Gail Tilley and Spencer Cabral from the Pohulani Senior Project are among hundreds of senior citizens at the Blaisdell Center on Tuesday who feel just a little younger.
"Gail mentioned to me earlier, 'It's like going to the prom,'" Cabral said.
"I was never the prom queen, but I am today," said Tilley.
Cabral and Tilley stood proudly next to dozens of other elected sweethearts, each pair representing more than 50 senior clubs across Oahu. Onlookers from each club filled the exhibition hall, waiting for the names of their chosen couple to be called so that they could greet them with cheers and applause.
Steven Santiago, City and County of Honolulu parks and recreation coordinator, played a big role in putting on the annual dance event. Santiago said for a lot of the seniors, a sweetheart title is a huge deal.
"The ladies like to refer to themselves as the queens. They feel very proud and honored to walk in front," Santiago said.
After the opening ceremonies, seniors got ready to cut a rug. As soon as the Royal Hawaiian Band hit the first note, everyone rushed to the dance floor.
Most senior citizens wore their Sunday best. Satin gowns, mu'umu'u and bright dress shirts turned the dance floor into a massive sea of red and white.
Senior club member Jane Cortes of Hui Aikane said many seniors look forward to the dance throughout the year as a way to have fun, strengthen bonds and reconnect.
"My mom passed away. They [club members] feel like my mom, besides my friends," Cortes said.
Love, friendship and romance seemed to take over the entire room, creating another lasting memory for Oahu's kupuna.