List of annual events on the Big Island of Hawaii that have a connection to Hawaiian history and culture. Find a local Hawaiian festival during your stay on the Big Island and get the true local experience.
April – Merry Monarch Festival
This is the most sought-after event on the Big Island! It is a one week-long hula celebration and competition with festivities including exhibitions, musical entertainment, arts and crafts fairs and the Miss Aloha Hula Competition and kahiko (ancient) and ‘auana (modern) hula competitions. Expect most hotels to be full at the island so plan ahead if you are interested in some world-class hula. For more info call 808-935-9168 or visit their website.
May – May Day is Lei Day! Festival
This free family event is for residents and visitors of all ages to join in the creative and cultural tradition of making and wearing lei, which is deeply rooted in the Hawaiian culture. The annual event includes a lei contest, lei making demonstrations, hula performances, guided forest tours with cultural protocols for harvesting lei materials, talk story sessions, orchid and native plant sales, and food booths. For more info call 808-967-8222 or visit their website.
June – Kamehameha Festival
This Festival is part of the larger Kamehameha Day celebration that was first established in 1871 as a national holiday of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. Kamehameha Day was created to honor the memory of Kamehameha the Great (c. 1758-1819) who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 to became Hawai‘i’s first King.
The festival features features a ho‘olaule‘a with top Hawaii recording artists, hula hālau, various cultural presentations, Hawaiian chant competition, dance of the warrior exhibition, food, and art and crafts booth. For more info call 808-989-4844 or visit their website.
July – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival
This festival is created to perpetuate Hawaiian culture and promote appreciation of traditional values. Cultural practitioners lead demonstrations and provide hands-on learning opportunities for a wide variety of Hawaiian crafts, games, and foods. For more information visit their website.
July – Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival (Hilo)
Enjoy authentic Hawaiian music – including ukulele, slack key and steel guitar – and falsetto singing at this always popular two-day event featuring artists from around Hawaii. Call 808-935-9085 or visit their website for more information.
September – He Hali‘a Aloha No Ka Queen Lili‘uokalani Festival
This festival celebrates the birthday of Hawai‘i’s beloved Queen Lili‘uokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawai‘i and features Hula performances by worldwide hula hālau (schools). For more info call 808-961-8706.
November -Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival
A multi-day event celebrating hula and the hula arts, this festival features hula hālau (troupes) from Hawaii, Japan and elsewhere competing in kūpuna (senior), kahiko (ancient) and ‘auana (modern) hula divisions. Master instructors teach workshops and cultural classes throughout the event. For more info call 808-886-8822 or visit their website.
November – Moku O Keawe Kapa Festival
Kapa is the traditional Hawaiian art of bark cloth production and design. The event centers around a three-day kapa workshop for both expert and beginner kapa artists. Hawaiian arts, Hawaiian music, hula performances and food will create a festive atmosphere. Visitors can try their hand at kapa making as well. For info call 808-323-3318.