Kauai Festival of Lights founder Elizabeth Freeman welcomes guests to the 20th anniversary of the beloved holiday celebration. // © 2016 Kauai Festival of Lights
12.2-30: Kauai Festival of Lights. Kauai’s historic county building sets a magical stage for the island’s largest holiday celebration, with live music, Kauai-style decorations and an impressive collection of themed trees. It’s free and open from 6 to 8 p.m. every Friday through Sunday.
12.3: Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade. In the upcountry ranch town of Waimea, this homespun parade winds from Church Row to Waimea Park. Highlights include a brigade of lighted trucks and, after the parade, fireside visits with Santa at Parker Ranch Center.
12.30: Traditional Mochi Pounding. At Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast in Wailea, islanders make Japanese rice cakes in the tradition of their ancestors. Visitors can take a turn pounding the glutinous sticky rice for good luck as locals share stories of days gone by.
12.3-4: Holiday Lighting of the Banyan Tree. Lahaina’s historic banyan is decorated for the holidays with thousands of colored lights. Cookie decorating, face painting, live music and a crafts fair take place throughout each day. The tree will be lit at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 and will stay lit until New Year’s Day.
12.7-28: Masters of Hawaiian Music. Every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Napili Kai Beach Resort, entertainer George Kahumoku Jr. serves as master of ceremonies for a show starring revered Hawaii musicians, from deft ukulele players to lyrical falsetto singers.
12.8-20: Billabong Pipe Masters. When the winter waves rise up on Oahu’s North Shore, high-profile surfers compete for the title of world’s best, as crowds watch from the sands off Banzai Pipeline. Events take place during days when conditions are biggest and best.
12.11: Honolulu Marathon. This scenic 26.2-mile footrace starts on Ala Moana Boulevard, winds through Waikiki and past Diamond Head to east Honolulu, then back to Waikiki, with the finish line in Kapiolani Park.