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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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Hilo Hattie reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 3.5
178 reviews
  • Hilo Hattie stores can be found on the majority of the Islands. The store offers a large selection of Hawaiian themed clothing, gifts, souvenirs’, etc. Fun place to shop.  more »
  • Nice place for great patterns on Aloha shirts but a bit pricey. That being said, I still have the last shirt I purchased in 1997 that still looks as good as it did when I bought it. You get what you pay for.
  • They have a lot of traditionally Hawaiian souvenir type items. Most of the clothing is ugly & gaudy, but there are some really pretty, nice items as well, but they are expensive. Most everything was expensive and not overly exciting for my taste. Still, if you want a great souvenir ship for your trip, this is one option to check out.

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