Hawaii Calendar: April 2013

A look ahead to the happenings of the Hawaiian Islands
The band Maunalua performed at last year’s Mele Mei. // © 2013 Mele Mei
The band Maunalua performed at last year’s Mele Mei. // © 2013 Mele Mei

Spotlight: Oahu
April 26-May 26: Mele Mei.
This harmonious celebration showcases the universal appeal of Hawaii’s music. Clients can attend such tuneful events as the Lei of Stars concert; an international hula competition; a ukulele, slack-key and steel guitar jam; festival workshops; and the 36th annual Na Hoku Hanohano awards, Hawaii’s version of the Grammys. Events take place at various Waikiki venues. www.melemei.com

Hawaii Island
March 31-April 6:
Merrie Monarch Festival. Hawaii’s most prestigious hula competition features group contests in ancient and modern dances as well as a solo Miss Aloha Hula competition. Tickets to the stadium stage performances are hard to come by, but there are plenty of related public events, including an outdoor party on Coconut Island and the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade through town. Edith Kanakaole Stadium, Hilo; www.merriemonarch.com

April 27-May 5: Kau Coffee Festival. Here’s a celebration of coffee from the island’s Kau district and the farmers who grow it, the culture surrounding it and the landscape in which it thrives. Visitors are invited to a mix of fun and educational events including the Miss Kau Coffee pageant, a hoolaulea (outdoor party), a recipe contest, coffee farm tours, hikes, stargazing and workshops. www.kaucoffeefest.com

April 5-6: Spring Fantasy Orchid Show.
Creativity is blooming at this free annual flower festival featuring fabulous plants, orchid crafts, art exhibits, plein air painting workshops, culinary demonstrations, walking tours, children’s activities, food sales and live music in the Hawaiian Congregational Church. Now in its seventh year, it takes place in the historic west Kauai town of Hanapepe. www.hanapepe.org

April 12 and 14: Slack-Key Guitar Concerts. 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 concerts in north Kauai, with proceeds supporting outreach programs for families in the area. Hanalei Community Center; www.mcmasterslackkey.com

April 5: Wailuku First Friday.
Wailuku town holds its monthly street party with sidewalk artisans, crafters and food vendors plus contests, workshops and live music. The free community event gives visitors a chance to mingle with locals and sample specials from favorite eateries. The party continues on the second Friday in Lahaina, the third Friday in Makawao and the fourth Friday in Kihei. www.mauifridays.com

April 20-21: East Maui Taro Festival. For 20 years, rural Hana town has dedicated one weekend annually to Hawaii’s most cherished agricultural product, known for its edible root and large leaves. Clients learn about the historical significance of taro while enjoying hula, music, food, arts, crafts, cultural demonstrations and a taro pancake breakfast. Hana Ballpark, Hana; www.tarofestival.org

April 2: Kuhio Beach Torch-Lighting Show.
Nightly except on Mondays, this free outdoor event opens with a torch-lighting ceremony and the blowing of a conch shell. Next, visitors are treated to Hawaiian music and hula by the sea. Festivities begin at sunset. Look for it near the statue of famed Hawaiian waterman Duke Kahanamoku in Waikiki. www.gohawaii.com

April 27: Waikiki Spam Jam. Transforming Waikiki’s main drag into an outdoor party, this Hawaii Food Bank fundraiser celebrates islanders’ love of Spam with some of Honolulu’s finest restaurants serving Spam-inspired creations. Two stages provide nonstop entertainment ranging from hula dancers to local musicians, and merchandise vendors sell Spam-themed items and Hawaiian crafts. www.spamjamhawaii.com