Hawaii cultural experts join Maui visitors and residents for the annual Celebration of the Arts festival. // © 2014 Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
May 9-11: Celebration of the Arts. Here’s a unique opportunity to experience Hawaii’s heart and soul in an authentic fashion. Blending culture and the arts, this hands-on festival invites clients to interact with island artists, dancers, musicians and cultural experts during workshops, films and concerts. Highlights include a luau and evening concert. Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
May 2-11: Kau Coffee Festival. Latte lovers and drip devotees alike will want to stop by this annual spree in the scenic Kau district. Activities include the Miss Kau Coffee Pageant, coffee tasting, a recipe contest, music and entertainment, farm tours and demonstrations. A big hoolaulea (outdoor party) takes place at the Pahala Community Center. Some events are free.
May 22-26: Big Island Film Festival. Focusing on the art of storytelling, this annual event distinguishes itself by spotlighting new, independent movies and the people who make them. Clients can watch films on big screens by day as well as at night under the stars. Actor tributes, workshops, concerts and parties round out the schedule. Fairmont Orchid and The Shops at Mauna Lani.
May 2 and 4: Slack Key Guitar Concert. Loosely tuned strings create a uniquely Hawaiian sound in this island style of guitar playing. Every Friday and Sunday afternoon, visitors can hear it firsthand at casual afternoon concerts in north Kauai, with proceeds supporting outreach programs for families in the area. Hanalei Community Center.
May 25: Banana Poka Roundup. A free environmental education fair with workshops, exhibits and family activities, this event is dedicated to eradicating the resilient and spreading banana poka vines that threaten to crowd out native Hawaiian plants and trees of the upland forest. Clients can weave the pliable vines into baskets while listening to live music. Kokee State Park.
May 3: Maui Onion Festival. For 25 years, this signature event dedicated to the world-famous Maui Kula onion has attracted locals and visitors alike. Guests can dig into free, live entertainment on two stages, food and crafts booths, cooking demonstrations, a beer garden, Maui onion-pairing dinner and a Maui onion-eating contest for adults and kids. Whalers Village, Lahaina.
May 1: Lei Day Celebration. Hawaii’s tradition of trading floral garlands never grows old. Clients can join the fun during free programs hosted by the city and county of Honolulu. Lei-makers display their creations throughout the day, and food vendors, music, hula and crafts accompany the festivities. Kapiolani Park Bandstand, Waikiki.
May 3: Waikiki Spam Jam. This Hawaii Food Bank fundraiser celebrates islanders’ love of Spam with an outdoor party in Waikiki. Some of Honolulu’s finest restaurants come out to the festival to dish up Spam-inspired creations. Two stages provide non-stop entertainment, including hula dancers and local musicians, and merchandise vendors sell Spam-themed items and Hawaiian crafts.