sung by Christy Lassiter and Keola Nui, the VIP Wagon driven by Gary Grisham and Jonathan Seaton entered the arena, carrying Old Hawaiʻi on Horseback honoree Barbara and Edwin Nobriga.
Each unit (19 in total!) circled the arena twice, ensuring everyone had a chance to capture the sights and sounds of the beautifully costumed riders.
As the pageant concluded with Hawaiʻi Aloha, the skies above Waikiʻi Ranch opened up, and we were blessed with a heavy, warm rain that is so characteristic of this area in September. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.
The Old Hawaiʻi on Horseback Nā Wahine Holo Lio event was truly a community event, and one that illustrates the beauty of Hawaii, the stories of Hawaii and the rich cultural history that makes Hawaii, Hawaii. It was truly an honor for the Paniolo Preservation Society to have been a part of such a magical experience, and we are already setting our eyes towards the next one (more information to come soon!)
Mahalo to Lyman Medeiros of Big Island Television for the video below!
Mahalo nui loa to all of you who joined us, for all who volunteered with us, and for all who shared your manaʻo with us, we could not have done it without you!