Hawaii Festivals - January to December 2017

A month-by-month look at the major festivals and holidays in Hawaii

Humpback Whale Breaching
••• Humpback Whale Breaching. Photo Credit - Paul Souders/Getty Images

January

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 Years at the Mun Fa Cultural Plaza, Beretania and Maunakea Streets in Honolulu. Lots of entertainment, lion dance, food booths, pageants and more.

The Chinese Cultural Plaza on Beretania at River Street opens to the public and is transformed into a festival bazaar. Chinese Chamber of Commerce 533-3181.

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.

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 entire 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, the organizer of the Maui Whale Festival, at: 1-800-WHALE (1-808-856-8362).

Narcissus Festival
The Narcissus Festival is part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, and is held on O'ahu.

It features food stalls, arts and crafts, a beauty pageant and a coronation ball, and festivities last for five weeks.

Pacific Island Arts Festival
The annual Pacific Island Arts Festival on January 17-18, 2015, features more than 100 of Hawaii's finest artists and handcraft artisans. Located in Kapiolani Park across from the entrance to the Honolulu Zoo.

Admission is free.

February

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.

Narcissus Festival
The Narcissus Festival is part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, and is held on O'ahu. It features food stalls, arts and crafts, a beauty pageant and a coronation ball, and festivities last for five weeks.

Waimea Town Celebration Week
The aloha and unique character of the Waimea town come together for community events and the largest, held February 14-21, 2015, is the Waimea Town Celebration. This year the event is 35 years old and hosts more than 10,000 people in an eight-day flurry of events.

March

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.

Honolulu Festival
The Honolulu Festival was established in 1994, and is Hawaii's premier The Honolulu Festival was established in 1994 and is Hawaii's premier cultural event, promoting 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.

Each year, the Festival draws thousands of new and returning spectators who are looking for an experience beyond Hawaii. Through educational programs and activities sponsored by the Honolulu Festival Foundation, a non profit organization, the Festival continues to successfully share the rich and vibrant blend of Asia, Pacific and Hawaiian cultures with the rest of the world.

The Honolulu Festival is a wonderful addition to your Hawaiian vacation. The three day extravaganza occurs every year in March on a weekend from Friday through Sunday. Dance performances and traditional art demonstrations are displayed by artisans 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, Hawaii.

Honolulu Festival activities are held at various locations in the heart of the city, making them easily accessible to residents and visitors alike. Moreover, admission to all Festival events is free, ensuring that everyone can take part in the festivities.

Kona Brewer's Festival
The annual Kona Brewers Festival will take place from March 11-15, 2015 on Hawaii Island, the Big Island. Nearly 30 breweries offer more than 60 types of beer. Chefs from over twenty-five 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. Over the past few years the Festival has expanded to include more activities to entertain all: a Brewers Pa'ina Dinner, a Golf Tournament at the Kona Country Club, and a Run for Hops starting/ending at BMW Hawaii.

Narcissus Festival
The Narcissus Festival is part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, and is held on Oahu. It features food stalls, arts and crafts, a beauty pageant and a coronation ball, and festivities last for

Prince Kuhio Day
Prince Kuhio Day on March 26th is a State holiday honoring Hawaii's first delegate to the U.S. Congress, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole. The week-long festival featuring canoe races, music and dance, and a royal ball, are held on his native island of Kauai

St. Patrick's Day
Just because you're in Hawaii doesn't mean that you can't celebrate the Irish in you. Here are some great choices to celebrate St. Patrick's Day on Oahu.

January/March Festivals - April/June Festivals - July/September Festivals - October/December Festivals

April

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 2017 festival will take place from April 16-22, 2017, This is a week-long festival of cultural events including Hawaii's most prestigious hula competition at Edith Kanaka'ole Stadium in Hilo on Hawaii Island, 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 that begins at 6:00 p.m. Thursday is the solo Miss Aloha Hula competition, Friday and Saturday are the group Kahiko (ancient) and Auana (modern) hula competitions.

A grand parade winds through Hilo-town on Saturday morning.

May

Lei Day
May Day, or in Hawaii, Lei Day, is celebrated throughout the state, with everybody wearing a floral necklace (lei) for the day. The first day of the month is a flower spectacle as islanders wear flowers, take part in lei-making competitions, and crown a lei queen.

Maui Onion Festival
The annual Maui Onion Festival will take place on a May Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Special promotions and pre-event festivities begin Friday, May 1. We'll add more details as they become available.

Moloka'i Ka Hula Piko
Moloka'i Ka Hula Piko, held on Molokai on the first weekend in May, celebrates the birth of hula.

Hawaiian cultural demonstrations and visits to sacred sites are supported by traditional dance performances and plenty of Hawaiian food.

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.

Events are scheduled on both days of the festival. Among the highlights is the Saturday night Celebration luau, a Sunday Easter brunch and continuous hula and cultural performances.

June

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 36 years of fine food and wine with a four-day culinary extravaganza in 2017.

Inspired by innovation and excellence, the 36th annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival explores some the most exciting trends in the gastronomic world.

Master Sommeliers bring together world-renowned winemakers, top master sommeliers, 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 oceanside 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.

The 2015 Festival will take place from June 3-7, 2015.

Pan Pacific Festival
As many as 4,000 musicians, dancers and artists from Japan will 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.

January/March Festivals - April/June Festivals - July/September Festivals - October/December Festivals

July

Haleʻiwa Arts Festival
The Haleʻiwa Arts Festival non-profit organization will present its 18th Annual Fine Arts and Crafts celebration in July 2015, at Haleʻiwa Beach Park in Historic Haleʻiwa Town, on Oʻahu's beautiful North Shore.

This celebration of the arts features over 130 Juried Visual Artists from Oʻahu, the Neighbor 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 all additional favorites on this special. Admission, parking and all activities are free of charge.

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.

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 will take place on Saturday, July 5, 2015 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 July 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 an ukulele orchestra of more than 800 children.

The 2015 event will take place on July 19 from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

August

Aloha Festivals
Aloha Festivals is Hawaii's premier cultural showcase, a celebration of Hawaii's music, dance and history intended to preserve the unique island traditions. They are not only Hawaii's largest festival, but also America's only statewide multicultural celebration. The festivals run from August through October.

Made in Hawaii Festival
Scheduled for August 21-23, 2015 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall and Arena, 777 Ward Avenue, Honolulu, 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 & 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 celebration of Hawaii's music, dance and history intended to preserve the unique island traditions.

Aloha Festivals are not only Hawaii's largest festival, but also America's only statewide multicultural celebration.

The festivals run from August through October.

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 over 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 Oahu events will take place September 10-13, 2015.

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 lots 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 16th annual Queen Lili`uokalani Music Festival and Concert will take place on a date TBD in Lili’uokalani Gardens Park in Hilo.

This all-day festival has lots of music, arts, crafts food and a mass hula of over 500 dancers to honor Her Majesty Queen Liliʻuokalani.

January/March Festivals - April/June Festivals - July/September Festivals - October/December Festivals

 

October

Aloha Festivals
Aloha Festivals is Hawaii's premier cultural showcase, a celebration of Hawaii's music, dance and history intended to preserve the unique island traditions. They are not only Hawaii's largest festival, but also America's only statewide multicultural celebration. The festivals run from August through October.

Hawaii International Film Festival
The Hawaii International Film Festival took place from October 30-November 9, 2014 on Oahu and November 13-16, 2014 on Hawaii Island, the Big Island.

Dates and locations for 2015 have not yet been announced.

HIFF 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.

Over 30,000 revelers come to Front Street on Halloween night, which is closed to vehicle traffic from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

The annual children's costume parade down Front Street kicks-off the evening.

Ironman World Championship
The Ford Ironman Triathlon World Championship will be held in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 10, 2015.

Approximately 1,500 competitors will try 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 2015 Maui Fair will take place in October at the Wailuku War Memorial Complex.

The oldest and best fair in Hawaii features a parade on Thursday and a Friday & Saturday fair open until midnight with rides, games, exhibits, and entertainment on the Big Stage day and night.

Orchidland is an huge floral display. Photo Salon shows 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 & crafts tents and a huge food court with island specialties prepared by 50 non-profit groups.

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 2015 Festival will take place from November 6-15, 2015 in Kailua-Kona.

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 honor the multi-ethnic heritage of Kona coffee pioneers and their gourmet brew.

December

Honolulu City Lights
Celebrating its 31st year in 2015, "Honolulu City Lights" is the focal point for Oʻahu's Christmas celebration. Honolulu Hale (City Hall) and the Civic Center Grounds come alive with a 50-foot Christmas tree, wreath exhibits, giant Yuletide displays and live entertainment.

The popular "Kuʻu Home" plantation house in the Honolulu Hale Courtyard serves as "Santa's House" when he's in residence listening to wishes of island children.

A 40-foot train carrying two menehune that wraps around the Christmas tree.

Honolulu Marathon
The Honolulu Marathon will be held on Sunday, December 13, 2015 starting at 5:00 a.m. The Honolulu Marathon is held every year on the second Sunday of December.

Christmas Season Events

We have individual pages filled with information on events on the individual islands during the holiday season:

January/March Festivals - April/June Festivals - July/September Festivals - October/December Festivals