Now That’s Some Lei!

While researching Blaisdell Center’s history, we’ve come upon all types of interesting historical tidbits. We found this one especially amusing.

Back when the NBC first opened 50 years ago, people loved the arena so much, they actually put a lei on it.

Not some pretty orchid lei on a door knob or across a railing. Nope. This was a 557 ft long, 1000 lb, flower and ti leaf mega lei that was draped over the dome of the arena.

A giant lei on a building?

Arial view of Arena wearing its lei
Arial view of Arena wearing its lei

Bob Krauss summed up the reason nicely in one of his columns…“The idea caught fire when people realized the new building had never been given a good, old fashioned Hawaiian send off. Putting a lei on it seemed the best way to accomplish this.”

Mayor Neal Blaisdell tying ribbon on giant lei
Mayor Neal Blaisdell tying ribbon on giant lei

The lei was attached during the first Sportsman show held at the Center on Lei Day- May 1st, 1964. Firemen hoisting the lei around the roof handled it like a firehouse and attached wires to keep it from blowing around. The lei hung all the way around the knob at the top of the building to within 20 feet of the ground. Mayor Neal Blaisdell even tied a big red ribbon around the end of it.

Wow, now that’s some lei!

TH