Travel Agent breaks down the hottest events for vacationers looking to spice up a trip to the Garden Isle.
Koloa Plantation Days, July 21 - 30
The annual Koloa Plantation Days festival commemorates the multiple cultures and peoples who immigrated to Hawaii during its sugar and pineapple plantation era, and contributed their traditions, music, dance and cuisine to the rich melting pot of cultures that make up the Islands today.
Festival events celebrate the present-day vitality of the south shore’s Koloa and Poipu areas, both vital Kauai visitor destinations. Resorts and businesses welcome visitors and residents to enjoy the festival’s guided walks and talk story sessions, outdoor sports, and a variety of themed keiki (children’s) activities, as well as live entertainment. The festival’s annual rodeo showcases top competitors from Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.
Heiva I Kauai 2017, August 5 - 6
Heiva I Kauai is a colorful two-day Tahitian cultural festival presented annually on the first weekend of August featuring competitions for children and adults (ages 4 to 50-plus) in solo Tahitian dancing, and group competition in traditional and contemporary Tahitian dancing and drumming.
Favorite festival events also include its Tahitian dance audience participation segment and coconut-husking contests. The 16th annual Heiva I Kauai happens August 5 - 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Kapaa Beach Park. An array of Polynesian arts, crafts, jewelry, clothing and food will be sold at the event, with special emphasis on Tahitian products. Entry is $7 per person per day, with children ages 12 and under admitted free.
Tickets are available on event days at the gate. For more information, call Sally Jo Manea at 808-822-9447, or email [email protected].
Fifth Annual Waipa Music and Mango Festival, August 13
The Waipa Foundation will present its fifth annual Music and Mango Festival on August 13, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the nonprofit’s Halulu Fishpond on Kauai’s north shore.
The fest promises a relaxing day of live homegrown music, hands-on activities, local artisans and crafts, and Kauai chefs and food vendors offering up tasty food inspired by the area’s summer mango harvest.
Expect contests searching for the best mango recipes and biggest mangoes, cultural and educational displays, and more. Bring a beach blanket or chair and stick around for the entire day at Waipa, located a half-mile out of Hanalei town along Hanalei Bay.
Admission is $10 for adults and $1 for keiki (children) up to age 17. The Music and Mango Festival is a fundraising benefit supporting the work of The Waipa Foundation, a living learning center focused on taking care of the island’s natural resources, practicing Hawaiian culture and values, and inspiring healthy keiki and community.
Lawai International Center Pilgrimage of Compassion, August 13
The Lawai International Center welcomes everyone to its 17th annual Pilgrimage of Compassion, set for August 13, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. The program will celebrate the center’s longtime Lawai Valley healing sanctuary, and feature grand master-level shakuhachi flutist Riley Lee and drumbeats by members of Taiko Kauai.
The day’s events will also include a bonsai exhibit, ikebana and calligraphy demos, bake sale, silent auction, mochi and taro pounding, and cultural and culinary demonstrations.
Lawai International Center is a volunteer-driven nonprofit, nondenominational community project and international center focused on compassion, education and cultural understanding. The center encourages guests to bring an umbrella and wear comfortable shoes for the pilgrimage’s hillside walk and, if possible, carpool and arrive early to help facilitate parking. Gates to the center, demonstrations and exhibits will open at 1 p.m.; the program will start at 2:30 p.m. Donations are gratefully accepted.
The Kauai Marathon, September 3
The ninth annual Kauai Marathon and Half-Marathon will send participants past hula dancers and taiko drum troupes as its USA Track and Field-certified course traces the scenic landscape of the island’s south shore.
Along the way, participants will take in magnificent views of the area’s picturesque beaches, rugged volcanic peaks and tropical rainforests. The marathon will also host a Keiki Run on September 2 at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa with age-specific grass courses for children ages 2 to 12. Every Kauai Marathon, Half-Marathon and Keiki Run finisher will receive a commemorative medal and T-shirt.
Kauai Mokihana Festival, September 24-30
Held annually at the historic Kapaa First Hawaiian Church, founded by Kauai’s last queen Deborah Kapule in 1879, the Malie Foundation’s Kauai Mokihana Festival is a celebration of Hawaiian culture.
The mission of the Malie Foundation is offering events designed to educate, promote, preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture through a variety of activities for all people.
The foundation invites locals and visitors to join the Mokihana Festival’s week of events, which will include a composer’s concert and contest, craft fair, educational and cultural lectures, and much more. The event culminates with a hula competition finale on September 30 for solo dancers and halau hula (hula schools).
Powwow in Paradise, September 22-24
Powwow in Paradise, organized by the Kauai Powwow Council (KPC), is an annual celebration of the culture and traditions of Native Americans through song, dance and art.
KPC is a nonprofit group with a focus on providing Native American educational outreach to children. Of particular importance to KPC are cultural exchanges between Native American and Polynesian cultures. Powwow in Paradise will feature cultural crafting and education tents, ethnic food booths, and handmade one-of-a-kind Native American arts and crafts. The event will also feature a Hawaiian blessing and a Grand Entry parade.