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Summertime is festival season all over the world, and Hawaii is certainly no exception. The days are long, and the twilight hour lingers lazily, pink and purple until darkness finally falls. We enjoy “festival weather” year round, but summer sees some of our favorite festivals come together. They center around food, art, books and music, film, and cultural celebrations, and they happen throughout the islands. If you’re visiting during the summer, chances are you’ll have a chance to experience one of the many diverse festivals we enjoy in Hawaii. Here are a few to consider.
Certainly one of the most uniquely “Hawaiian” annual festivals in the islands is the Ukulele Festival Hawaii, which takes place this year on Sunday, July 20 at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki. The festival attracts thousands, just a short walk from most Waikiki hotels. It is a hugely popular family event, attracting people from all over Oahu, the neighbor islands, the mainland and around the world. Also featuring workshops and abundant food, the highlight is a ukulele band comprised of over 800 children. The Ukulele Festival Hawaii has seen big-name musicians like Jack Johnson and James Ingram grace the stage, committing their talents to spreading love for Hawaii’s favorite instrument.
On the Big Island, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival will celebrate its 34th year on July 12. Featuring hula, music, abundant food, and cultural demonstrations and Hawaiian crafts, the family-friendly event is drug and alcohol free. Stock up on water and sunscreen, because you’re a lot closer to the sun at that altitude!
Over on Maui, the MayJah RayJah Music Festival brings reggae and Jawaiian music to the Valley Isle, with a host of local and major on the bill. This year’s event, taking place July 25-26 this year, will feature international reggae superstars Shaggy and J Boog. The venue, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, is an ideal festival ground, designed specifically for concert events like the MayJah RayJah.
On Saturday, August 9, Kauai’s Garden Isle Artisan Fair features over 40 local artisans and crafters displaying and selling their creations, from textiles to sculpture, jewelry to artisanal foods. It takes place in Kapaa, about halfway between Lihue and Hanalei. The outdoor, family event features food, live entertainment and Tahitian drumming, and a vast array of hand-crafted products created by Kauai’s artistic community, most of them made from locally-sourced materials.
These are just a few of the many festivals taking place throughout the islands over the summer months. There are certainly too many to list here, but a good place to see what festivals are happening this summer is this link: