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Hawai’i’s must see events in 2017

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Nestled in the very heart of the Pacific, the Hawaiian Islands have been able to retain their unique history and culture that contrasts dramatically with other US states. Hawai’i’s events calendar for 2017 is full to the brim with opportunities to awaken those taste buds, to uncover Hawai’i’s traditional art and culture and to explore the different personalities and landscapes of each island.

Key highlights include:
POW! WOW Hawai’i, 11th to 18th February 2017
After touring the globe and beautifying the streets of eight different cities, the contemporary art initiative POW! WOW! is returning to its hometown in O’ahu for its 2017 festivities. Artists and musicians will gather at the Kaka’ako neighbourhood to create new murals and installations. Visitors can enjoy such activities as a block party, a night market, an exhibition curated by Thinkspace at the Honolulu Museum of Art, “Art to the Pitch” soccer tournaments and break dancing battles. powwowhawaii.com

Pana’ewa Stamplede Rodeo, 18th to 20th February 2017
The 2017 Pana’ewa Stampede Rodeo is a three-day event that will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next month. Visitors will be able to watch Paniolo (cowboys and cowgirls) from Hawai’i, the US mainland and Canada competing for money, buckles, saddles and bragging rights. This rodeo is different from all other rodeos around the world because of its Paniolo cultural history that is uniquely Hawaiian. hawaiirodeostampede.com

Waimea Town Celebration: Heritage of Aloha Festival, 18th to 25th February 2017
Kaua?i’s largest and oldest annual festival on the west side of the island,  Waimea Town Celebration provides eight days of culturally diverse events for visitors and kama’aina to discover, experience, and honour Hawai’i’s diverse culture. Such activities include: hula shows, Hawaiian music performances, a lively rodeo, a long distance canoe race, basketball tournaments, ‘ukulele contests and cultural exhibits. waimeatowncelebration.com

Honolulu Biennial, 8th March to 8th May, 2017
Honolulu Biennial features a mixture of commissions, loaned works, and site-responsive installations created by over 30 Native Hawaiian, Hawaii-based, national and international artists, in addition to a variety of public programs and educational workshops that will run concurrently with Honolulu Biennial. It takes place in a variety of locations throughout Honolulu, with “The HUB,” located at Ward Village in a former Sports Authority is the central exhibition location. http://www.honolulubiennial.org

Honolulu Festival, 10th to 12th March 2017
Celebrating its 23rd anniversary, the Honolulu Festival promotes understanding, cooperation and harmony between the different cultures of Asia, the Pacific and Hawai’i. Performers and artists from Japan, Australia, Tahiti, Philippines, Taiwan, Korea, Hawai’i and the rest of the United States will showcase their talents across Waikiki, O’ahu at free events throughout the three day festival, with everyone gathering at the end to take part in the grand parade down Kalakaua Avenue. honolulufestival.com

Prince Kuhio Festival, 25th March 2017
The Prince Kuhio Festival is a celebration of the life of Prince Kuhio, who was a prince of the reigning House of Kalakaua when the government of Queen Lili’uokalani was illegally overthrown in 1893. He later became a politician and founded the first Hawaiian Civic Club. The festival started as a small parade in 1918 in honour of Prince Kuhio, and has grown to include a month long series of events and concerts  throughout March, including state-wide canoe races, cultural demonstrations and lu’au’s. princekuhiofestival.org

Merrie Monarch Festival, 16th to 22nd April 2017
Celebrating its 54th year, the Merrie Monarch Festival is a week-long celebration of Hawaiian culture on the Island of Hawai’i. Festivities take place in Hilo, south of the island, and include exhibitions, musical entertainment, arts and crafts fairs and the Miss Aloha Hula Competition. The festival closes with the Marrie Monarch Royal Parade from 10:30am. Tickets starts from US$20 (approximately £16). merriemonarch.com

Pan Pacific Festival, 9 to 11th June 2017
The Pan Pacific Festival is returning to the island of O’ahu next June with a series of events showcasing the culture of Pan Pacific countries such as Japan, Korea and Hawai’i. Each year, the Pan-Pacific Festival launches with the Pan Pacific Ho’olaule’a, one of the largest and most festive block parties of its kind, followed by a stunning Performing Arts Showcase and impressive Hula Festival, and closes with the vibrant Pan Pacific Parade along beautiful Waikiki Beach. pan-pacific-festival.com

King Kamehameha Day, 11th June 2017
King Kamehameha Day is the annual state holiday celebrating Hawai’i’s first monarch, Kamehameha The Great. The King’s birthday will be commemorated with an all-day ho’olaule’a (celebration) on O’ahu. Visitors will be able to enjoy a series of concerts showcasing local dance and hula, an open market and a parade. kamehamehafestival.org

The Moloka’i Ocean Fest, 15th to 16th July 2017
The Mokola’i Ocean Fest is a two day paddle-boarding festival that takes place on the islands of Maui and Moloka’i. The Maui2Molokai challenge will take place on the 15th July and will be celebrating its 15th anniversary next year. Starting from DT Flemmings on Maui, paddlers will race 27 miles to cross the Pailolo Channel. On the 16th July, the Molokai4Molokai challenge will take place and this involves an 8.5 mile race along the island’s scenic reef. This race is suitable for intermediate and advanced level paddlers. supmolokai.org

Prince Lot Hula Festival, 15th to 16th July 2017
The Prince Lot Hula Festival is the largest non-competitive hula exhibition in Hawai’i, held at the spectacular Moanalua Gardens each year to honour Prince Lot Kapuaiwa who reprised the once forbidden hula in the district of Moanalua. 2017 will see the festival celebrate its 40th year and activities will include a oi pounding workshops, cultural demonstrations by noted practitioners, handcrafters fair, a morning concert by the Kamehameha Alumni Glee Club, noon concerts by the Royal Hawaiian Band and more. moanaluagardensfoundation.org

Maui Film Festival, 21st to 25th June 2017
Held over the summer months at outdoor cinemas around the island, the Maui Film Festival is a five day celebration of local and international films and music. Kicking off the event is the not to be missed Taste of Summer Opening Party, where some of the island’s best mixologists create unique cocktails served alongside island cuisine. Tickets start from US$14 (approximately £11). mauifilmfestival.com

Koloa Plantation Days Festival, 21st to 30th July 2017
Koloa Plantation Days Festival is a 10 day festival held on the island of Kaua’i. The island was known for its sugar plantations, and the festival celebrates the many ethnic groups that moved to the island in times gone by. The relationship between native Hawaiian’s and the new immigrants is celebrated through music, dance, costumes, and food throughout this ten-day festival. Visitors can also watch rodeo shows and culinary demonstrations, listen to live musical performances and participate in nature walks that explore the local fauna, flora and archaeology of the south shore during the festival. koloaplantationdays.com

Aloha Festivals, September dates TBC
The Aloha Festivals is one of the largest cultural festivals in the US. Celebrating Hawaiian music, dance, history and the islands’ unique tradition, the festival kicks off with the Aloha Festivals Royal Court Opening with a cultural ceremony at the ancestral home of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. At the ceremony, the king, queen, prince and princess take their place on the Royal Court where they receive their royal cloaks, helmets and other symbols of their reign. Traditional hula and chants make this a special event in the heart of Waikiki. Other events include block parties with hula and Hawaiian music performances and a floral parade. Tickets starts from US$40 (approximately £32).  alohafestivals.com

Honolulu Festival, September dates TBC
The Honolulu Festival is one of Hawai’i’s most popular cultural events, promoting understanding, economic cooperation and ethnic harmony between the people of Hawai’i and the Pacific Rim region. The three day extravaganza occurs every year on the island of O’ahu. Dance performances and traditional art demonstrations are displayed by artisans from Japan, Australia, Tahiti, Philippines, Taiwan, Korea, Hawai’i and the rest of the United States. The Festival culminates with a spectacular parade down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki, O’ahu. honolulufestival.com

IRONMAN World Championships, 14th October 2017
The Hawai’i IRONMAN World Championship will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2017. Amateur and professional athletes will compete in an epic triathlon which will take place in Kailua-Kona, on the Island of Hawai’i.  Along the Kona Coast, black lava rock dominates the panorama, and athletes battle the “ho’omumuku” crosswinds of 45mph in temperatures reaching 35 Degrees Celsius and above.
Over 2,000 athletes compete each year, each covering a distance of 140.6 miles through swimming, cycling and running. eu.ironman.com

The Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival, 20th October to 5th November 2017
Set in the lush island paradise of Hawai’i, The Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival will take place over two weeks on multiple islands, featuring a roster of over 100 internationally-renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers. Co-founded by two of Hawai’i’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, the festival in Hawai’i Island, Maui, Honolulu, and Ko Olina Resort will showcase wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions, and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting the state’s bounty of local produce, seafood, beef and poultry. hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com

Kona Coffee Festival, 3rd to 9th November 2017
Celebrating its 47th year, the Kona Coffee Festival is the oldest food festival on the Island of Hawai’i. The festival celebrates the island’s culture and the heritage behind the 200 year old brew. This year’s event will include Kona coffee tours to some of the best cafés on the island, the Kona coffee recipe contest, a lantern parade and the Miss Kona Coffee pageant. Please note that the final dates for November are still to be confirmed. konacoffeefest.com

Hawai’i International Film Festival: November dates TBC
The Hawai’i International Film Festival (HIFF) will return to the island of O’ahu for the 37th year in November. The festival showcases 150 of the best films, documentaries and features from Asia, the Pacific Islands and, of course, Hawai’i. Among them are world premieres, North American premieres, US premieres, experimental films, animation and digital works representing social and ethnic issues, and first features by new directors. hiff.org

For further information on Hawai’i, visit www.gohawaii.com/uk.

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