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The Islands of Hawaii

Stryker Weiner & Yokota Public Relations, Inc.
Sonja Swenson
Senior Vice President
(808) 523-8802

For Immediate Release

January 18, 2012


OAHU – Discover the island’s rich culture and diversity at one of the many festivals and events occurring throughout the year. Oahu’s festivals and events provide visitors and locals with an opportunity to embrace the multi-cultural heritage, deep traditions and customs that are special to Oahu. Whether it is a cultural festival highlighting Hawaii’s diverse people and their origins, an energetic concert series, or a culinary event featuring the island’s top chefs, there is sure to be something for everyone. Below is a listing of notable festivals and events (all are subject to change without notice):

Music, Shopping & Entertainment
March 19-25, 2012
Shop a Le‘a
Ala Moana Center’s annual week-long spring shopping event, Shop a Le‘a presents locals and visitors with more than 150 experiences in fashion, health and beauty, active lifestyle, home décor, travel, and cuisine. Included as part of the Shop a Le‘a lineup are fashion shows and trunk shows, exclusive products, Centerstage events, gift-with-purchase, mall-wide shopping and dining offers, and much more.

April 2012; October 2012
Hawaii International Film Festival
The Hawaii International Film Festival is dedicated to the advancement of understanding and cultural exchange among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and North America through the medium of film. HIFF showcases independent feature films and is held at the Signature Dole Cannery Theatres each spring and fall. Expect the very best and latest in independent and global cinema.

May 2012
2nd Annual Mele Mai
The Hawaii Academy of Recording Artists will present the 2nd Annual Mele Mai, a month-long celebration of Hawaiian music, in May 2012. Mele Mei will encompass more than 30 workshops, concert performances and other events, and will culminate with the 35th Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards on May 27.

May 2012
Rainbow Film Festival
The Rainbow Film Festival serves to educate and raise community awareness about gay and lesbian culture, arts and lifestyle through independent films shown at the Doris Duke Theatre. Locally submitted films are also featured and supported by the festival.

July 4, 2012
Ala Moana Center Fireworks
For the 21st consecutive year, Ala Moana Center will present locals and visitors with one of the largest and most spectacular fireworks shows in the country. In addition to the fireworks, Ala Moana will offer a weekend’s worth of live entertainment and a mall-wide shopping savings pass.

July 22, 2012
Ukulele Festival Hawaii
Local ukulele legend Roy Sakuma and his sponsors help to keep the instrument alive with the largest festival of its kind in the world, attracting thousands each year. A free five-hour concert showcases the finest ukulele players from around the world, along with national celebrities, Hawaii’s top entertainers, and an ukulele orchestra of more than 800 students, mostly children. The festival benefits Ukulele Festival Hawaii, a charitable non-profit organization.

August 19, 2012
30th Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival
Slack key guitar originated in Hawaii in the 19th century with Hawaiian paniolo (cowboys), and continues to gain popularity. The Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival, founded in 1982, celebrates the cultural importance of, perpetuates and preserves the unique acoustic guitar art form of “Ki ho‘alu,” which means “loosen the key.” The festival takes place at Kapiolani Park and features performances by well-known slack key musicians.

Various weekends throughout the year
Sunset on the Beach
Enjoy a free film on a 30-foot screen under the stars on Queens Beach in Waikiki. Movies range from action to comedy and are always family friendly. Live entertainment and food vendors add to the event. Arrive early to score a great seat and catch a glimpse of the setting sun.

Arts & Culture
Various dates
Chinatown Arts and Culture Street Festivals
Join thousands of people as they gather in the streets of Chinatown to celebrate Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo and Halloween. The City & County of Honolulu presents these festivals, which feature live entertainment, food vendors, dancing, and local product vendors.

January 21, 2012
22nd Annual Moanikeala Hula Festival
The fragrance of fresh flower lei and melodies of ancient Hawaii will fill the air as some of the world’s most gifted hula dancers and halau (schools) come together at the Polynesian Cultural Center for the first hula event of the year.

March 2-4, 2012
Honolulu Festival
The 18th annual Honolulu Festival celebrates cultures from across the Pacific. This three-day celebration of art, music, dance, and crafts is filled with spectacular sights and sounds. The festival culminates with a Grand Parade in Waikiki, followed by the newly added Nagaoka Hanabi fireworks display. 

May 1-2, 2012
Lei Day Celebration
On May 1, a celebration that includes entertainment, food booths and a lei-making contest takes place at the beautiful Queen Kapiolani Park and Bandstand in Waikiki. The event is followed by an honoring of Hawaii’s ali‘i at Mauna Ala and Kawaiahao on May 2. Lei Day was created to celebrate the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei. This year marks the 85th anniversary of the celebration of Lei Day in Hawaii.

May 9-12, 2012
We Are Samoa Festival
The We Are Samoa Festival at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which features the 20th Annual World Fireknife Championship and High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival, will take place from May 9-12. At the 20th Annual World Fireknife Championship, dancers of all ages showcase their mastery of Samoan fireknives, in which acrobatic moves and death-defying tricks combine with ancient Samoan culture. Held in conjunction with the World Fireknife Championship, the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival is an event in which Hawaii high school students demonstrate their own cultural knowledge of Samoan traditions with exhibitions in basket weaving, coconut husking, fire making, and more.

May 28, 2012
Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony
Every year on Memorial Day, thousands of people gather at Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park to honor ancestors and loved ones who have passed away. At sundown, more than 3,000 candlelit lanterns are set afloat on the ocean, a traditional Buddhist rite originating in Japan. The ceremony is based on the theme “Many Rivers, One Ocean,” and serves to honor those who have sacrificed their lives in war, pay respect to ancestors and loved ones who have passed away, and pray for a harmonious and peaceful future. The ceremony also features live entertainment by local and international musicians, as well as inspiring speeches. 

June 8-10, 2012
33rd Annual Pan-Pacific Festival
The 33rd Annual Pan-Pacific Festival is a three-day international cultural celebration that features a weekend of Pacific Rim cultural performances, demonstrations, hula, food, hoolaulea (block party). The event culminates with a colorful parade with thousands of participants in lively costumes marching down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki.

June 9, 2012
96th Annual King Kamehameha Floral Parade
This colorful celebration honors the reign of King Kamehameha, who was responsible for uniting the Hawaiian Islands under his rule in 1795. The parade features brightly decorated floats, energetic marching bands and traditional pa‘u riders who represent a Hawaiian royal court on horseback.

Obon Dances and Festivals
Buddhist temples throughout the island celebrate the Obon tradition, brought to Hawaii by Japanese immigrants that have evolved into a social and cultural event. Experience this part of Oahu’s rich culture, which is designed to honor ancestors through an evening of dance, music and merrymaking. Dances and festivals are held at temples across the island on various dates throughout the summer.

July 6-7, 2012
13th Annual Te Mahana Hiro‘a Tumu O Tahiti
The 13th Annual Te Mahana Hiro‘a Tumu O Tahiti, the largest Tahitian dance competition in Hawaii, returns to the Polynesian Cultural Center, July 6-7. This event will showcase the skill of dancers dedicated to preserving the art, culture and traditions of Tahiti. Attracting visitors and locals alike, this festival features tamari‘i (youth) and taure‘are‘a (adults) from all over Hawaii as they dance to the sounds of Tahiti ranging from slow melodies to rapid beats. 

August 3-4, 2012
Te Manahua: Maori Song and Dance Festival
From Aug. 3-4, the Polynesian Cultural Center will hold Te Manahua: Maori Song and Dance Festival. Witness the fierce strength and pride of the Maori warriors as they command attention with their melodic voices and passionate demonstrations of the traditional haka (male posture dance) and poi (dance with implements).

July 21, 2012
Prince Lot Hula Festival
This all-day festival, held in the beautiful Moanalua Gardens, features hula halau (troupes) gracing the hula mound for spectators to enjoy. The festival showcases Native Hawaiian culture through crafts, kapa making, lauhala weaving, lomilomi massage, traditional Hawaiian games, and more.

July 21-22, 2012
15th Annual Haleiwa Arts Festival Summer Event
Experience a broad spectrum of traditional, contemporary and ethnic arts at Haleiwa Beach Park in the historic town of Haleiwa. This event includes visual artists, musicians, singers, dancers, demonstrations, storytelling, student art displays, historical trolley tours and children’s arts and crafts. Browse and purchase unique works by artists of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

July 20-21, 2012
Hawaii All-Collectors Show
Don’t miss the opportunity to find the perfect gift from Hawaii at the Hawaii All-Collectors Show at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. This annual collectibles and antiques show and sale features more than 200 booths with one of the largest selections of Hawaiiana under one roof.

August 17-19, 2012
Made in Hawaii Festival
Enjoy this three-day celebration highlighting the unique products of Hawaii. More than 400 exhibitors offer a wide variety of items made and grown in Hawaii, including art, clothing, food, home furnishings, jewelry, toys, fresh produce, plants, and authentic Hawaiian handicrafts. The festival also includes performances by award-winning entertainers and cooking demonstrations by Hawaii’s top culinary artists.

August 25-26, 2012
Greek Festival
The Greek Festival, held at McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park, celebrates Greek culture with ethnic food, live entertainment, cultural booths, and more. The popular annual festival is sponsored by the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

September 15 & 22, 2012
Aloha Festivals
This premier showcase celebrates Hawaii’s music, dance and history, and is intended to preserve the islands’ unique traditions. Festivities on Oahu include a Waikiki Ho‘olaulea on Sept. 15 and a floral parade on Sept. 22.

September 1-2, 2012
30th Annual Okinawan Festival
The Hawaii United Okinawa Association presents the largest ethnic festival in the state of Hawaii.  The event kicks off with a mini procession inside Kapiolani Park featuring a taiko drum performance. The three-day festival at Kapiolani Park celebrates Okinawan culture with food, entertainment, arts, crafts, and cultural activities.

October 2012
Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival
The annual Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival, presented by the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group, celebrates Hawaii’s fishing and seafood industry with fishing  workshops and demonstrations, games and activities, fresh seafood dishes, and more. Events take place at the Honolulu Fishing Village at Pier 38. 

First Friday of every month
First Fridays
This free event invites people of all ages to downtown Honolulu’s galleries and studios to view work by various artists. More than 20 galleries participate in the evening’s events, which include live music, street entertainment, wine tasting, and shopping in downtown’s antique stores. Guests can also experience the many bars, clubs and restaurants that make downtown a unique destination.

Last Friday of every month
Offering a new twist on pau hana (happy hour), the Honolulu Academy of Arts presents an evening that invigorates the senses with a combination of food, art, music, dancing, and drinks. The theme for each event is based on the museum’s current feature exhibition and provides a fun and social way to view art in a festive atmosphere.

Fridays throughout the year
Rockin’ Hawaiian Rainbow Revue
This weekly activity at the Super Pool of the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a favorite among visiting families. Enjoy a tribute to Duke Kahanamoku and a crescendo of torch lights, hula dancers, drums, and a huge fireworks finale.


February 25, 2012
2nd Annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival
Dole Cannery Shops will host the 2nd Annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival. Chocolate lovers can learn the steps that go into making this sweet treat from start to finish. There will be chocolate tastings, guest speakers, chocolate inspired spa lounge, chocolate garden, coco café and tea house, live entertainment, and more. The festival was created to raise awareness about Hawaii’s growing cacao industry and to solidify chocolate as the state’s newest ‘ambassador of aloha.’ 

April 28, 2012
10th Annual Waikiki SPAM® Jam
The Waikiki SPAM® Jam is an exciting annual street festival that takes place on Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki. The event celebrates Hawaii’s love of SPAM® and features a variety of Honolulu’s finest restaurants serving up SPAM®-inspired creations. Two entertainment stages provide non-stop entertainment ranging from hula dancers to local musicians, and merchandise vendors sell SPAM®-themed items and Hawaiian crafts. Proceeds from the event benefit the Hawaii Food Bank.

April 29, 2012   
Taste of the Nation Hawaii
Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit seeking to end childhood hunger, will launch its inaugural Taste of the Nation Hawaii event in Honolulu on April 29. This exciting culinary event will take place at the Bishop Museum and feature delicious drinks and dishes prepared by Hawaii’s hottest mixologists and chefs, using fresh, local ingredients. Additional event highlights include live entertainment and a silent auction.

May 17-19, 2012
Hawaii Food & Wine Paradise
Wine aficionados and foodies can enjoy three days of world class wining and dining at the Hawaiian Food & Wine Paradise. A portion of the proceeds from this event is donated to scholarship programs for Leeward Oahu youth and the Leeward Community College Culinary Arts program.

September 2012
3rd Annual Rice Festival
September is national rice month and what better way to celebrate than to attend the 3rd Annual Rice Festival. The celebration features entertainment, cultural performances and cooking demonstrations by local celebrity chefs. The Rice Festival was created to celebrate “the grain that connects us.” This free event will give visitors and locals the chance to see how rice is prepared by the different cultures that make up our island. 

September 2012
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
Following a successful inaugural year, the second annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival will once again take place in Honolulu in September 2012. The festival includes culinary-focused events and evening receptions featuring dishes prepared by an all-star lineup of chefs from Hawaii and around the world, using locally sourced ingredients. The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is co-chaired by chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong and serves to showcase the state’s bounty of produce and proteins and highlight the islands’ return to a sustainable eco-system of agriculture, environment and economy.
Sporting and Fitness Events
January 9-15, 2012
Sony Open in Hawaii
The Sony Open in Hawaii kicks off the PGA Tour by bringing 144 of the world’s best professional golfers to Oahu’s exclusive Waialae Country Club each January. Past participants include notable golfers including 2005 winner, Vijay Singh, 2003 and 2004 winner, Ernie Els, and Hawaii’s own Michelle Wie and Tadd Fujikawa. The six-day event is one of the largest charity events in the state of Hawaii and has raised more than $11 million for local not-for-profits since 1999.

January 29, 2012
NFL Pro Bowl
One week before the Super Bowl, the biggest names and hardest hitters in the National Football League (NFL) travel to Oahu for the NFL Pro Bowl, where all-star professional football players from the AFC and NFC battle for conference bragging rights at Aloha Stadium. Events prior to the game include an autograph session, open practices, clinics, and tailgate party.

February 20, 2012
Great Aloha Run
The Great Aloha Run is an 8.15 mile foot race that starts at Aloha Tower in Honolulu and ends at Aloha Stadium in Halawa. A three-day Sports, Health and Fitness Expo occurs during the weekend of the race and includes an array of exhibition booths offering unique products and services, entertainment, workshops, and more.

February 23 & 25, 2012
Hawaiian Islands Invitational
This February, professional soccer teams from the United States, Australia, Japan and Korea will face off at Aloha Stadium in the inaugural Hawaiian Islands Invitational. The new international soccer event pits 2010 MLS Cup champions, the Colorado Rapids, against Yokohama FC from Japan, Melbourne Heart FC from Australia, and Busan I’Park FC from Korea in a thrilling two-day tournament. Training camps, soccer clinics and local cultural events will also take place during the week of the Invitational.  

May 19-20, 2012
Honolulu Triathlon
Thousands of triathletes from around the world visit Oahu each May to compete in the Honolulu Triathlon. The Olympic distance triathlon features a 1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run that begins and ends at Ala Moana Beach Park.

August 2012
Duke’s OceanFest
Duke’s OceanFest, a weeklong festival, features a variety of exciting water sports competitions, including longboard surfing, surf polo, swimming, standup paddling, and other events that pay tribute to the local waterman. The festivities culminate with the Duke’s Statue lei draping ceremony on Aug. 24, the anniversary of his birthday.

Honolulu Century Ride
The Honolulu Century Ride is Hawaii’s oldest and largest cycling event, attracting approximately 4,000 people around the world each year. The ride begins and ends at Kapiolani Park, and participants can choose to ride 20, 25, 40, 50, 75, or 100 miles at their own pace. Proceeds from the annual fun ride support the Hawaii Bicycling League and its efforts to promote cycling for health, recreation and transportation through advocacy, education and events.

October 2012
Molokai Hoe
The Molokai Hoe has become one of the longest running annual team sporting events in Hawaii, second only to football. The race starts at Hale o Lono beach on Molokai and goes through the Kaiwi Channel, ending at Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki. The Molokai Hoe perpetuates one of Hawaii’s and Polynesia’s most important and historic cultural traditions, while honoring outrigger canoe paddlers around the world.

November 12 – December 20, 2012
Vans Triple Crown of Surfing
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing returns to the North Shore of Oahu for the men’s series and women’s Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach. Kicking off with the Op Pro at Haleiwa, the series continues with the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing and women’s Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach, and lastly the Billabong Pipeline Masters at the famous Banzai Pipeline. Oahu’s North Shore is home to these final events on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) calendar that will crown surfing’s new world champions.

December 1, 2012 – February 28, 2013
Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational In Memory of Eddie Aikau
Each winter, the world’s best big wave surfers are invited to Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore to compete in the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational In Memory of Eddie Aikau. The Eddie can only be held when surf measures at least 20 feet (Hawaiian scale) for a full day. The holding period for the event is between December 1 and the last day in February. When the surf is big enough, thousands flock to watch the likes of Kelly Slater and Bruce Irons compete in this prestigious surfing competition.

December 2, 2012
XTERRA Trail Run World Championship
The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship is an off-road half-marathon that winds through Kualoa Ranch on Oahu’s northeastern shore. Trail runs, kids race, and other family events will also be offered. 

December 9, 2012
Honolulu Marathon
Thousands of runners from around the world travel to Oahu each year to participate in the Honolulu Marathon. The 26.2-mile scenic course includes spectacular views alongside world famous Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head.

December 22, 23 & 25, 2012
Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic is an eight-team, 12-game bracket tournament that features some of the nation’s best collegiate men’s basketball teams. The tournament is held at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sherriff Center.

December 24, 2012
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Following the University of Hawaii’s move to the Mountain West Conference (MWC), in 2012, the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl will pit a team from the MWC against a team from Conference USA in the annual college football bowl game played at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium on Christmas Eve.

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