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Hilo Hattie, Lihue

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Clarissa Haili(Hilo Hattie) was born a pure Hawaiian on October 28, 1901 on the island of Honolulu. The name Hilo Hattie was given to Clarissa when she became internationally famous by her singing and dancing. To many, she is known as "Auntie Clara". For over seven decades, she has brought laughter, happiness and of course the spirit of aloha to those around her.

The song "Hilo Hattie does the Hula Hoop" by Don McDiarmid. unfortunately, was not written for Auntie Clara. At the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the regular comic hula dancer was not feeling well, so that gave Auntie Clara the opportunity to step in. However, McDiarmid was not fond of a five-foot Hawaiian woman dancing to his song. Mcdiarmid was bewildered that her version of Hilo Hattie brought an astounding ovation; Hilo Hattie was born.

She was a master in comic hula; entertaining hundreds of nightclub shows such as St. Francis in San Francisco and St. Regis in New York. The year 1940, Hilo hattie decided to give up her career as a school teacher to focus more on bringing her comic hula into the spotlight through songs such as "Holo Holo Kaa" (Going for a car ride), "Princess Purple" and "The cockeyed Mayor of KaunaKakai".

Besides being a legendary entertainer, she was also a gourmet cook, a 40-year supporter of Easter Seal Society, a golfer and a gifted seamstress.

Clara died in 1979 leaving behind her legacy of laughter and music, highlighted by her passion for educating and teaching.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 3.5
180 reviews
  • It was a nice experience. The lady that answered my question was very personable. The fashions are quite nice. I would love some cotton dresses but could not find any.
  • Good old Hilo Hattie. Also a favorite spot we found 11 years ago, and came back this year. Lots of trinkets, oils, clothes, and many other things to see. Oh.. also you always get greeted with a shell necklace. Something I miss from years gone by where people were greeted when landing on the island..

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