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 www.waimeaoceanfilm.org or call 808/854-6095. First weekend after New Year’s Day.
PGA Tournament of Champions, Kapalua Resort, Maui. Top PGA golfers compete for $8.75 million purse. Go to www.pgatour.com/toc or call 808/665-9160. January 3–7.
Pacific Islands Arts Festival, Kapiolani Park, Honolulu, Oahu. This weekend fest features more than 75 artists and crafters, entertainment, food, and demonstrations. Free admission. Go to www.icb-web.net/haa or call 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), sporting competitions, crafts, and food. It’s a wonderful chance to experience ancient Hawaii. Ceremonial games start at 7:30am. Go to www.visitmolokai.com/wp/events-molokai-events-calendar or call 800/800-6367 or 808/553-3876. Late January.
Kauai Quilt Show, Lihue, Kauai. Quilting became an important creative outlet in the islands after the arrival of Western missionaries. Learn about Hawaii’s unique style of applique quilting and view modern takes on this lovely art. Go to www.kauaifestivals.com or call 808/652-2261. Throughout February.
Maui Whale Festival, Kalama Park, Kihei, Maui. A month-long celebration of Hawaii’s massive marine visitors, with a film festival, benefit gala, harbor party, whale-watches with experts, and the “great whale count.” Go to www.mauiwhalefestival.org or call 808/249-8811. Throughout February.
Waimea Town Celebration, Waimea, Kauai. This annual weeklong 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 ice cream eating and hat lei contests are just a few of the draws. Get details at www.waimeatowncelebration.com or call 808/651-5744. Weekend after Presidents’ Day weekend.
Sand Castle Esquisse, Kailua Beach Park, Oahu. Pull up a beach chair and watch University of Hawaii School of Architecture students compete against professional architects to see who can build the best, most unusual, and most outrageous sand sculpture. The building takes place 9am to noon; judging is noon to 1pm. Visit http://aias-hawaii.squarespace.com or call 808/956-7225. Mid-February.
Chinese New Year, most islands. In 2018, lion dancers will be snaking their way around the state on February 16, the start of the Chinese Year of the Dog. On Oahu, Honolulu’s Chinatown rolls out the red carpet for this fiery celebration with parades, pageants, and street festivals. Visit www.chinesechamber.com or call 808/533-3181. On Maui, lion dancers perform at the historic Wo Hing Temple on Front Street (http://visitlahaina.com). Call 888/310-1117 or 808/667-9175.
Narcissus Festival, Honolulu, Oahu. Taking place around the Chinese New Year, this cultural festival includes a queen pageant, cooking demonstrations, and a cultural fair. Visit www.chinesechamber.com or call 808/533-3181.
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 808/944-5711. Early to mid-February.
Buffalo’s Big Board Surfing Classic, Makaha Beach, Oahu. Now in its fourth decade, this thrilling contest features classic Hawaiian-style surfing, with longboard, tandem, and canoe surfing heats over several days. Go to www.buffalosurfingclassic.com or call 808/668-9712. Mid-February or early March.
Whale & Ocean Arts Festival, Lahaina, Maui. The entire town of Lahaina celebrates the annual migration of Pacific humpback whales with this weekend 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 http://visitlahaina.com or call 888/310-1117 or 808/667-9175. Early March.
Kona Brewers Festival, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel Lūau Grounds, Kailua-Kona, Big Island. This annual event features microbreweries from around the world, with beer tastings, food, and entertainment. Visit http://konabrewersfestival.com or call 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. Visit www.fosphawaii.ning.com/page/parade or call 808/926-1777 (Kelley O’Neil’s Pub). March 17.
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 weeklong festivities at various locations around the island; visit www.kauaifestivals.com for details. Week of March 26.
Celebration of the Arts, Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Kapalua Resort, Maui. Contemporary and traditional Hawaiian artists give free hands-on lessons during this 3-day festival, which also features song contests and rousing debates on what it means to be Hawaiian. Go to www.celebrationofthearts.org or call 808/669-6200. Easter weekend.
Maui County Ag Fest, Waikapū, 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 808/243-2290. First Saturday in April.
Buddha Day, Lahaina Jodo Mission, Lahaina, Maui. Each spring this historic mission holds a flower festival pageant honoring the birth of Buddha. Call 808/661-4304. 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 808/532-3720. April 1, 2018.
Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, Hilo, Big Island. Hawaii’s biggest, most prestigious hula festival features a week 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 book early. Go to www.merriemonarch.com or call 808/935-9168. Late March through early April.
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 808/264-1553. Last weekend in April.
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. It’s held in the Fairmont Orchid hotel. Go to www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com or call 808/329-0833. Late April–early May.
“I Love Kailua” Town Party. This 27-year-old neighborhood party fills Kailua Road with local crafts and specialty food booths, live music, jumping castles, and free health screenings. It’s a fundraiser for the local Outdoor Circle chapter, which uses the proceeds to preserve trees and natural spaces in Kailua and Lanikai. Visit www.facebook.com/ilovekailua or call 808/987-9196. Last Sunday 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.
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 Kapiolani Regional Park Bandstand. Go to www.facebook.com/leidaycelebration or call 808/768-3041. May 1.
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 800/367-7060. 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 808/947-2814. Last Monday in May.
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 808/532-3720. Last Monday in May.
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 http://uswindsurfing.org/maui-slalom-series/ or call Hi-Tech Surf Sports at 808/877-2111. Late May through June.
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.
Molokai Ka Hula Piko Festival, Mitchell Pauole 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, and featherwork. Go to www.kahulapiko.com or call 800/800-6367 or 808/553-3876. 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 http://hawaiilgbtlegacyfoundation.com or follow @honolulupride on Twitter. 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, ho‘olaulea (party), and much more. Oahu: 808/586-0333. Kauai: 808/651-6419. Big Island: www.konaparade.org 808/322-9944. Maui: http://visitlahaina.com or 808/667-9194. Molokai: 808/553-3876.
Maui Film Festival, Wailea Resort, Maui. Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca and… Maui! Hawaii is home to a major film festival, where movies are screened under the stars at a posh Wailea golf course. Five days of premiere screenings, celebrity awards, and lavish parties. Go to www.mauifilmfestival.com or call 808/579-9244. Early or mid-June.
King Kamehameha Hula Competition, Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, Oahu. This daylong hula competition features dancers from as far away as Japan, Canada, and Mexico. Go to www.blaisdellcenter.com or call 808/768-5252. Third weekend in June.
Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, Kapalua Resort, Maui. Big-time oenophiles and food experts gather at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua for 4 days of formal tastings, panel discussions, and samplings of new releases. The seafood finale ranks among the state’s best feasts. Go to http://kapaluawineandfoodfestival.com or call 800/KAPALUA (527-2582). Mid-June.
Lanai Pineapple Festival, Lanai City, Lanai. The local pineapple is long gone, but this 2-day festival celebrates the island’s plantation legacy, including a pineapple-eating contest, a pineapple-cooking contest, arts and crafts, food, music, and fireworks. Go to www.lanaipineapplefestival.com or call 808/565-7600. Late June/early July.
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% discount all week. Go to www.alamoanacenter.com/Events or call 808/955-9517. July 3–6.
Makawao Parade & Rodeo, Makawao, Maui. The annual parade and rodeo has been taking place in this upcountry cowboy town for 60 years. Good fun! Go to www.gohawaii.com/maui or call 808/572-9565. July 4.
Parker Ranch Rodeo, Waimea, Big Island. Head to the heart of cowboy country for a hot competition between local paniolo (cowboys). The arena accommodates 2,000 people and professional caterers supply food. Go to http://parkerranch.com or call 808/885-7311. July 4.
Ukulele Festival, Kapiolani Park Bandstand, Waikiki, Oahu. Now in its 47th year, this free concert features a ukulele orchestra of some 800 students, ages 4 to 92. Hawaii’s top musicians pitch in. Get the details at www.ukulelefestivalhawaii.org. Mid-July.
Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, 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 760/944-3854. Late July.
Queen Liliuokalani Keiki Hula Competition, Neal S. 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.keikihula.org or call 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 Hawaiian agricultural products (including dazzling orchids), educational and cultural exhibits, entertainment, and local food. Go to www.ekfernandez.com/events/50th.asp or call 808/682-5767. Late May through June.
Neil Pryde Hawaii State Championship, Kanaha Beach Park, Kahului, Maui. Top windsurfers compete in the final race of the series. Go to www.facebook.com/Maui-Race-Series-600081173346035 or call Hi-Tech Maui at 808/877-2111. Late July or early August.
Mango Festival, Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa, Kailua-Kona, Big Island. Few fruits rival a ripe mango for flavor. Sample multiple varieties, taste mango-laden recipes, and learn how to grow your own at this annual celebration of the golden fruit. Go to www.facebook.com/MangoFestivals or call 808/936-5233. 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 or call 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, stand-up paddling, and a luau. Visit www.dukesoceanfest.com. Mid- to late August.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. During this all-day, hands-on celebration, you can practice making lei or traditional Hawaiian musical instruments, watch hula dancers, and learn about rare native plants in the rainforests surrounding Kilauea volcano. See www.nps.gov/havo or call 808/985-6000. Late August
Aloha Festivals, various locations on all islands. Parades and other events celebrate Hawaiian culture and friendliness throughout the state. The parades with flower-decked horses are particularly eye-catching. Go to www.alohafestivals.com or call 808/923-2030. Throughout September.
Na Wahine O Ke Kai, Hale o Lono Harbor, Molokai to Waikiki, Oahu. The finale to the outrigger canoe season, this exciting race starts at sunrise on the remote shore of Molokai and travels 40 miles across the channel to end in triumphant festivities at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. For details, visit www.nawahineokekai.com. Late September.
Waikiki Roughwater Swim, Waikiki, Oahu. This popular 2.5-mile, open-ocean swim traces Sans Souci (Kaimana) Beach between the Natatorium and the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel in Waikiki. Early registration is encouraged, but last-minute entries on race day are allowed. Go to www.wrswim.com. Saturday, Labor Day weekend.
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 808/938-8577. Labor Day weekend.
Kapalua Open, Kapalua, Maui. This USTA–sanctioned event features the largest tennis purse for a tournament in the state. Registration includes a tennis tourney, dinner, raffle, and T-shirt (and trophy if you’re lucky!). Go to www.golfatkapalua.com/KapaluaTennisEvents.html or call 808/662-7730. Labor Day weekend.
Emalani Festival, Kokee State Park, Kaua’i. This culturally rich festival honors 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 808/335-9975. Second Saturday in October.
Maui County Fair, War Memorial Complex, Wailuku, Maui. Now in its 96th year, the oldest county fair in Hawaii features a parade, amusement rides, live entertainment, and exhibits. Go to www.mauifair.com or call 808/280-6889. Early October.
Hawaii Chocolate Festival, Honolulu, Oahu. Indulge your sweet tooth at this celebration of Hawaiian-grown cacao. Dozens of local vendors share their gourmet creations—everything from truffles and crepes to chocolate-scented soap. Go to http://hawaiichocolatefestival.com. Mid-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 808/329-0063. Saturday closest to the full moon in October.
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 808/922-5811. 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 (and win $105,000). After the race, athletes and friends celebrate at an awards dinner and adrenaline-fueled Halloween party. Go to www.xterraplanet.com/maui or call 877/751-8880. Late October.
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, multiple locations on Oahu, Hawaii, and Maui. Cofounded by Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi (two of the state’s most celebrated chefs), this 2-week gourmet bonanza includes wine and spirit tastings, cooking demos, field trips, and glitzy galas. See www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com or call 808/738-6245. Mid-October to 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 just $10. Go to www.kauaifestivals.com or call 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 http://konacoffeefest.com or call 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 808/792-1577. Mid-November.
Na Mele O Maui, Maui. A traditional Hawaiian song competition for children in kindergarten through 12th grade, sponsored by the Kaanapali Resort and held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Free admission. Go to www.mauiarts.org or call 808/242-7469. Late November or early December.
Maui Jim Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament, Lahaina Civic Center, Lahaina. Elite college teams battle for the ball in this intimate annual preseason tournament. Go to www.mauiinvitational.com. 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 808/967-7565. Mid-November to early January.
Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, North Shore, Oahu. The world’s top professional surfers compete in thrilling surf events for more than $1 million in prize money. Go to www.vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com. 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 or call 808/936-0089. 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 808/768-6622 on Oahu; 808/667-9175 on Maui; 808/553-4482 on Molokai; or 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, and receive medals and fresh malasadas (hole-less doughnuts) as a reward. Check it out at www.honolulumarathon.org or call 808/734-7200. Second Sunday of December.
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.thehawaiibowl.com or call 808/523-3688. Usually 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 808/579-9244. Mid- to late December.
Daylight Saving TimeMost of the United States observes daylight saving time, which lasts from 2am on the second Sunday in March to 2am on the first Sunday in November. Hawaii does not observe daylight saving time. So when daylight saving time is in effect in most of the U.S., Hawaii is 3 hours behind the West Coast and 6 hours behind the East Coast. When the U.S. reverts to standard time in November, Hawaii is 2 hours behind the West Coast and 5 hours behind the East Coast.
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.