Annual Events in Honolulu
Make the most of Honolulu’s vibrant culture by including local events and festivals into your travel itinerary. In comparison to the other islands in the state, Honolulu hosts more events, including parades, concerts, art festivals, gourmet feasts, and sports tournaments, than any other. Take in the sights and sounds of Honolulu’s vibrant arts scene, watch traditional hula and professional surfing, or sample the cuisine of the island’s distinctive and diversified culinary scene. In this section, you’ll find a sampling of the various festivals and events you’ll find in Honolulu, with a more comprehensive listing available at Honolulu Events.
The Honolulu Festival, one of the state’s most prominent cultural events, seeks to promote harmony between the people of Hawaii and the people of the Pacific Rim. A non-profit foundation sponsors the festival, which has been held annually since 1995 and features dance performances and traditional art demonstrations from nations bordering the Pacific Ocean. The festival is free and open to the public. The festival is held over the course of a weekend (typically in early March) and draws both locals and visitors alike. End of the festival is celebrated by a big procession down busy Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki and an impressive fireworks display over the Pacific Ocean to cap up the celebrations.
In Hawaii, the first day of May is celebrated as Lei Day. The statewide celebration honors the aloha spirit of the Hawaiian people as well as the emblematic flower lei. Each Hawaiian island has its own form of lei, which means that if you visit to Hawaii at that particular period, you will be able to experience a little bit of each island’s own distinct culture as well. Additionally, each island celebrates the festival in its own way with lei-making competitions, live music, cultural performances, and the selection of the Lei Queen, who is chosen based on her lei-making skills, hula dancing abilities, and knowledge of Hawaiian language. One of the most important events takes place on Oahu, on the beach in front of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, and it includes live Hawaiian music, canoe rides, and other activities.
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
When Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, two of Hawaii’s most beloved James Beard Award-winning chefs, came together to create the Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival in 1998, they were the first to participate. Over 150 internationally famous culinary professionals, celebrity chefs, and wine producers will be on hand for the two-week event, which will take place in San Francisco. One of the primary goals of this October event is to highlight and celebrate Hawaii’s rich culinary history and link with the land, as well as the tie between the land and food. Displays, eating events, and wine tastings seek to emphasize the unique wealth of the islands, which includes everything from produce to protein.