Hawaii 2017 Aloha Festivals celebrate children By Tovin Lapan / April 28, 2017 Share 1 A float in the Aloha Festivals annual floral parade makes its way from Ala Moana Park to Kapiolani Park. Photo Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson -- The Aloha Festivals, now in its 71st year, is structuring this year's performances and events around the theme of Hawaii's children and future, "He Lei Aloha Ke Keiki Children Are Our Garland of Love." Hawaiian proverbs carry many references to the importance of children and the need to nurture them for a prosperous future."Children have always been important to Hawaii's native language and culture for the life and innocence they symbolize," Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Aloha Festivals board of directors' co-chair, said in a statement. "This year we are particularly excited to celebrate the beauty of Hawaii's beloved keiki as they truly represent flowering buds and Hawaii's future."The annual Aloha Festivals, celebrated during the month of September, is one of Hawaii's longest-running cultural celebrations, highlighting the traditions and cultures of the Islands through music, dance, cuisine and art. This year's Aloha Festivals takes place from Sept. 9 to 30 at various locations on Oahu. All events are free and open to the public, and are supported by the sale of Aloha Festivals ribbons and merchandise from participating retailers. Some of the highlights include the children and school performances at Pearlridge Center Uptown, the annual Waikiki Hoolaulea, a large, rollicking block party, on Kalakaua Avenue, and the floral parade including equestrian riders, floats and marching bands from Ala Moana Park to Kapiolani Park. Aloha Festivals was first held in 1946 as Aloha Week, and has grown into a large celebration of Hawaiian culture over seven decades.