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Hawaii: Whats on when?

There’s always something to see and do on Hawaii. Here we’ve listed some of Hawaii’s best known annual events.


Sony Open Golf Tournament

Hawaii is renowned for its excellent golf courses, so it’s no surprise it’s a popular destination for the world’s top golfers. Every year in January the island of Oahu hosts the Sony Open, the opening full-field PGA Tour event of the year, which attracts some of the biggest names in professional golf.


Maui Whales Festival

The island of Maui is one of the principal mating grounds for the majestic humpback whale. The whales approach the coast during the winter months, when excellent whale watching from land is possible. The Maui Whale Festival celebrates the whales and aims to educate visitors about their behaviour and natural history. Various whale watching points are set up during the festival, and these points are equipped with binoculars and telescopes to ensure you get the best possible view.


The Honolulu Festival

The Honolulu Festival is recognised as Hawaii’s most important cultural event. The festival is design to promote understanding, cooperation and tolerance between the people of the Pacific Rim. Held over three days on Oahu Island, it includes dance performances, art demonstrations and a parade. Admission is free, and the festival is a great way to explore the cultures of Polynesia, Asia and the indigenous Australasian people.


Merrie Monarch festival

The Merrie Monarch Festival is a week-long festival celebrating one of Hawaii’s most famous and popular monarchs – King David Kalakaua. The festival is held on the island of Hilo and includes numerous cultural exhibitions and shows, as well as a number of competitions – the hula competition is a favourite. All funds from the event are used to support the continued preservation of indigenous Hawaiian culture.


Lei Day

Lei Day is a public holiday that sees the island awash with colour as residents put on colourful flower garlands known as ‘leis’. Each island has a particular flower that represents it, and each island elects a king and queen to represent it for the day in a Lei Day Court. The day is fun and festive, and includes gift giving, hula dancing exhibitions and craft demonstrations.


Kamehameha Day

The Kamehameha Day festivities celebrate King Kamehameha the Great, the monarch responsible for uniting the islands of Hawaii. Floral parades take place throughout the islands, and the parades are typically followed by massive block parties with music, food and cultural exhibitions.


Annual Ukulele Festival

The ukulele – a four string guitar that comes in a variety of sizes and tones - is the sound of Hawaii. Every year the Ukulele Festival celebrates the history and cultural contribution of this musical instrument. Free concerts on Oahu showcase the skills of some of the island’s top amateur and professional ukulele players, drawing large crowds.


Maui Onion Festival

The island of Maui is home to the Kula onion, an important ingredient in Hawaiian cuisine. The Maui Onion Festival is a celebration of all things onion, and its biggest draw is its excellent fried onion rings. The event features cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, onion eating competitions and hula dancing.


Queen Liliuokalani Festival

The Queen Liliuokalani Festival celebrates the birthday of one of Hawaii’s most famous queens. The event, held on Hilo Island, is best known for its mass hula demonstration featuring hundreds of dancers, who are showered by orchid blossoms during the performances. The festival includes music, art exhibitions, food stalls and a variety of activities celebrating Hawaii’s Polynesian culture.



It’s easy to forget that Hawaii is part of the United States, but the islanders enjoy American festivals as much as their Polynesian celebrations. Halloween is one of the biggest annual events. Festivals are hosted across the islands, with haunted houses and villages opened to the public and the streets packed with revellers enjoying live bands, parades and theatrical performances.


Triple Crown of Surfing

A series of three major surfing tournaments take place between November and December, starting with the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa. If you’ve never seen professional surfers taking on some of the world’s most powerful waves, try to catch one of these events. Every year thousands of spectators flock to the beaches to watch the best surfers in the world flaunting their skills as they compete for some of the biggest prizes in international surfing.



If you want to escape the winter freeze, Hawaii makes for an idyllic destination to celebrate Christmas. The islands are in party mode, with street parades, boat parades, concerts, fairs and more. There’s also no better place to usher in the New Year then at a beach bar on Waikiki Beach.