Get out the sunscreen and beach towels because summer is finally here! While you can’t go wrong with a visit to Hawaiʻi in winter or spring, there’s nothing quite like a summer island getaway. Things move slower in the summer, with residents and visitors alike enjoying less traffic, more leisurely days and perfect weather for an outdoor adventure. Best of all, summer season means the return of festive, family friendly events across the state. From thrilling rodeo action to a festival dedicated to Hawaiʻi’s favorite fruit, you’ll always find something to do in paradise.
PC: HTA / Tor Johnson.
Mango Jam Honolulu
Mango is the star of the show at this free, two-day festival in Honolulu. Enjoy “A Taste of Island Culture” while you sample mango prepared many ways. In addition to the assortment of mango-inspired dishes and drinks up for grabs, you’ll also enjoy browsing Mango Row and Mango Market, where you can shop local vendors, crafts, produce and plants. Plus, watch two celebrity chefs battle it out in the first-ever Mango BBQ Cook Off! Entertainment continues on the Mango Stage, with performances by Kapena, Manaʻo Company, Josh Tatofi, Kapena Kids and more. The free festival fun takes place Friday, June 29, 4:30-9 p.m. and Saturday, June 30, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on the Frank F. Fasi Civic Center Grounds.
Sample a variety of tasty mango treats, like this delicious mango cheesecake lumpia by Heart to Table. PC: Shrace Lauren Riodil.
Makawao Rodeo & Parade
Makawao is the place to be for summer rodeo action on the Valley Isle. Presented by Maui Roping Club, this annual rodeo features a Bull Bash Friday and a full lineup of rodeo fun throughout the weekend. Cap off the festivities with a colorful parade through Makawao Town celebrating the island’s rich paniolo heritage. Grand entry starts 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 6, with a series of rodeo events continuing July 7-8 at Oskie Rice Arena. PC: Les Matsumoto / Makawao Rodeo Parade.
If you’re spending some time on the Big Island’s beautiful west side, you don’t want to miss Kokua Kailua! This monthly event transforms Aliʻi Drive into an outdoor marketplace, where passersby are invited to shop local vendors while enjoying live entertainment and delicious treats. This seaside village comes alive one Sunday every month, and there’s no better way to spend a summer afternoon than shopping, eating and walking amongst the Kailua-Kona community! The next Kokua Kailua is 1-6 p.m. on Sunday, July 15.
Spend a leisurely afternoon shopping along bustling Aliʻi Drive. PC: Kokua Kailua.
Kōloa Plantation Days
This July, venture to Kauaʻi’s south shore for Kōloa Plantation Days, a 10-day festival celebrating Hawaiʻi’s rich plantation history and the many ethnic groups that immigrated to Kauaʻi to work on sugar plantations. The festival kicks off with the 19th Annual Plantation Days Rodeo, featuring three busy days of Hawaiian-style rodeo action at CJM Country Stables. Come for the rodeo, then stay for a week of popular events like the Sunset Hoʻolauleʻa and the Annual Historic Kōloa Plantation Days Parade. Other events and cultural festivities take place July 20-29, 2018 at various venues around Kōloa and Poʻipū. PC: Chuck McKeand.
Prince Lot Hula Festival
Presented by Moanalua Gardens Foundation, the 41st Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival returns to the grounds of historic Iolani Palace, where visitors and locals alike gather for a weekend of premier hula performances. As the state’s largest non-competitive hula celebration, the Prince Lot Hula Festival draws the attention of hula afficionados everywhere, with hālau hula (groups) performing both kahiko (ancient) and ʻauana (contemporary) hula. While enjoying the festival, don’t forget to visit the merchandise booths, where you can purchase limited-edition t-shirts and souvenir buttons to support this annual tradition. It’s 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, July 21 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, July 22. PC: Moanalua Gardens Foundation.
Soto Zen Bon Festival
A beloved Kauaʻi tradition, the Soto Zen Bon Festival closes out the summer season of Obon in Hawaiʻi. This Buddhist religious festival is an annual event that honors and remembers our ancestors. Visitors and residents are invited to visit Soto Zen Temple for folk dancing around a yagura (raised platform), traditional kimono dress and live vocal and taiko (drum) performances. You also don’t want to miss sampling some of the popular festival food, including: Flying Saucers (a pita pocket grilled “Sloppy Joe” sandwich), Pronto Pup (a hot dog dipped in a pancake batter and deep fried), and Goteborg Rice Cup (thick salami sausage topped with white rice and furikake). Is your mouth watering yet? This year’s festival takes place 6-10:30 p.m. on August 3-4. PC: Mike Teruya.
Summer doesn’t last forever, so make the most of your time in paradise. For a complete list of happenings around the islands, visit our Events page. We can honestly say you will never be bored!