If you’re planning some time in the Hawaiian Islands for your meeting or incentive group, encourage attendees to try something brand new to them or take part in a unique adventure only possible in Hawaii. Experience the food, arts and history of the multitude of cultures that call the Islands home. Participate in outdoor or indoor activities unique to each of the islands, their towns and their residents. Or simply seek out one (or more) of Hawaii’s many great festivals and events happening throughout the year. Need a few suggestions? Read on.
- Waikiki Spam Jam Festival (April) – This annual street festival celebrates Hawaii’s longtime appreciation of Spam and everything culinary that can be created with the canned pink luncheon meat. The all-ages-friendly Waikiki event features local restaurants and chefs offering unique and creative Spam dishes, as well as entertainment stages, works for sale from Hawaii artisans and, of course, lots of Spam eats and paraphernalia for purchase. Proceeds raised benefit the nonprofit Hawaii Foodbank. spamjamhawaii.com
- Prince Lot Hula Festival (July) – Named in honor of Lot Kupuaiwa, who reigned as Hawaii monarch Kamehameha V, this community festival at downtown Honolulu’s Iolani Palace brings together halau hula (hula schools) from communities throughout the Islands for two days of hula performances. The festival also includes Hawaiian cultural demonstrations, local foods, traditional games, lomilomi massages, and arts and crafts, including lauhala (pandanus leaf) weaving, and kapa (bark) and ipu (gourd drum) making. www.moanaluagardensfoundation.org
- Aloha Festivals (September) – Annually celebrating the diverse traditions of Hawaii’s multiple cultures – and especially, the Islands’ indigenous Hawaiian culture – through music, dance, food, arts and history, Aloha Festivals is packed with pageantry, parades, concerts and family activities. Its biggest events include a multi-block Waikiki hoolaulea (celebration) and colorful floral parade. www.alohafestivals.com
- Prince Kuhio Day Celebration (March) – The Anahola Prince Kuhio Day Celebration annually honors the life of turn-of-the-20th-century Hawaii Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole and his legacy as a leader and advocate for Native Hawaiians, and founder of local government systems still in place in modern Hawaii. Attendees of the annual celebration at Kauai’s Anahola Beach Park are welcome to participate in a day of fun-filled activities, hula and live music, educational and cultural exhibits, and food and craft booths. www.princekuhiodaycelebration.com
- Koloa Plantation Days (July) – Held in the Kauai district where Hawaii’s first sugar plantation and mill were founded in 1835, Koloa Plantation Days offers a lively, family-oriented schedule of events celebrating the Koloa district’s rich agricultural history and the diverse multicultural traditions of its residents. The 10-day event features everything from sports contests and a town celebration day, to nature hikes, movies in the park, a rodeo and a parade through main street Koloa. www.koloaplantationdays.com
- Celebration of the Arts (March/April) – Held annually at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua resort, Celebration of the Arts is a participatory Hawaiian arts and cultural festival celebrating and discussing the past, present and future of the culture. The festival welcomes residents and visitors to experience and learn about Hawaiian culture through interactions and interactive activities with artisans, cultural practitioners, thought leaders, filmmakers, educators and entertainers in a setting of open discussion. www.kapaluacelebrationofthearts.com
- East Maui Taro Festival (April) – This annual event in the east Maui community of Hana offers one of the single best places to taste a variety of ono (delicious) eats showcasing taro. Celebrating the multiple uses of the staple food source of the Native Hawaiian diet, as well the agricultural bounty of the island’s east side, the festival offers attendees opportunities to participate in taro-pounding demonstrations, learn all things taro-related, sample delicious locally-sourced dishes, and catch hula performances, live music and other cultural activities. www.tarofestival.org
- Maui Film Festival (June) – Equal parts film and food fest, this star-studded series of events pairs grazing dinners featuring cuisine from the island’s top chefs with screenings of great films from around the world at gatherings in the Wailea resort area and the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Events include the Taste of Summer Opening Party, Taste of Wailea grazing dinner, and Celestial Cinema – the last of these featuring under-the-stars film screenings on the Wailea Golf Course. The five-day festival schedule also includes film premieres, gala parties, celebrity appearances, and lots of live entertainment, music and dance. www.mauifilmfestival.com
ISLAND OF HAWAII
- Panaewa Stampede Rodeo (February) – This amateur rodeo features adult, keiki (child) and kupuna (elder) roping and riding competitions, and showcases Hawaii’s storied paniolo (cowboy) culture. Held at the Panaewa Equestrian Center near Hilo, the popular three-day weekend event includes team roping, barrel racing, bronco riding and bull riding, all alongside food and craft booths, and interactive demonstrations. www.hawaiirodeostampede.com
- Kona Coffee Cultural Festival (November) – One of Hawaii’s longest-running food festivals, this celebration of the coffee bean, farmers and roasters that made the southwest region of the island famous features 10 days of events spotlighting Kona’s typically bright, sweet and subtly fruity award-winning java. The fest schedule includes tastings, coffee plantation and mill tours, harvesting and cupping competitions, an evening lantern parade through Kailua-Kona town, recipe contests and food events, a half-marathon, art strolls, a Miss Kona Coffee scholarship pageant, and a daylong town hoolaulea filled with eats, arts and crafts, entertainment and, of course, even more Kona-grown-and-roasted coffees to sample. www.konacoffeefest.com
As hosts to a variety of unique cultural attractions and one-of-a-kind experiences, the islands of Hawaii offer countless amazing ways to craft a rewarding itinerary filled with cultural experiences without having to lose the conveniences of traveling within the United States. For additional information or ideas on how to plan your next visit, please visit www.meethawaii.com.
About Meet Hawai‘i
Meet Hawai‘i is a collaboration of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), HTA’s Global Marketing Team and the Hawai‘i Convention Center (HCC) to reinforce the brand of the Hawaiian Islands as a world-class destination for global business meetings, conventions and incentive programs. The marketing efforts of the Meet Hawai‘i team are overseen by HTA, the state of Hawai‘i’s tourism agency. HTA was established in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry well into the future. Its mission is to strategically manage Hawai‘i tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with the state of Hawai‘i’s economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires and visitor industry needs.
Special note to media: HTA recognizes the use of the ‘okina [‘] or glottal stop, one of the eight consonants of the (modern) Hawaiian language; and the kahakō [ā] or macron (e.g., in Hawai‘i place names such as Lāna‘i). However, HTA respects the individual use of these markings for names of organizations and businesses.
Anthology Marketing Group
Anthology Marketing Group