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In Honolulu, a festival celebrating what it means to be Hawaiian

In Honolulu, a festival celebrating what it means to be Hawaiian
Hula dancers at the 2014 Ola Ka Ha celebration of Hawaiian culture on the grounds of Iolani Palace in Honolulu. The 2015 festival is March 29. (Tina Mueller)

Musicians will gather March 29 on the grounds of Iolani Palace in Honolulu for what is touted as a showcase of what it means to be Hawaiian.

The Ola Ka Ha celebration is primarily a day-long, free concert featuring local performers, but it will also include arts, crafts, food and hula. It's fitting that it's on the grounds of the palace, which was once home to Hawaiian royalty.

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Festivals are not uncommon in Hawaii, but Ola Ka Ha creator Mailani Makainai began this celebration last year with a mission to showcase the positive aspects of being Hawaiian and to highlight the cultural significance of the palace.

The cornerstone of the palace was laid in 1879, and King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani moved in three years later.

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The monarchy was deposed in 1893 when the U.S. government annexed the sovereign nation. Hawaii became America's 50th state in 1959.

The Sunday celebration runs from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The entertainment is free. Part of the proceeds from the sale of food and crafts will be donated to the foundation that helps maintain the palace.

Limited palace tours will be available March 29. More thorough tours  are available during regular hours, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Self-guided tours cost $14.75; docent-led tours cost $21.75.

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