Annual Festivals in Hawaii From January to December

A Month-by-Month Roundup of Major Events in Hawaii

Festival of Lights, Kauai
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January Events in Hawaii

Cherry Blossom Festival
The Cherry Blossom Festival takes place over three months, continuing into March. The festival features a variety of Japanese cultural events, most of which occur on O'ahu.

Ka Moloka'i Makahiki Festival
Ka Moloka'i Makahiki, on Moloka'i, is a week-long celebration featuring a fishing contest, Hawaiian games and sporting events, Hawaiian music, and hula dancing.

Pacific Island Arts Festival
The annual Pacific Island Arts Festival, located in Kapiolani Park across from the entrance to the Honolulu Zoo, features more than 100 of Hawaii's finest artists and handicraft artisans. Admission is free.

February Events in Hawaii

Cherry Blossom Festival
The Cherry Blossom Festival takes place over three months, continuing into March. The festival features a variety of Japanese cultural events, most of which occur on O'ahu.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Celebrate the Chinese New Year at the Mun Fa Cultural Plaza at the corner of Beretania and Maunakea Streets in Honolulu. Plenty of entertainment, a lion dance, food booths, pageants, and more take place at this festival bazaar open to the public. Call the Chinese Chamber of Commerce at (808) 533-3181 for more information.

Maui Whale Festival
It takes a big celebration to honor these 40-ton marine mammals, which is why the Maui Whale Festival takes place during the months of January and February, complete with a Run for the Whales, a Parade of Whales, a free "Whale Day" festival-in-the-park, special talks and slideshows, and more.

To learn more, call the nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation, organizer of the Maui Whale Festival, at 1-800-WHALE (1-808-856-8362).

Narcissus Festival
The Narcissus Festival, part of the Chinese New Year celebration, takes place on O'ahu. It features food stalls, arts and crafts, a beauty pageant, and a coronation ball.

The festivities last for five weeks.

Waimea Town Celebration Week
The aloha and unique character of the Waimea town come together for community events, the largest being the Waimea Town Celebration. This annual event hosts more than 10,000 people in an eight-day flurry of activities.

March Events in Hawaii

Cherry Blossom Festival
The Cherry Blossom Festival takes place over three months, continuing into March. The festival features a variety of Japanese cultural events, most of which occur on O'ahu.

Hawaii Invitational International Music Festival
High school, junior high, college band, and pageantry units perform in competition for two weeks in Waikiki. The festival features free concerts in the park and the annual "Salute to Youth" parade on Kalakaua Avenue. Participants from Hawaii, the mainland, and around the world take part in the largest spring break festival on Oahu. Admission to all events is free and visitors are welcome.

Honolulu Festival
The Honolulu Festival, Hawaii's premier cultural event, promotes understanding, economic cooperation, and ethnic harmony between the people of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim region. The first Honolulu Festival was held in 1995 and attracted more than 87,500 residents and visitors.

Through free educational programs and activities sponsored by the Honolulu Festival Foundation, a nonprofit organization, the festival continues to share the rich and vibrant blend of Asian, Pacific, and Hawaiian cultures with the rest of the world. Events are held at various locations downtown and include dance performances and traditional art demonstrations from Japan, Australia, Tahiti, Philippines, Republic of China (Taiwan), Korea, Hawaii, and the rest of the United States. The festival culminates with a spectacular parade down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki.

Kona Brewer's Festival
The annual Kona Brewers Festival takes place on the Big Island. Nearly 30 breweries offer more than 60 types of beer. Chefs from more than 25 restaurants serve culinary creations on the shores of Kailua Bay at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel.

The festival features live music, contests, fire dancers, a "Trash Fashion Show," and more.

Prince Kuhio Festival 
Prince Kuhio Day honors Hawaii's first delegate to the U.S. Congress, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole. A week-long festival featuring canoe races, music, and dance, and a royal ball takes place on his native island of Kauai.

April Events in Hawaii

Hawaii Invitational International Music Festival
High school, junior high, college band, and pageantry units perform in competition for two weeks in Waikiki. The festival features free concerts in the park and the annual "Salute to Youth" parade on Kalakaua Avenue. Participants from Hawaii, the mainland, and around the world take part in the largest spring break festival on Oahu. Admission to all events is free and visitors are welcome.

Merrie Monarch Festival
The Merrie Monarch Festival takes place annually during the week following Easter. The week-long festival of cultural events includes Hawaii's most prestigious hula competition at Edith Kanaka'ole Stadium in Hilo on the Big Island.

The festival begins with a Ho'olaule'a on Moku Ola (Coconut Island) on Easter Sunday. On Wednesday there is a free exhibition night at the stadium begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday of that week. The solo Miss Aloha Hula competition takes place on Thursday, with the group Kahiko (ancient) and Auana (modern) hula competitions on Friday and Saturday. A grand parade winds through Hilo-town on Saturday morning.

May Events in Hawaii

Lei Day
The first day of May turns into a flower spectacle as islanders all wear a flower necklace (called a lei), take part in lei-making competitions, and crown a lei queen.

Celebration of the Arts Festival
Celebration of the Arts at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua Resort on Maui is Hawaii's premiere hands-on arts and cultural festival. Kama'aina (local residents) and visitors are invited to experience the "Hawaiian heart and soul" through interaction with artisans, cultural practitioners, workshops, films, food, and music.

June Events in Hawaii

Kamehameha Day Celebration
King Kamehameha Day is the holiday established during the monarchy and observed continually since its establishment by royal proclamation in 1871. The day is celebrated to honor King Kamehameha I, who stands as an exponent of Hawaiian self-determination.

While the holiday is celebrated throughout the islands, nowhere is it celebrated more than on Hawaii Island, the Big Island, where thousands of people gather in North Kohala each June 11 to honor the chief who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1795.

Kapalua Wine and Food Festival
The Kapalua Wine and Food Festival, the longest-running and most prestigious festival of its kind in Hawaii, celebrates fine food and wine with a four-day culinary extravaganza. Inspired by innovation and excellence, the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival explores some of the most exciting trends in the gastronomic world.

Master sommeliers bring together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs, and industry insiders in fun, themed tastings, seminars, and gala evening events. Cooking demonstrations, wine-tasting seminars, and winemaker dinners are but a few of the highlights of this trend-setting event.

Maui Film Festival
The Maui Film Festival at Wailea features film premieres at the under-the-stars Dolby-Digital equipped Celestial Cinema and toes-in-the-sand ocean-side silent film venue, The SandDance Theater, as well as at the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and the Maui Digital Theater. Special food and wine events including the Taste of Wailea plus filmmakers panels and special screenings complete the event.

Moloka'i Ka Hula Piko
Moloka'i Ka Hula Piko, held on Molokai each spring, celebrates the birth of hula. Hawaiian cultural demonstrations and visits to sacred sites are supported by traditional dance performances and plenty of Hawaiian food.

Pan-Pacific Festival
As many as 4,000 musicians, dancers, and artists from Japan join scores of their peers in Hawaii to present a variety of entertaining events; most are free. Since its inception in 1980, the mission of the Pan-Pacific Festival in Hawaii has been to promote inter-cultural friendship and overcome language and geographic barriers through shared interests. Today, the festival is one of Hawaii's largest cultural events.

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau Cultural Festival
The Pu'uhonua O Honaunau Cultural Festival is held late June/early July at the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. Festivities include a royal court, hula and traditional craft displays, and seine net fishing. For more information on the event, call (808) 882-7218.

July

Haleʻiwa Arts Festival
The Haleʻiwa Arts Festival non-profit organization presents its Annual Fine Arts and Crafts celebration at Haleʻiwa Beach Park in Historic Haleʻiwa Town, on Oʻahu's beautiful North Shore.

This celebration of the arts features more than 130 juried visual artists from Oʻahu and neighboring islands, plus several mainland and international locations. The performance stage showcases two full days of musicians, singers, dancers, and storytellers. Cultural history trolley tours, student art displays, art demonstrations, and children's art activities are additional favorites. Admission, parking, and all activities are free of charge.

Makawao Rodeo
The largest rodeo of the year in Hawaii takes place each year on the 4th of July. With more than 350 cowboys from all over the world, the rodeo livens up Oskie Rice Rodeo Arena, a mile above Makawao town, on Olinda Road at Kaanaolo Ranch on Maui.

This Hawaiian-style rodeo, with rough stock and roping events, features rodeo clowns. Before and after the rodeo, enjoy live entertainment and country western dancing.

Parker Ranch Rodeo and Horse Races
This exciting annual event takes place at the Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena in Waimea. The rodeo is a fundraiser to provide scholarships for school-age children of Parker Ranch employees. Pre-sale tickets for $7 are available at the Parker Ranch Store and Parker Ranch Headquarters. Tickets will be available at the gate for $10. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Call (808) 885-7311 for details.

Prince Lot Hula Festival
The Prince Lot Hula Festival is held annually on the third Saturday of July at the Moanalua Gardens in Honolulu, Oʻahu. The festival is named after Prince Lot, who reigned as King Kamehameha V from 1863 to 1872 in Hawaii. Noted for his energy, perseverance, and strength of will, he promoted the resurgence and preservation of Hawaiian culture in the face of Western criticism.

In keeping with Prince Lot's resolve to perpetuate his culture, MGF started and continues to produce the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival, considered to be the largest and oldest non-competitive hula event in the islands.

Ukulele Festival Hawaii
Held annually at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki, the Ukulele Festival attracts thousands of residents and visitors to a free six-hour concert that showcases many of the finest ukulele players in the world, along with Hawaii's top entertainers, national celebrities, and a ukulele orchestra of more than 800 children.

August

Korean Festival
See live Korean dance performances, taekwondo (Korean martial arts) demonstrations, and cultural exhibits of Korean artifacts and memorabilia. Taste a savory, mouth-watering sampling of Korean cuisine, including favorites such as kalbi (BBQ shortribs), bibim gooksoo (spicy mixed noodles), and kim chi fried rice. Listen to the sound of sogochum (Korean drum dance) and live singers performing traditional and popular Korean songs.

Made in Hawaii Festival
The "Made in Hawaii Festival" features a dazzling array of hot new finds and old favorites of made-in-Hawaii merchandise from some 400 exhibitors representing Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi, and the Big Island. Products include apparel, arts and crafts, bath and body products, books, flowers, gourmet food and wine, hats, home accessories, handcrafted jewelry, lau hala (woven Pandanus leaves) wares, porcelain and pottery, stationery, tabletop fountains, tropical plants and produce, woodwork, and works of art.

Statehood Day
Statehood Day is a state holiday celebrated on the third Friday of the month, observing the anniversary of Hawaiian statehood.

September

Aloha Festivals
Aloha Festivals is Hawaii's premier cultural showcase, a month-long celebration of Hawaii's music, dance, and history intended to preserve the unique island traditions. Hawaii's largest festival, which stretches from September into October, is also America's only statewide multicultural celebration.

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

The Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival is the premier epicurean destination event in the Pacific. This seven-day festival features a roster of more than 80 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers.

Co-founded by two of Hawai‘i’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, the festival takes place over a two-week period on Hawai‘i Island, Maui, and Oahu at the Ko Olina Resort. The festival showcases wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions, and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting the state’s bounty of local produce, seafood, beef, and poultry.  

Kauaʻi Mokihana Festival
Scheduled during the last full week in September, this full-week festival includes a lot of exciting workshops, contests, music, folk crafts, and Hawaiian language as Kauaʻi celebrates its culture. The mission of the Kauaʻi Mokihana Festival is to provide an event that educates, promotes, preserves, and perpetuates the Hawaiian culture through its varied activities and for all people.

Queen Lili`uokalani Music Festival and Concert
The annual Queen Lili`uokalani Music Festival and Concert takes place in Lili’uokalani Gardens Park in Hilo. This all-day festival combines music, arts, crafts, food, and a mass hula of more than 500 dancers to honor Her Majesty Queen Liliʻuokalani.

October

Aloha Festivals
Aloha Festivals is Hawaii's premier cultural showcase, a month-long celebration of Hawaii's music, dance, and history intended to preserve the unique island traditions. Hawaii's largest festival, which stretches from September into October, is also America's only statewide multicultural celebration.

Hawaii International Film Festival
The Hawaii International Film Festival is unique in discovering features and documentaries from Asia made by Asians, films about the Pacific made by Pacific Islanders, and films made by Hawaii filmmakers that present Hawaii in a culturally accurate way.

Halloween in Lahaina
Celebrated since 1990 as the "Mardi Gras of the Pacific," this is more than just a night on the town in costume. More than 30,000 revelers come to Front Street on Halloween night, which is closed to vehicle traffic from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The annual children's costume parade down Front Street kicks-off the evening.

Ironman World Championship
The Ford Ironman Triathlon World Championship takes place in Kailua-Kona. Approximately 1,500 competitors attempt to complete a 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bike race, and 26.2-mile run. Competitors have 17 hours to finish the race.

Maui Fair
The Maui Fair takes place at the Wailuku War Memorial Complex. The oldest and best fair in Hawaii features a parade on Thursday and a Friday and Saturday fair open until midnight with rides, games, exhibits, and entertainment on the big stage day and night.

Orchidland is a huge floral display. Photo Salon displays photos from around the state. There are horticulture and homemakers exhibits, a healthy baby contest, a livestock tent with paniolo entertainment, a better-living tent, arts and crafts tents, and a huge food court with island specialties prepared by 50 non-profit groups. For more information, call 808-242-2721

Princess Kaʻiulani Keiki Hula Festival
A week-long celebration honoring Princess Victoria Ka'iulani is held mid-October at the Sheraton Princess Kaʻiulani Hotel in Waikiki and includes the Princess Kaʻiulani Keiki Hula Festival.

November

Kona Coffee Festival
The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is Hawaii's oldest festival held over a two-week period. The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is recognized as the oldest and most successful product festival in Hawaii and is the only coffee festival in the United States.

This 10-day festival is filled with more than 30 community events honoring the multi-ethnic heritage of Kona coffee pioneers and their gourmet brew.

December

Honolulu City Lights

Celebrating its 34th year in 2018, the Honolulu City Lights festival anchors Oʻahu's Christmas celebration. At the opening night festivities, Honolulu Hale (City Hall) on King Street and the Frank S. Fasi Civic Center grounds come alive from 6 to 11 p.m. with the lighting of a 50-foot Christmas tree, wreath exhibits, giant Yuletide displays, a parade, and live entertainment.

Honolulu Marathon

The Honolulu Marathon, the fourth largest in the U. S., takes place in December, with 2018 marking the event’s 46th year. The starting gun fires at 5 a.m. at the corner of Ala Moana Boulevard and Queen Street. There is no time limit and no limit on the number of participants, making this a worthy challenge for beginners and seasoned runners alike.

Christmas Season Events

Island hoppers can find festive events on nearly every island during the holiday season.