Celebrating Memorial Day in Hawaii

If you have clients in Hawaii over Memorial Day Weekend, here are some activities and events they should consider.

On Memorial Day, visitors should absolutely pay a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, honoring the servicemen lost at Pearl Harbor more than 70 years ago. The Memorial turns 50 this year, and events will be held throughout the weekend in recognition, including a golf fundraiser and a weekend-long Honor Guard. Notably, guests can go on a special Sunset Boat Tour to the Memorial led by National Park Service Rangers. For more information, or to reserve tickets, call 808-954-8721.

Every Memorial Day for the past 14 years, the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony has served as a popular memorial for residents and visitors alike, and this year’s event is expected to draw more than 40,000 attendees. More than 3,000 candle-lit lanterns will be set afloat from Magic Island (pictured). Those attending the ceremony may receive a lantern to personally float, or write their remembrance on special paper that will be placed on collective remembrance lanterns to be floated by volunteers.

The 90-minute ceremony and program will begin at 6 p.m. with performances by musicians and chanters and a speech by Shinso Ito, head of Shinnyo-en. The lanterns will be set afloat onto the waters of Magic Island by participants of the program and the general public. At the conclusion of the ceremony, all lanterns are collected from the ocean and restored for use in the upcoming years.

Good to know: Free event parking is available at the Hawaii Convention Center from 8:30 a.m. until midnight. A complimentary shuttle will transport attendees between the Convention Center and Magic Island from 3-6 p.m. and back to the Convention Center from 8-9:30 p.m.

And when the more somber events are done, visitors on Hawaii Island can check out a movie at the Big Island Film Festival, which will be held in several locations within the Mauna Lani Resort over the weekend. Events will take place at The Shops at Mauna Lani and The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, and many movies will be screened outdoors. Tip: Families should be sure to check for “Ohana” films (the Hawaiian word for “Family”), which are free to the public. The “Best of the Fest” on Memorial Day begins with a concert from island trio Kohala in the late afternoon followed by the Audience Choice feature and short at 7:30 p.m. A silent auction to benefit Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center will also be held.

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