Kodak ends Hula Show sponsorship

HONOLULU -- The Kodak Hula Show, a Waikiki tradition for more than 60 years, will end June 30 unless a new sponsor can be found.

Eastman Kodak Co., citing economic reasons for pulling out as the show's sponsor, offered to lead an effort to find a new backer. "Our corporate strategy for marketing programs changes to meet economic needs. This approach has led to a shift in the level of sponsorships we are involved in, including destinations such as Hawaii," Jerry Wallner, the company's director of corporate partnerships, said.

Hawaii's longest-running show, always with free admission, attracts around 150,000 visitors a year. With 40 dancers and musicians, it is held year-round, Tuesdays through Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. on the grounds of the Waikiki Shell at Kapiolani Park.

The show was started in 1937 on Waikiki Beach by a Kodak executive to sell more film (hula events had been held at night, and film speeds were slow).

In an interview, Honolulu city councilwoman Rene Mansho suggested that the show be brought to the Aloha Tower Marketplace to greet cruise ships. She said Kodak, which foots the total bill for the show, would have fewer expenses if it were held at the Aloha Tower Marketplace.

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