Hawaii Calendar: December 2012

A look ahead to the happenings of the Hawaiian Islands By: Marty Wentzel
City Hall during the annual celebration, Honolulu City Lights  // © 2012 Oahu Visitors Bureau
City Hall during the annual celebration, Honolulu City Lights  // © 2012 Oahu Visitors Bureau

Spotlight: Oahu
Dec. 1-Jan. 1: Honolulu City Lights.
At the end of each year, downtown Honolulu sparkles with yuletide festivities, presided over by the city’s 65-foot Norfolk Island pine in front of Honolulu Hale (City Hall). Opening night brings an electric light parade and live concert and, throughout the month, clients can browse an exhibit of holiday trees and wreaths. www.honolulucitylights.org

Hawaii Island
Dec. 1: Waimea Christmas All-Day Festivities and Parade.
The upcountry ranch town of Waimea presents a day of arts, crafts, music and yuletide season activities. Locals and visitors turn out for a festive parade winding from historic Church Row to Waimea Park, highlighted by Santa and a brigade of lighted trucks. www.waimeatown.org

Dec. 29: Traditional Mochi Pounding. A normally sleepy little village turns lively during the annual mochi-zuki celebration, when islanders make Japanese rice cakes in the tradition of their ancestors. At Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast in Wailea, longtime residents share stories of days gone by, and clients can take a turn at pounding the glutinous sticky rice for good luck. www.akikosbnb.com

Dec 7-Jan. 1: Festival of Lights.
Signaling the start of the holiday season, this annual family event opens with performances by local choirs, a parade of floats down Lihue’s Rice Street and the lighting of Kauai’s historic county building. Clients can enjoy the Christmas decorations inside the building Friday-Sunday evenings. www.kauaifestivals.com

Dec. 22: 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 refreshments, sing carols and enjoy live entertainment under holiday lights. www.wkbpa.org

Dec. 1-2: 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. A holiday crafts fair takes place throughout each day. www.visitlahaina.com

Dec. 12, 19, 26: 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. This month’s guests include Owana Salazar, Ledward Kaapana, Herb Ohta and Jon Yamasato. www.slackkey.com

Dec. 8-20: 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 the monstrous winter waves of the North Shore. Events, which help to determine this year’s esteemed Vans Triple Crown champion, take place on days when the conditions are biggest and best. www.triplecrownofsurfing.com

Dec. 9: Honolulu Marathon. This footrace may be 40 years old, but it’s still going strong. The scenic 26.2-mile course starts downtown, winds through Waikiki and past Diamond Head to east Honolulu, then back to Waikiki, with the finish line in Kapiolani Park. Cheering crowds — including a stage with hula dancers — line the route. www.honolulumarathon.org

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