Experiencing Hawaii Through Its Festivals

Are you planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands? Most people think of pristine beaches and glorious sunsets when they think of Hawaii, but the Islands offer much more if a visitor is willing to step away from the popular tourist spots. The average visitor spends their time walking along Waikiki Beach, or watching the surfers along the North Shore. Locals, and savvy visitors, take in the many festivals that are part of the exciting Hawaiian culture. There is a festival happening almost every week in Hawaii. Each of these provides a picture of Hawaii’s unique history and culture.

Every year in August, the Made In Hawaii Festival is held on Oahu. This festival showcases products made in the Islands. Popular products include art, books, gifts, food, crafts, plants, fashion, and produce.

Another very popular festival is the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, which is usually held in the fall. Advertised as the premier epicurean event in the Pacific, this Festival is held on several islands over three different weekends. The Festival features internationally-renowned chefs, spirit and wine producers, and culinary personalities. The Festival showcases cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, exclusive dining opportunities, and one-of-a-kind excursions.

The Greek Festival of Hawaii presents visitors with an opportunity to experience the rich Greek culture of the Islands. This festival has taken place for more than 34 years and showcases dance, food, music, and cooking demonstrations.

The Festivals of Aloha are held on multiple islands and have celebrated Hawaiian heritage for more than 50 years. This is one festival that brings Hawaiian communities together as one. Each festival includes a royal court, a dance, games, grinds, and entertainment. These festivals are held in the fall.

The Hawaiian International Film Festival is another must-do for visitors, especially those who love the movies. This festival celebrates cinema originating in the Asia-Pacific region. New and emerging talent are recognized with a hope of increased career development. Festival programmers view up to 1,000 films and select 150 to be filmed at the Festival. These include feature-length movies, film shorts, and documentaries. There are also workshops and seminars, along with special award presentations.

The Honolulu Festival is Oahu’s premier cultural event. It is held annually and focuses on promoting understanding, ethnic harmony, and economic cooperation between the rest of the Pacific Rim and the Hawaiian Islands. The Festival features traditional art and performances, a parade and a craft fair.

One of the most unique Hawaiian festivals is the Waikiki Spam Jam. This is a street festival held every spring to celebrate the Hawaiian people’s love of Spam. Attendees are offered countless food options and innovative ways to eat this staple of Hawaiian cuisine. The festival attracts more than 25,000 people annually and completely closes Kalakaua Avenue in downtown Honolulu.

If you’ve ever visited Hawaii, chances are you’ve tried Kona coffee. Hawaii is the only place coffee is grown within the United States, and Kona is king. This festival celebrates Hawaii’s coffee heritage and industry, and is held in the fall.

Visitors to Hawaii should take the opportunity to experience some of these wonderful Hawaiian festivals. Each provides insight into the rich heritage and culture of the Islands.

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