Hawaii Calendar: December 2011

A look ahead to the happenings of the Hawaiian Islands

By: Marty Wentzel
Lahaina’s historic banyan tree will be decked out for the holidays.// © 2011 Bevis Chin
Lahaina’s historic banyan tree will be decked out for the holidays.// © 2011 Bevis Chin

Spotlight: Maui County

Dec. 3-4: Holiday Lighting of the Banyan Tree. Lahaina’s historic banyan tree brightens up for the holidays with thousands of colored lights. Choirs sing carols in Hawaiian, accompanied by musical groups and children’s hula performances. Santa hosts a cookie workshop, and kids can play in a pile of real snow. In addition, a holiday crafts fair takes place throughout each day. www.visitlahaina.com

Hawaii Island (Big Island)

Dec. 3: Waimea Christmas All-Day Festivities and Parade. This much-anticipated annual event celebrates its 51st anniversary in Waimea. It offers a day of arts, crafts, music and numerous yuletide season activities. Locals and visitors turn out for the culmination — a festive parade including Santa and a brigade of lighted trucks — from historic Church Row to Waimea Park. www.waimeatown.org

Dec. 10: Holiday Lights at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. During this lively community celebration, children can create a unique handmade ornament to be displayed outdoors on the Volcano Art Center’s holiday trees throughout the holiday season. Other festivities include caroling, marshmallow roasting and a visit from Santa Claus. www.volcanoartcenter.org

Dec. 31: Traditional Mochi Pounding. A normally sleepy little village turns lively during the 14th annual mochi celebration, when islanders make Japanese rice cakes in the tradition of their ancestors. Longtime residents share stories of days gone by, and guests can take a turn at pounding the glutinous sticky rice for good luck. Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast, Wailea. www.akikosbnb.com

Kauai

Dec 2-31: Festival of Lights. Signaling the start of the holiday season, this cherished annual family event opens on Dec. 2 with performances by local choirs, a parade of floats on Rice Street and the lighting of Kauai’s historic county building. Clients can enjoy the Christmas decorations inside the building from 6-8 p.m. every Friday through Sunday. Lihue. www.kauaifestivals.com

Dec. 17: Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade. This homespun west Kauai procession runs along Kaumualii Highway from the intersection at Waimea Canyon Drive to Hofgaard Park in the center of town. Afterward, locals and visitors mingle over light refreshments, sing carols and enjoy live entertainment in a setting of brilliant holiday lights. www.wkbpa.org

Maui County

Dec. 14, 21 and 28: Masters of Hawaiian Music. Every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., entertainer George Kahumoku Jr. serves as master of ceremonies for a show starring revered Hawaii musicians, from deft ukulele players to lyrical falsetto singers. This month’s guests include Tia Carrere, Daniel Ho, Ledward Kaapana, Herb Ohta Jr. and Jon Yamasato. Napili Kai Beach Resort, northwest Maui. www.slackkey.com

Oahu

Dec. 1-20: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Surf’s up, and that means it’s time once again for this high-profile professional surfing series, staged in monstrous winter waves. Oahu’s events, which help to determine this year’s esteemed Vans Triple Crown champion, take place during days when the conditions are best. Check out the action at the North Shore’s three premier surfing destinations: Haleiwa, Sunset Beach and Pipeline. www.triplecrownofsurfing.com

Dec. 3-Jan. 2: Honolulu City Lights. At the end of each year the downtown area sparkles with yuletide festivities, presided over by the city’s 65-foot Norfolk Island pine. In the lobby of City Hall, clients can browse exhibits of holiday trees. Buildings downtown get into the spirit with creative lighting displays. www.honolulucitylights.org

Dec. 11: Honolulu Marathon. This footrace may be 39 years old, but it’s still going strong. The scenic course starts downtown, winds through Waikiki to East Honolulu, then back to Waikiki, with the finish line in Kapiolani Park. Cheering crowds and hula dancers line the route. www.honolulumarathon.org

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