Hawaii Calendar of Events
Please note that, as with any schedule of upcoming events, the following information is subject to change; always confirm the details before you plan your trip around an event.
Waimea Ocean Film Festival, Waimea and the Kohala Coast, Big Island. Several days of films featuring the ocean, ranging from surfing and Hawaiian canoe paddling to ecological issues. Go to http://waimeaoceanfilm.org or call [tel]808/854-6095. First weekend after New Year’s Day.
PGA Hyundai Championship, Kapalua Resort, Maui. Top PGA golfers compete for $1.12 million purse. Go to http://kapalua.com/golf/hyundai-tournament-champions or call [tel] 808/665-9160. Early January.
Pacific Islands Arts Festival, Kapiolani Park, Honolulu, Oahu. More than 100 artists and handicrafts artisans, entertainment, food, and demonstrations fill the day. Admission is free. Go to www.icb-web.net/haa or call [tel] 808/637-5337. Mid-January.
Ka Molokai Makahiki, Kaunakakai Town Baseball Park, Mitchell Pauole Center, Kaunakakai, Molokai. Makahiki, a traditional time of peace in ancient Hawaii, is re-created with performances by Hawaiian music groups and halau (hula schools), ancient Hawaiian games, a sporting competition, and crafts and food. It’s a wonderful chance to experience the Hawaii of yesteryear. Go to www.molokaievents.com or call [tel] 800/800-6367 or 808/553-3876. Late January.
Lanai Hawaiian Culture Film & Music Festival, Lanai City, Lanai. Enjoy 3 days of fascinating feature films, shorts, and documentaries about the people of the Pacific. Live music and cultural workshops round out the weekend’s events, most of which are free. The Four Seasons Resorts Lanai offers special festival packages. Go to http://lanaifilmfestival.com or call [tel] 808/565-4000. Early to mid-February.
Waimea Town Celebration, Waimea, Kauai. This annual 2-day party on Kauai’s west side celebrates the Hawaiian and multiethnic history of the town where Captain Cook first landed. This is the island’s biggest event, drawing some 10,000 people. Top Hawaiian entertainers, sporting events, rodeo, and hat lei contests are just some of the draws of this weekend celebration. Details at www.wkbpa.org/events.html or [tel] 808/338-1332. Weekend after Presidents’ Day weekend.
Sand Castle Building Contest, Kailua Beach Park, Oahu. Students from the University of Hawaii School of Architecture compete against professional architects to see who can build the best, most unusual, and most outrageous sand sculpture. Call [tel] 808/956-7225 for dates.
Whale Day Celebration, Kalama Park, Kihei, Maui. A daylong celebration in the park, with a “parade of whales,” entertainment, a crafts fair, games, and food. Go to www.mauiwhalefestival.org or call [tel] 808/856-8304. Early or mid-February.
Punahou School Carnival, Punahou School, Honolulu, Oahu. This 2-day event has everything you can imagine in a school carnival, from high-speed rides to homemade jellies. All proceeds go to scholarship funds for Hawaii’s most prestigious private high school. Go to www.punahou.edu or call [tel] 808/944-5753. Early to mid-February.
Chinese New Year, most islands. In 2015, lion dancers will be snaking their way around the state on February 19, the start of the Chinese Year of the Sheep. On Oahu, Honolulu’s Chinatown rolls out the red carpet for this fiery celebration with parades, pageants, and street festivals (www.chinatownhi.com). On Maui, lion dancers perform at the historic Wo Hing Temple on Front Street (www.visitlahaina.com). Call [tel] 888/310-1117 or 808/667-9175. Also in Wailuku; call [tel] 808/244-3888 for location.
Narcissus Festival, Honolulu, Oahu. Taking place around the Chinese New Year, this cultural festival includes a queen pageant, cooking demonstrations, and a cultural fair. Call [tel] 808/533-3181.
Buffalo’s Big Board Classic, Makaha Beach, Oahu. Contest featuring classic Hawaiian-style surfing, with longboard, tandem, and canoe surfing heats. Go to www.buffalosurfingclassic.com or call [tel] 808/951-7877. Mid-February or early March.
Lanai Jazz Festival, Lanai City, Lanai. Jazz greats descend on Lanai for a weekend in March, performing free, intimate concerts around the island. The Four Seasons Resorts Lanai offers special festival packages. Go to www.lanaijazzfestival or call [tel] 808/565-4000. Early to mid-March.
Lahaina Whale and Ocean Arts Festival, Lahaina. The entire town of Lahaina celebrates the annual migration of Pacific humpback whales with this festival in Banyan Tree Park. Artists offer their best ocean-themed art for sale, while Hawaiian musicians and hula troupes entertain. Enjoy marine-related activities, games, and a touch-pool exhibit for kids. Get details at www.visitlahaina.com or call [tel] 888/310-1117. Mid-March.
Kona Brewers Festival, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel Luau Grounds, Kailua-Kona, Big Island. This annual event features microbreweries from around the world, with beer tastings, food, and entertainment. Go to www.konabrewersfestival.com or call [tel] 808/987-9196. Mid-March.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Waikiki (Fort DeRussy to Kapiolani Park), Oahu. Bagpipers, bands, clowns, and marching groups parade through the heart of Waikiki, with lots of Irish-style celebrating all day. Call [tel] 808/926-1777 (Kelley O’Neil’s Pub). March 17.
Kamehameha III Birthday Celebration, Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, Big Island. Free concert under the stars and Hawaiian culture lectures capped by Sam Choy’s celebrity chef poke-making contest. Go to www.samchoyskeauhoupokecontest.org or call [tel] 808/930-4900. March 15 to 17, 2015.
Prince Kuhio Day Celebrations, all islands. On this state holiday, various festivals throughout Hawaii celebrate the birth of Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, who was born on March 26, 1871, and elected to Congress in 1902. Kauai, his birthplace, stages a huge celebration in Lihue; call [tel] 808/240-6369 for details. Molokai also hosts a celebration; go to www.molokaievents.com or call [tel] 808/567-6027.
Celebration of the Arts, Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Kapalua Resort, Maui. Contemporary and traditional Hawaiian artists give free hands-on lessons during this 2-day festival, which also features song contests and rousing debates on what it means to be Hawaiian. Go to www.celebrationofthearts.org or call [tel] 808/665-7084. March 28 and 29, 2015.
Maui County Ag Fest, Waikapu, Maui. Maui celebrates its farmers and their fresh bounty at this well-attended event. Kids enjoy barnyard games while parents duck into the “Grand Taste” tent to sample top chefs’ collaborations with local farmers. Go to www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org/maui-county-agricultural-festival-2 or call [tel] 808/243-2290. April 4, 2015.
Buddha Day, Lahaina Jodo Mission, Lahaina, Maui. Each spring this historic mission holds a flower festival pageant honoring the birth of Buddha. Go to www.lahainajodomission.org or call [tel] 808/661-4304. Generally the first Sunday in April.
Easter Sunrise Service, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl Crater, Honolulu, Oahu. For a century, people have gathered at this famous cemetery for Easter sunrise services. Call [tel] 808/532-3720. April 5, 2015.
Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, Hilo, Big Island. Hawaii’s biggest, most prestigious hula festival features 3 nights of modern (auana) and ancient (kahiko) dance competition in honor of King David Kalakaua, the “Merrie Monarch” who revived the dance. Tickets sell out by January, so reserve early. Go to www.merriemonarch.com or call [tel] 808/935-9168. April 5 to 11, 2015.
East Maui Taro Festival, Hana, Maui. Taro, a Hawaiian staple food, is celebrated through music, hula, arts, crafts, and, of course, taro-inspired feasts. Go to www.tarofestival.org or call [tel] 808/264-1553. Last weekend in April.
Outrigger Canoe Season, all islands. From May to September, canoe paddlers across the state participate in outrigger canoe races nearly every weekend. Go to www.ocpaddler.com for this year’s schedule of events.
Big Island Chocolate Festival, Kona, Big Island. This celebration of chocolate (cacao) grown and produced in Hawaii features symposiums, candy-making workshops, and gala tasting events. Go to www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com or call [tel] 808/854-6769. May 2, 2015.
Lei Day Celebrations, Waikiki, Oahu. May Day (May 1) is Lei Day in Hawaii, celebrated with lei-making contests, pageantry, arts, and crafts. On Oahu, the real highlight is the live concert from 9am to 5:30pm at the Queen Kapi’olani Regional Park Bandstand. Call [tel] 808/692-5118.
Maui Onion Festival, Whalers Village, Kaanapali. The sweetest onions in the world have their day of fame each May. Sample onion truffles, enter the raw-onion eating contest, and watch chefs compete for the best onion-inspired dish. Go to www.whalersvillage.com/onionfestival.htm or call [tel] 808/661-4567. May 2, 2015.
World Fire-Knife Dance Championships & Samoa Festival,Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, Oahu. Junior and adult fire-knife dancers from around the world converge on the center for one of the most amazing performances you’ll ever see. Authentic Samoan food and cultural festivities round out the fun. Go to www.worldfireknife.com or call [tel] 808/293-3333. Mid-May.
Lantern Floating Hawaii, Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu, Oahu. Some 40,000 people gather at Shinnyo-en Temple’s annual Memorial Day lantern ceremony, a beautiful appeal for peace and harmony. At sunset, hundreds of glowing lanterns are set adrift. Hula and music follow. Go to www.lanternfloatinghawaii.com or call [tel] 808/947-2814. May 25, 2014.
Memorial Day, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl Crater, Honolulu, Oahu. The armed forces hold a ceremony recognizing those who died for their country, beginning at 10am. Call [tel] 808/532-3720. Last Monday in May.
Molokai Ka Hula Piko Festival, Mitchell Pau’ole Center, Kaunakakai, Molokai. This 3-day hula celebration occurs on the island where the Hawaiian dance was born and features performances by hula schools, musicians, and singers from across Hawaii, as well as local food and Hawaiian crafts: quilting, woodworking, featherwork, and deer-horn scrimshaw. Go to www.kahulapiko.com or call [tel] 800/800-6367 or 808/553-3876. Early May.
Obon Season,all islands. This colorful Buddhist ceremony honoring the souls of the dead kicks off in June. Synchronized dancers circle a tower where Taiko drummers play, and food booths sell Japanese treats late into the night. Each weekend, a different Buddhist temple hosts the Bon Dance. Go to www.gohawaii.com for a statewide schedule.
Maui Windsurfing Race Series, Kanaha Beach Park, Kahului. This annual windsurfing slalom race takes place at Kanaha Beach Park, west of Kahului Airport in central Maui. Go to www.surfmaui.com or call [tel] 808/877-2111. Early June.
Honolulu Pride Parade & Celebration, Waikiki, Oahu. Since 1990, Hawaii’s capital has celebrated diversity. This annual rainbow-splashed parade features a gay military color guard, roller derby, and high-energy floats. Kapiolani Park hosts daylong festivities. Go to www.honolulupride.org or call [tel] 808/877-2111. Early June.
King Kamehameha Celebration, all islands. This state holiday (officially June 11, but celebrated on different dates on each island) features a massive floral parade, hoolaulea (party), and much more. Oahu: [tel] 808/586-0333. Kauai: [tel] 808/651-6419. Big Island: www.kamehamehafestival.org and www.konaparade.org. Maui: www.visitlahaina.com or [tel] 808/667-9194. Molokai: [tel] 808/553-3876.
Maui Film Festival, Wailea Resort, Maui. Five days and nights of premiere screenings, celebrity awards, and lavish parties under the stars. Go to www.mauifilmfestival.com or call [tel] 808/579-9244. June 17 to 21, 2015.
King Kamehameha Hula Competition, Neal Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, Oahu. This daylong hula competition features dancers from as far away as Japan. Call 808/586-0333. Third weekend in June.
Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, Kapalua Resort, Maui. Big-time wine and food experts and oenophiles gather at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua resort for formal tastings, panel discussions, and samplings of new releases. The seafood finale ranks among the state’s best feasts. Go to www.kapalua.com or call [tel] 800/KAPALUA [527-2582]. June or mid-July.
Lanai Pineapple Festival, Lanai City, Lanai. This festival celebrates Lanai’s history of pineapple plantations and ranching, including a pineapple-eating contest, a pineapple-cooking contest, arts and crafts, food, music, and fireworks. Go to www.lanaipineapplefestival.com or call [tel] 808/565-7600. Last Saturday in June or first Saturday in July.
Makawao Parade & Rodeo, Makawao, Maui. The annual parade and rodeo event has been taking place in this upcountry cowboy town for generations. Go to www.gohawaii.com/maui or call [tel] 808/572-9565. July 4.
Ala Moana Fourth of July Spectacular, Ala Moana Center, Waikiki, Oahu. The 15-minute fireworks display is among the largest in the country. People gather on the Ewa parking deck at 4pm for the best view. A concert at 5pm is followed by fireworks at 8:30pm. Shoppers enjoy a 20-percent discount all week. Go to www.alamoanacenter.com/Events/4th-of-July or call [tel] 808/955-9517. July 3 to 6, 2015.
Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race,starts on Molokai and finishes on Oahu. Some 200 international participants journey to Molokai to compete in this 32-mile race, considered to be the world championship of long-distance paddleboarding. The race begins at Kaluakoi Beach on Molokai at 7:30am and finishes at Maunaloa Bay on Oahu around 12:30pm. Go to www.molokai2oahu.com or call [tel] 760/944-3854. Late July.
Ukulele Festival,Kapiolani Park Bandstand, Waikiki, Oahu. This free concert features a ukulele orchestra of some 800 students, ages 4 to 92. Hawaii’s top musicians pitch in. Go to www.ukulelefestivalhawaii.org. Late July.
Queen Liliuokalani Keiki Hula Competition,Neal Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, Oahu. More than 500 keiki (children) representing 22 halau (hula schools) from the islands compete in this dance-fest. The event is broadcast a week later on KITV-TV. Go to www.kpcahawaii.com or call [tel] 808/521-6905. Mid- to late July.
50th State Fair,Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Oahu. The annual state fair is a great one, with displays of Hawaii agricultural products (including orchids), educational and cultural exhibits, entertainment, and local food. Go to www.ekfernandez.com or call [tel] 808/682-5767. June and July.
Hawaii State Windsurfing Championship, Kanaha Beach Park, Kahului, Maui. Top windsurfers compete in the final race of the series. Call [tel] 808/877-2111. Late July or early August.
The annual Heiva I Kauai Iaorana Tahiti, International Tahitian Dance Competition at Kapaa Beach Park, Kauai. Two full days of Tahitian dance competition with solo and group performances, traditional and contemporary Tahitian drumming competition. Polynesian artists & cultural demonstrations, Island foods and Polynesian crafts. Tahitian dance and drumming workshops for every level. Admission fee. Go to www.heivaikauai.com or call [tel] 808.822.9447. Early August.
Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site Anniversary Celebration,Kawaihae, Big Island. This homage to authentic Hawaiian culture begins at 6am at Puukohola Heiau. It’s a rugged, beautiful site where attendees make leis, weave lauhala mats, pound poi, and dance ancient hula. Bring refreshments and sunscreen. Go to www.nps.gov/puhe/planyourvisit/events.htm or call [tel] 808/882-7218. Mid-August.
Duke’s OceanFest Hoolaulea,Waikiki, Oahu. Nine days of water-oriented competitions and festivities celebrate the life of Duke Kahanamoku. Events include longboard surfing, paddleboard racing, swimming, tandem surfing, surf polo, beach volleyball, and stand-up paddling and a Hawaiian luau. Go to www.dukefoundation.org or call [tel] 808/545-4880. Mid- to late August.
Admission Day,all islands. Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21, 1959. On the third Friday in August, the state takes a holiday (all state-related facilities are closed).
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, Ko Olina Resort, Oahu. Co-founded by two of the state’s most celebrated chefs, this 5-day feast includes wine tastings, cooking demos, field trips, and glitzy galas. See www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com or call [tel] 808/738-6245. Late August.
Waikiki Roughwater Swim, Waikiki, Oahu. This popular 2.5-mile, open-ocean swim goes from Sans Souci Beach to Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki. Early registration is encouraged, but last-minute entries on race day are allowed. Go to www.wrswim.com. Labor Day.
Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Race, Kailua-Kona to Honaunau, Big Island. Thousands of paddlers compete in the world’s largest long-distance canoe race. Go to www.kaiopua.org or call [tel] 808/938-8577. Labor Day weekend.
Parker Ranch Rodeo, Waimea, Big Island. This hot rodeo competition is in the heart of cowboy country. Go to www.parkerranch.com or call [tel] 808/885-7311. Weekend before Labor Day.
Aloha Festivals, various locations on all islands. Parades and other events celebrate Hawaiian culture and friendliness throughout the state. Go to www.alohafestivals.com or call [tel] 808/589-1771.
Maui County Fair, War Memorial Complex, Wailuku, Maui. The oldest county fair in Hawaii features a parade, amusement rides, live entertainment, and exhibits. Go to www.mauifair.com or call [tel] 808/280-6889. Last weekend in September.
Emalani Festival, Kokee State Park, Kauai. This festival honors Her Majesty Queen Emma, an inveterate gardener and Hawaii’s first environmental queen, who made a forest trek to Kokee with 100 friends in 1871. Go to www.kokee.org or call [tel] 808/335-9975. Second Saturday in October.
Ironman Triathlon World Championship,Kailua-Kona, Big Island. Some 1,500-plus world-class athletes run a full marathon, swim 2.5 miles, and bike 112 miles on the Kona-Kohala Coast of the Big Island. Spectators watch the action along the route for free. The best place to see the 7am start is along the Alii Drive seawall, facing Kailua Bay; arrive before 5:30am to get a seat. (Alii Dr. closes to traffic; park on a side street and walk down.) To watch finishers come in, line up along Alii Drive from Holualoa Street to Palani Road. The first finisher can arrive as early as 2:30pm. Go to www.ironmanworldchampionship.com or call [tel] 808/329-0063. Saturday closest to the full moon in October (Oct 10, 2015).
Hana Hoohiwahiwa O Kaiulani,Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Waikiki, Oahu. This hotel commemorates the birthday of its namesake, Princess Victoria Kaiulani, with a week of complimentary hula lessons, lei making, ukulele lessons, and more. The crowning touch is the Princess Kaiulani Keiki Hula Festival, which showcases performances by more than 200 keiki (children) from halau (schools) on the island of Oahu. Go to www.princess-kaiulani.com or call [tel] 808/931-4524. Mid-October.
Xterra World Championship, Kapalua, Maui. Hundreds of gonzo athletes plunge into the Pacific, jump on mountain bikes, and race through the rainforest to be crowned Xterra world champion. After the race, athletes and friends celebrate at an awards dinner and adrenaline-fueled Halloween party. Go to www.xterraplanet.com/maui or call [tel] 808/216-8606. Late October.
Pacific Rim Jazz Festival, Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, Oahu. This festival features a lineup of big-time artists in evening concerts and daily jam sessions, plus scholarship giveaways. Go to www.pacificrimjazzfestival.com or call [tel] 808/941-9974. Early November.
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival, Kauai Beach Resort, Lihue, Kauai. The best of Hawaii’s folk music (slack key guitar) performed by the best musicians in Hawaii. It’s 6 hours long and free. Go to www.slackkeyfestival.com or call [tel] 808/226-2697. Mid-November.
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Kailua-Kona, Big Island. Celebrate the coffee harvest with a bean-picking contest, lei contests, song and dance, and the Miss Kona Coffee Pageant. Go to www.konacoffeefest.com or call [tel] 808/326-7820. Events throughout November.
Hawaii International Film Festival, various locations throughout the state. This cinema festival with a cross-cultural spin features filmmakers from Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the United States. Go to www.hiff.org or call [tel] 808/792-1577. Mid-October to early November.
Na Mele O Maui, Maui. A traditional Hawaiian song competition for children in kindergarten through 12th grade, held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Free admission. Go to www.kaanapaliresort.com or call [tel] 808/661-3271 or 808/242-7469.
EA Sports Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament, Lahaina Civic Center, Lahaina. Elite college teams battle in this intimate annual preseason tournament. Go to www.mauiinvitational.com or call [tel] 847/480-4886. Thanksgiving weekend.
Invitational Wreath Exhibit, Volcano Art Center, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island. Thirty-plus artists, including painters, sculptors, glass artists, fiber artists, and potters, produce both whimsical and traditional “wreaths” for this exhibit. Park entrance fees apply. Go to www.volcanoartcenter.org or call [tel] 808/967-7565. Mid-November to early January.
Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing, North Shore, Oahu. The world’s top professional surfers compete in events for more than $1 million in prize money. Go to http://vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com or call [tel] 808/637-2245. Held between mid-November and mid-December, depending on the surf.
Kona Surf Film Festival,Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Big Island. An outdoor screening of independent films focusing on waves and wave riders. Go to www.konasurffilmfestival.org. Early December.
Festival of Lights, all islands. On Oahu, the mayor throws the switch to light up the 40-foot-tall Norfolk pine and other trees in front of Honolulu Hale, while on Maui, kids can play in a “snow zone” and make holiday crafts beneath the Lahaina Banyan tree, glowing with thousands of twinkle lights. Molokai celebrates with a host of activities in Kaunakakai; on Kauai, the lighting ceremony takes place in front of the former county building on Rice Street, in Lihue. Call [tel] 808/768-6622 on Oahu; [tel] 808/667-9175 on Maui; [tel] 808/553-4482 on Molokai; or [tel] 808/639-6571 on Kauai. Early December.
Honolulu Marathon, Honolulu, Oahu. More than 30,000 racers compete in this oceanfront marathon, one of the largest in the world. Check it out at www.honolulumarathon.org or call [tel] 808/734-7200. December 13, 2015.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Oahu. A Pac 10 team plays a Big 12 team in this nationally televised collegiate football classic. Go to www.sheratonhawaiibowl.com or call [tel] 808/523-3688. December 24.
First Light, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, Maui. The Maui Film Festival screens Academy Award–contending films over the holidays. Go to www.mauifilmfestival.com or call [tel] 808/579-9244. Mid- to late December.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.