Holidays and Local Festivals
Chinese New Year: Celebrate at Lahaina’s WoHing Temple or Wailuku’s Street Festival.
Great Maui Whale Festival: Maui’s longest-running celebration honors the humpback whales that visit every year. The festivities occur at Kalama Park in Kihei and include The Great Whale Count, live entertainment, a craft fair and food booths.
Valentine’s Day Orchid Show: The Maui Orchid Society hosts this show at the Queen Ka`ahumanu Center in Kahului.
Ocean Arts Festival: Lahaina celebrates the annual migration of the Pacific humpback whales with this two-day festival held at BanyanTree Park. Local artists display their ocean-oriented artwork and popular Hawaiian musicians provide entertainment. There is also a beach clean-up and marine-related games and activities.
Hoomau Annual Hawaiian Music Concert: Afull day of music and hula at the Maui Botanical Gardens Amphitheater in Wailuku. The concert benefits the Punana Leo O Maui Hawaiian immersion preschool.
Art Maui: The works of some of Maui’s best artists are presented at this annual juried show at the Maui Arts&Cultural Center in Wailuku.
East Maui Taro Festival: Atwo-day celebration of taro, a starchy Hawaiian root that is made into poi, an island staple. Held in Hana, the festival has poi-pounding demonstrations, a taro pancake breakfast, crafts and entertainment.
The `Ulupalakua Thing: This agriculture trade show and sampling highlights food products and provides entertainment at historic Ulupalakua Ranch.
Celebration of the Arts: The Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua host hands-on activities in hula, chant and the Hawaiian arts. There’s also a Hawaiian Lu`au with traditional foods and a concert with renowned island musicians.
No Ka Oi Square Dance Festival: This three-day festival is held at theWailuku Community Center.
Mother’s Day Orchid Show: Enjoy the Maui Orchid Society’s show of its prized plants at Queen Ka`ahumanu Center in Kahului.
The International Festival of Canoes Cultural Event: Islanders from around the Pacific show their canoe-carving skills, from log to launch, at this Lahaina festival. The event also includes artwork, a parade and entertainment.
Pa`ia Mantokuji Mission: This annual one-day bazaar offers ethnic foods, produce and other goodies.
Ka Hula Piko Festival (in Moloka`i): This festival celebrates the birth of hula and showcases Hawaii’s hula traditions in dance, chant and lectures. Enjoy Hawaiian entertainment, food and handmade crafts. Held at Papohaku Beach Park in Kaluakoi.
Upcountry Fair: This festival includes a chili cook-off, a livestock show, entertainment and an auction. Located at the EddieTam complex in Makawao.
Maui Film Festival Celestial Cinema: Watch the movies under the stars at the Wailea Resort. Other sites include a giant screen in the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Wailuku.
Maui Chamber Music Festival: Top classical musicians present chamber music at the Maui Arts & Cultural Centerin Wailuku.
Kamehameha Day: A parade through Lahaina’s Front Street includes floats, bands and horseback riders in this tribute to Hawaii’s first king.
Ki-Hoala Slack-key Festival: The state’s finest guitar musicians play at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Wailuku.
Natsu Matsuri: This Japanese Summer Festival offers everything from chopsticks to sushi, bon dancing and a Spam cook-off.
More Than Just Desserts: All the desserts you can eat plus champagne and a cheese table with an auction to benefit the Maui Humane Society.
Annual Paniolo Parade/Annual Makawao Rodeo: Held in Malawao, this traditional July 4th parade honors the Hawaiian cowboy tradition. The rodeo also begins on the 4th of July and hosts three days of rodeo events at the Oskie Rice Arena above Makawao.
Kapalua Wine & Food Festival: Held at the Kapalua Resort, the festival hosts Hawaii’s hottest chefs and premier winemakers for several days of wine tasting and gourmet meals. This is the longest-running food festival in Hawaii and is considered the most prestigious.
Lana`i Pineapple Festival: This festival held at Dole Park celebrates the island’s pineapple plantation days with an all day celebration of live entertainment, local food and craft booths. There are also pineapple eating and cooking contests followed by a fireworks display.
Sea Fest: All sorts of boats are displayed during this festival at the Maui Mall which is traditionally held the last weekend in July.
Ala Lani Big Bazaar: This Kahului church’s bazaar includes Tongan, Filipino and Korean foods.
The Maui Onion Festival: Complete with an onion-eating contest, this festival is held in early August in Whalers Village in Ka`anapali. The festival is held in Whaler’s Village and is a fun weekend with a farmers’ market, cooking demos and cooking competitions using the famous sweet onion.
The world-famous (maybe because it’s in Maui!) Maui Writers Conference is held every Labor Day weekend and is an opportunistic chance for wannabe writers to meet famous writers, editors and literary agents. This is a must for any aspiring writer.
Somos Amigos: This street festival is held inWailuku and celebrates the island’s Hispanic and Portuguese heritages.
A Taste of Lahaina:This is Maui’s largest culinary festival and showcases over 30 Lahaina restaurants as well as featuring a farmers’ market, a beer garden and a cooking demonstration. Held at the Lahaina Recreational Park II.
Maui Marathon: The 26.2-mile race begins in Kahului and ends in Ka`anapali. It is the oldest continuously held running event in Hawaii. There’s also a fitness expo and a 5k fun run/walk during the weekend festivities.
Garden Party: This adult-only (not what you’re thinking – it’s just that no kids are allowed) fundraiser for the Maui Academy of Performing Arts is held at an old plantation manager’s estate in Wailuku and includes wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, live music and an auction.
Life Fest Kapalua: An educational, entertaining and empowering forum with several well-known presenters discussing integrative medicine, Hawaiian healing, spa trends, beauty, nutrition and diet. In addition to lectures and panels, there is also a fundraising ocean canoe race, private workshops at the island’s largest health expo.
MauiFEST Hawaii: Acelebration of music, arts, culture and film held at the Hotel Hana-Maui. The outdoor festival is held all day with food booths and then movies at sunset.
Aloha Festivals: This statewide celebration is a series of Hawaiian cultural events including appearances by the Maui Royal Court, community celebrations and arts and craft displays throughout Maui, Lana`i and Moloka`i. Highlights of the festival include the Falsetto Contest in Wailea, Banyan Tree Ho`olaule`ain Lahaina, Hawaiian Festivalin Ka`anapali and a parade in Hana.
Maui County Fair: The fair begins with a parade down Ka`ahumanu Avenue and ends at the fairgrounds of theWar Memorial complex. The fair includes rides, games, food booths and entertainment.
Halloween in Lahaina: Over 30,000 dressed-up and dressed-down revelers travel to Lahaina to participate in this hedonistic town-wide costume party considered to be the Mardi Gras of the Pacific. Front Street is closed to vehicles for this holiday celebration, which begins with a children’s costume parade and ends with whatever-goes. Rooms in Lahaina need to be booked a year in advance and you want to stay in Lahaina because the police are in full force enforcing under-age drinking and drinking and driving regulations.
Hawaii International Film Festival: Films from around the Pacific are shown at various venues, with most of the showings held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.
Hula O Na Keiki: This two-day hula competition for dancers age five to 18 is held at the Ka`anapali Beach Hotel. This is Maui’s only children’s solo hula competition and the weekend also features workshops on chant and hula, arts and crafts displays and live entertainment.
Tree-lighting Ceremonies: A 25-foot-tall Christmas tree and dozens of pine and palm trees at the Kapalua Resort are illuminated at this event. There’s another tree-lighting ceremony in Lahaina as the landmark Banyan Tree is strewn with thousands of colored lights. There’s a real Snow Zone, complete with a snowman, Hawaiian entertainment and a holiday arts and crafts show.
Na Mele O Maui: This tribute to the culture of the Hawaiian people through song and art is held in Ka`anapali. Maui County students from kindergarten-12 th grade sing traditional songs in the Hawaiian language in this competition which raises scholarship funds.