Check out these unique Hawaii festivals and events
As you’re planning the details of your meeting or incentive group’s time in Hawaii, here are a few suggestions. Encourage attendees to try out activities brand new to them or suggest they take part in a unique adventure only possible in the Islands. Experience the food, arts and history of the multitude of cultures that call the Hawaiian Islands home. Participate in outdoor or indoor activities unique to each of the islands, their towns and their residents. Or simply recommend they seek out one (or more) of Hawaii’s many great festivals and events happening throughout the year. Below are a few suggestions your attendees will enjoy and assure they “come back better” – that is, return home rejuvenated and invigorated by everything they experienced in Hawaii.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Island of Hawaii
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 ho‘olaule‘a filled with eats, arts and crafts, entertainment and, of course, even more Kona-grown-and-roasted coffees to sample.
As hosts to a variety of unique cultural attractions and one-of-a-kind experiences, the Hawaiian Islands 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.