Photo courtesy: Merrie Monarch Festival

10 Instagram accounts to follow during the 55th annual Merrie Monarch Festival

Can’t make it to the Merrie Monarch Festival? Follow these Instagram accounts to catch all the action from some of the hula world’s finest.

These hula-minded Instagram feeds will cover all the excitement happening in Hilo during the hula community’s favorite time of year. Be sure to follow them this week as they share the fun (both on and off stage) during the 2018 Merrie Monarch Festival.

For stage photos and recap: @merriemonarchfestival

The official Instagram of the Merrie Monarch Festival, this account recaps all of the unforgettable moments of 2017. Wax nostalgic about performances past before another year of brilliant hula is on display this week.

For behind-the-scenes coverage and fashion faves: @milekalincoln

Though the whirlwind week of competition is focused onstage, the excitement behind the scenes is just as thrilling for hula lovers, like Mileka Lincoln. Follow the Hawaii News Now reporter as she captures the festivities, as well as her favorite fashion looks.

For a musician’s perspective performing in Hilo: @joshtatofimusic

Follow 2018 Grammy-nominated musician Josh Tatofi’s huakai (journey) to Hilo in his third consecutive year. The talent displayed by kumu hula (hula teachers), dancers and musicians during the festival is unlike anything else, and we love seeing the perspective of the talents behind the mic as well.

For festive captures from a Merrie Monarch die-hard: @keepingupwithkuehu

The KWXX radio personality and Hilo native recently coined the phrase “Merrie Monarch Das Why” in a hilarious viral video alongside other notable figures in the cultural community. Known for his enthusiasm for the exciting week, you’ll want to keep up with Kuehu to see exactly how Hilo town transforms during this epic event.

For an insider’s experience from a former Miss Aloha Hula: @mahealani_mika

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It’s that time of the year!!!!! Get ready for your feed to be blown up with Merrie Monarch posts! Stay tuned for my Merrie Monarch 2018 travels as I take you on a huaka’i throughout Hilo during Hula’s most celebrated event! I loved my time as a participant in the competition and now I love my time as a spectator, getting to cheer on all the hālau as they put their best foot forward! This is one of my most favorite pictures in 2011 after I stepped down as the reigning Miss Aloha Hula & handed off the title to the beautiful @torihulali Miss Aloha Hula 2011. We celebrated together with Miss Aloha Hula 2009, @henoheak ! #merriemonarch #2018 #merriemonarch2018 #hula #hilo #hawaii #hawaiian #culture #art #dance #missalohahula #aloha #merriemonarchdaswhy

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No one understands the energy of the Edith Kanakaole Stadium like its performers, and even fewer know what it takes to stand alone as a soloist. Miss Aloha Hula Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem earned the coveted title in 2010 and continues to share her passion for hula today with Halau Kilohana in Japan. Experience the festival through the eyes of a former Miss Aloha Hula whose love for hula shines bright.

For insights from a native Hilo family’s hula legacy: @kuhao

The Kanakaole family name is synonymous with hula excellence, and the Zanes will go down in history for the impact they have had as a leading Hawaiian fashion designer of Sig Zane Designs. You won’t want to miss Kuhao Zane’s account as an olapa (dancer) of Halau O Kekuhi, under the direction of his mother, kumu hula Nalani Kanakaole. It is their ohana’s tradition to open the Wednesday night Hoike exhibition, which he documents in heartfelt detail.

For a first-time Merrie Monarch festival-goer experience: @pashyn

Internet sensation and local comedienne Pashyn Santos is taking Hilo by storm for her very first Merrie Monarch experience, and her enthusiasm is contagious. Follow along as she highlights some of her favorite local businesses and showcases a festival-themed scavenger hunt all week long.

For the ultimate Hawaiian art and culture boutique: @hanahouhilo

Known for its devout love of cultural artistry, Hana Hou is dedicated to showcasing the finest in vintage and modern design throughout Hawaii and Oceania. And not only does it offer a wealth of swoon-worthy products, but there’s also classes on natural fabric dyeing, lauhala weaving and lei making, so your experience is educational and inspirational as well.

9. For a glimpse into the kumu hula experience: @napuamusic

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The Nā Lei Loves are holding tight to tradition in the final weekend practice before they hit the #merriemonarch stage. These moments of preparation and oneness with their mele and one another are profound as they ready themselves mentally, physically and emotionally to embody the message and purpose of the haku mele and bring kumu Nāpua’s creative vision to life. This has provided unique challenges and lessons that were important for each to learn, and both kumu and haumāna are so grateful for the wisdom they have imparted. They are ready for Hilo! Photo by @trishbarkerphotography #naleilove #hula #bethevessel #hawaiian #hulaislife #kumuhulalife #hawaiianculture #hawaii #kumu #thehulaworld #kumuhula #mm2018 #ikekupuna #halaunaleikaumakaouka #naleiloves #hulainspiration #ipu #ipuheke

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Cultural insights from a kumu hula are truly invaluable, and few share them on social media as well as Mauiʻs Napua Greig. Though she is busily preparing the ladies of Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka for their 15th year of competition, she is still dedicated to documenting her experience and the thoughtful manao (wisdom) she has woven into their group and solo presentations.

10. For cultural insights in olelo Hawaii: @oiwitv

Known for its authentic display of Hawaiiʻs traditions, Oiwi TV is a trusted media source with a uniquely cultural focus. Catch up on videos of hula preparations from years past, as well as its mesmerizing Hawaiian music video series, “Mele Ma Ka Lihiwai.”

For more information, visit or call (808) 935-9168. Here's how to watch the livestream, or if you're in Hilo, find out what's happening for the 2018 festival.