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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

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Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

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May 5 is Lei Day at the Kauai Museum

The Kaua`i Museum proudly presents our 32nd Annual Lei Contest and May Day Celebration on May 5, 2012. It's a day dedicated to celebrating Hawaiian culture. Visitors and residents will enjoy the fresh, fragrant and colorful lei displayed throughout the museum and guests are encouraged to try their hand at lei making. Lei masters will demonstrate their art on the steps of the museum.

From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., guests can wander the grounds and make or buy a lei, watch demonstrators and purchase delicious foods from our vendors.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the doors to the museum will be open for viewing. Admission is free for kama`aina and $2 off for visitors.

At 1 p.m., there will be an award ceremony for lei makers on the front porch.

At 3 p.m., the silent auction ends. At 3:30 p.m., a live auction will commence selling all unclaimed lei.

The museum will close at 4 p.m.

In addition to the festivities, the museum is proud to announce the return of the Keiki La Lei Contest. This contest is open to keiki up to 18 years of age.

. . . The custom of weaving and wearing flower leis originated with the Hawaiians so long ago that they have no record of its beginning. . . . When tourists discovered Hawaii, they loved the charming gesture and they spread the word of it until the lei became known around the world.

Lei Day - May first - was the brainchild of Don Blanding. In 1927 he came up with the idea of a uniquely Hawaiian holiday that everyone could celebrate. His editors at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin presented it to the public and the idea was enthusiastically embraced.

Lei Day became an official holiday in 1928. During those first years the event included the selection of a Lei Day queen and court. Lei Day celebrations continue today, marking the first day of May with lei-making competitions, concerts, and the giving and receiving of lei among friends and family. 

The first Lei Day was held on May 1, 1928, and everyone in Honolulu was encouraged to wear lei. Festivities were held downtown with hula, music, lei making demonstrations and exhibits and lei making contests.