Pitch These Hot Events to Hawaii Island-Bound Travelers

Hawaii Island
Aerial view of Hawaii Island. // Photo by Joe Pike

Got clients heading to Hawaii Island this spring and beyond? Travel Agent has some unique events that can spice up any trip to the Aloha State.

In celebration of the spirit of Hilo's famed Merrie Monarch Festival, the Grand Naniloa Hotel - A DoubleTree by Hilton will host daily pop-up shops throughout the week of this year's annual hula competition. 

Open April 17 - 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the pop-up shop will offer works from local artisans and host live hula performances. When the Merrie Monarch Festival ends, visitors can continue to catch local hula groups practicing on the hotel lawn each Monday from 4:30 to 6 p.m., or enjoy live music every Tuesday night at the hotel's Hula Lounge. 

Visit www.grandnaniloahilo.com

Sweet jazz and blues tunes will again take center stage at the Big Island Jazz and Blues Festival, returning for its sixth year at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, June 1 to 4. 

Attendees will enjoy live entertainment from Grammy and Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning musicians from Hawaii and around the world. The festival's headliner event - which, according to organizers, always sells out - is set for the hotel's luau garden on June 3. 

Visit www.princeresortshawaii.com/mauna-kea-beach-hotel and www.bigislandjazzandbluesfestival.com
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows will celebrate its 28th annual Turtle Independence Day on July 4. The resort receives young honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) from Sea Life Park on Oahu regularly, raising them in its oceanside saltwater ponds until the turtles grow to a size and weight deemed appropriate for release into the wild.  

The turtle release event happens each Independence Day at the hotel's oceanfront. Free and open to the public, Turtle Independence Day's happenings include a welcome ceremony, hula performance, live entertainment and July 4th eats available for purchase from food trucks. 

Visit www.maunalani.com

Save July 8 for the 37th Annual Hawaiian Cultural Festival and BioBlitz at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The event is open to the public to engage in Hawaiian cultural practices and learn about ways in which Hawaiians lived their lives as stewards of the land. Attendees will also enjoy hula and music, catch demonstrations, and get to practice Hawaiian crafting.

This year's festival will include a "BioBlitz," an opportunity to join scientists and cultural practitioners in discovering the park's thriving biodiversity. The cultural festival happens from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the BioBlitz from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Visit www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm

Tell clients about a day of live Hawaiian music, hula performances and the works of local artisans. Mauna Kea Resort's 6th annual Festival of Aloha will return to the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel's Convention Center Courtyard on August 27. Accompanying all-day Festival of Aloha festivities will be a variety of food booths offering everything from Hawaiian plate lunches and fruit-flavored shave ice to gourmet culinary creations from the chefs of Mauna Kea Resort. Festival admission is free. 

Visit www.princeresortshawaii.com/hapuna-beach-prince-hotel 

The Queen Liliuokalani Long-Distance Canoe Race, which annually celebrates the Hawaiian sport of outrigger canoe racing, is set for August 31 to September 4. 

Said to the world's largest long-distance outrigger canoe race, the Queen's Race welcomes international paddlers to Kailua-Kona for five days of racing.

The event's 18-mile signature race, happening September 3, follows a historically and culturally significant course running between Kamakahonu Bay - once the site of King Kamehameha the Great's residence - and Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Related events include a historic walking tour, cultural fair, an "International Paddlers Night," a torch-light parade and a traditional Hawaiian luau. 

Visit www.kaiopua.org

The 2nd Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds is set for September 15 to 17 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The program of guest speakers will include Jeff Gordon, president of the American Birding Association, and renowned author, artist, naturalist and conservationist Kenn Kaufman.

The Festival of Birds will also feature an outdoor and birding equipment trade show, a children's corner, a crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, a birding film festival, opportunities to talk story with island of Hawaii naturalists and bird experts, and guided field trips.

Visit www.birdfesthawaii.org and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest Hawaii travel news.