Spring and Fall are a great time to come to Oʻahu to avoid the peak seasons. Time your stay on Oʻahu with the island’s rich and diverse cultural traditions celebrations. Inspired and facilitated by our local communities, these festivals and events bring people together in celebration of Oʻahu’s diverse culture, and provide opportunities for visitors to experience our island home in authentic and meaningful ways. Whether you love food, dance, film or sports, there’s something for you to celebrate with us on Oʻahu.
Below you will find information on a sampling of signature festivals and events on Oʻahu. For a comprehensive list of upcoming events that you can sort and filter by date and category, please visit the GoHawaii website.
Arts, Music & Entertainment
Attend an international film festival, fun anime convention, or relax to the enchanting sounds of the ʻukulele or steel guitar. Explore the music and arts of the islands and enjoy local musicians and artisans as they share their craft at special events throughout the year.
Hawaiʻi International Film Festival
Annually in the Spring (April) and Fall (November)
The Hawai‘i International Film Festival (HIFF) is dedicated to the advancement of understanding cultural exchange among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and North America through the medium of film. HIFF showcases independent feature and short films and is held twice annually each spring and fall. Attendees can expect the very best and latest in independent and global cinema. www.hiff.org
Visitors can experience the finest of Hawai‘i’s contemporary culture at the Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival. The free event celebrates and honors books, storytelling and music in a way that is fun, accessible and memorable for people of all ages, backgrounds and tastes.
Hawaiʻi’s premier woodshow features creations made by some of Hawaiʻi’s finest wood artisans utilizing native, sustainably-grown wood. Located at Hawaii Opera Plaza in Honolulu, attendees are invited to experience the artists’ submission either virtually or in-person. Some of the woodworking categories included are accessories, furniture, and sculptures.
Food Festivals: Get a Taste of Oʻahu
From glitzy gourmet and master sommeliers on beaches and rooftops to the world-famous SPAM® festival on the streets of Waikīkī, there’s something for every type of foodie to celebrate on Oʻahu.
Waikiki SPAM JAM®
The annual Waikiki SPAM JAM® street festival celebrates Hawai‘i’s love for, of course, SPAM®. The family-friendly event happens in the heart of Waikīkī on Kalākaua Avenue and features local restaurants offering creative SPAM® dishes alongside entertainment stages and products from Hawai‘i crafters. The event benefits the Hawai‘i Foodbank, the state’s largest nonprofit feeding those in need.
Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival
Taking place in one of the famous culinary melting pots of the pacific, the Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival returns in 2022 with an all-star lineup of local and foreign chefs from around the world. The Festival is co-chaired by chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong and serves to showcase the state’s plentiful bounty of produce and proteins and highlights the island’s return to a sustainable farm-to-table approach.
On Oʻahu, the Native Hawaiian culture is unique to Hawaiʻi and the language, history, and arts need to be preserved and perpetuated. We also celebrate the many different traditions and cultures of the local people that call this place home.
Lei Day Celebration
Annually held on May 1
As one of Hawai‘i’s most emblematic symbols of aloha, lei — and the crafting of lei — have been celebrated in the Hawaiian Islands on Lei Day since 1927. On May 1st, the City and County of Honolulu’s official Lei Day event is held at Kapi‘olani Park in Waikīkī, honoring lei and the traditions surrounding it with festivities, including pageants and competitions for lei queen and the crafting of colorful and fragrant flower lei.
We Are Samoa Festival
Traditionally held in May
The We are Samoa Festival is Hawaiʻi’s largest Samoan cultural festival and pre-eminent showcase of Samoan traditions. Centered around the World Fireknife Championship, which garners competitors from across the global, the festival invites Samoans and curious travelers of all races and creeds to come together in the spirit of competition and celebration of Samoan culture. The Polynesian Cultural Center established the World Fireknife Championship to showcase the history and education of the traditional Samoan warrior’s knife dance –the ailao. The competition ensures this treasured tradition continues to live on and through perpetuating the art and skill of fire knife dancing for future generations to embrace.
Traditionally held in June
The Pan-Pacific Festival began in Hawai‘i in 1980 as a cultural exchange between the state and Japan. Visiting participants from Japan were invited to enjoy the familiarity of Japanese music, crafts, traditions and foods, while Hawai‘i residents and other visitors were offered opportunities to gain a deeper appreciation of Japanese sensibilities and cultural heritage. Today, the festival features events held throughout Waikīkī showcasing Japan’s pageantry and includes a ho‘olaule‘a (festival) block party, art fair and hula performances, culminating with a grand parade on Waikīkī’s main street Kalākaua Avenue.
Annual King Kamehameha Celebration
June (weekend of King Kamehameha Day)
The colorful King Kamehameha Celebration festivities include a floral parade, lei-draping ceremony and festival that honors the reign of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i’s first monarch, who united the Hawaiian Islands under his rule. The parade features brightly decorated floats, energetic marching bands and traditional pā‘ū riders representing the Hawaiian royal court on horseback. The ho‘olaule‘a (festival) follows the parade.
Prince Lot Hula Festival
Traditionally held in July
The annual Prince Lot Hula Festival, named in memory of Prince Lot who later reigned as King Kamehameha V, honors the great Aliʻi and his contributions to his people’s culture. The event brings together Native Hawaiian hula practitioners, craftsmen, and educators from across the islands to share their manaʻo (knowledge) and dance hula.
Month of September
Aloha Festivals is the largest Hawaiian cultural celebration in the U.S. Aloha Festivals has become a celebration of Hawaiian culture with major events on the island of O‘ahu. The premier showcase celebrates Hawai‘i’s music, dance and history, and is intended to preserve the islands’ unique traditions.
Traditionally held in August
The annual Korean Festival is Hawaiʻi’s premier celebration of all things Korean. Presented by the Korean American Foundation Hawaii, with support from the Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce and dozens of community organizations and businesses, the Korean Festival shares, promotes, strengthens and raises awareness of Korean culture, food, music and heritage in Hawai‘i.
Traditionally held in September
Annually organized by the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, the Okinawan Festival is one of Hawai‘i’s largest ethnic festivals. The festival aims to share the culture and spirit of Hawai‘i’s Okinawan community. A family-oriented cultural festival, the Okinawan Festival’s events and activities showcase Hawai‘i’s multiethnic culture, inviting residents and visitors to join in. The festival is most popular for its many food booths — offering Okinawan cuisine and local favorites — cultural and historical exhibits, arts and crafts, children’s games, and lots of Okinawan entertainment.
Traditionally held in September
Each year, members from multiple Native American, American Indian and Alaska Native communities gather on the Bishop Museum’s great lawn to share and pass on their cultures, educate others, and spread positivity and inclusivity at the annual Honolulu Intertribal Powwow. During the powwow, Bishop Museum hosts native dance performances and exhibits showcasing the diversity of native art.
Sports & Fitness Events:
Watch, Walk, or Run
Come celebrate famous Olympian and Ambassador of Modern Surfing Duke Kahanamoku, watch world class surfers ride the North Shore’s famous winter waves or maybe test your inner spartan as you run along beautiful trails through valleys you’ve seen in the movies.
The largest half marathon in Hawai‘i, The Hapalua is back this year for in-person competition. The 13.1-mile race begins and ends in Waikīkī, with runners enjoying spectacular views as they take a loop course through Honolulu and up and around the slopes of Lē‘ahi (Diamond Head State Monument) before ending at a Kapi‘olani Park finish line. Runners completing The Hapalua receive a medal and shirt. Also at the finish line, participants can relax, recover and celebrate their success with fresh, hot malasadas and cold, refreshing shave ice.
LPGA LOTTE Championship
The annual LOTTE Championship features a star-studded field of marquee pros who grace the world stage of ladies’ professional golf.
To kick off the summer each year, Hawaiʻi Bicycling Leauge heads up North for the Haleʻiwa Metric Century Ride. The course takes you through Haleʻiwa Town, out towards Kaʻena Point, then back along the shores past Waimea Valley, Sunset Beach, and Kahuku, with the 100km turn around at Hauʻula Beach Park.
The Honolulu Triathlon, taking place on May 15, 2022, is an Olympic-distance triathlon beginning and ending at Ala Moana Beach Park, and features a 1.5K swim along the shore, a 40K bike course along O‘ahu’s south shore and a 10K double loop run ending at the park’s Magic Island area.
The Hawaiʻi Adaptive Surfing Championships (HASC) brings together elite adaptive surfers from Hawai‘i and around the world for competition at iconic Waikīkī’s Queen’s surf break. Hosted by AccesSurf Hawaiʻi and Pacific Rim Sports, the event spotlights 90 surfers from 16 nations competing in seven divisions with a mission of paving the path for the inclusion of surfing in the Paralympic Games. The competition includes a traditional Hawaiian blessing, a lei draping of Waikīkī’s Duke Kahanamoku statue, hula performances and more.
The annual event at Kualoa Private Nature Reserve includes four race types: Sprint, Super, Beast
and Ultra Beast in one weekend. Participants can run one of these individual races, or take on the ultimate Spartan Trifecta Challenge. The race is designed to test participants’ physical and mental toughness and entitle them to accomplishment when crossing the finish line.
The 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 legendary waterman. The festivities culminate with the Duke Kahanamoku Statue lei draping ceremony on the anniversary of his birthday.
Honolulu Century Ride
During Hawaiʻi’s longest-running annual biking event, riders experience all the coastal beauty Oʻahu has to offer. The 100-mile ride starts from Kapiʻolani Regional park and heads down the Kaiwi coast through Hawaiʻi Kai and Makapuʻu to the North Shore and back again. This community event brings together riders from across the state and country to join in on a breathtaking ride on Oʻahu.
December, second Sunday
Thousands of runners from around the world make their way to O‘ahu in December to compete in the Honolulu Marathon. The Honolulu Marathon is the fourth largest marathon in the United States after New York, Chicago and Boston. There is no time limit and everyone is allowed to finish. The 26.2-mile scenic course includes spectacular views alongside world-famous Waikīkī Beach and Lēʻahi (Diamond Head).
Enjoy this three-day celebration highlighting the unique products of Hawai‘i. More than 400 exhibitors offer a wide range of goods made in Hawai‘i including art, clothing, food, home furnishings, jewelry, toys, fresh produce and plants and authentic, Hawaiian handicrafts. In 2021, Made in Hawaiʻi Festival launched its online marketplace, creating the ability to showcase local products year-round and to provide an online platform to purchase products.
Every October, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and family come together to celebrate inclusion, representation, and community efforts in Hawaiʻi’s capital. Events occur periodically throughout the month with the festivities centered around the Pride Parade on October 15 along Kalākaua Avenue.