Celebrations are a big deal on the Big Island, where annual
festivals showcase an appealing mix of music, food, arts, crafts
and nature. Clients visiting the island can time their vacations
with the following upcoming events.
" Aloha Festivals, Aug. 24 to Sept. 29. Part of
a yearly statewide celebration, this cultural party presents
visitors with an opportunity to mingle with the community and learn
more about what makes the Big Island unique. Highlights include a
contest of falsetto singing and storytelling, two hula festivals,
the Ms. Aloha Nui contest (a beauty pageant for large women),
parades and hoolaulea (street parties), a film festival, children’s
day at Lyman House Museum in Hilo and a community fair. Most Aloha
Festivals events are free when participants wear a $5 festival
ribbon, available at outlets on all islands. Call 800-852-7690.
" Sam Choy Poke Festival, Sept. 13-15. Hawaii’s
favorite snack and side dish, poke is made of marinated fresh
seafood cut into bite-size pieces, served raw, seared or cooked.
New varieties are created every year for the festival, headed by
Hawaii’s most visible chef, Sam Choy. The weekend includes a
benefit auction and dinner Friday evening and a golf tournament and
live entertainment Saturday. On Sunday, amateur and professional
chefs present their poke innovations for more than $15,000 in
prizes. Call 808-880-3023.
" Hamakua Music Festival, Oct. 12 to Nov. 1.
Each year, renowned jazz, classical and Hawaiian artists head to
Honokaa on the windward side of the Big Island, performing live in
the Honokaa People’s Theatre and offering master classes to
promising island high school students. This year’s performers
include jazz pianist David Benoit on Oct. 12 and classical pianist
Awadagin Pratt on Nov. 1. Since its inception in 1994, the festival
has raised more than $50,000 for music education, and it provides
funds to local schools for activities such as band trips. Call
808-775-3378 for information on additional artists appearing this
" Big Island Festival, Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. The
newest annual event on the calendar celebrates the diversity of the
island. During the five-day festival, clients can savor a wide
variety of distinctive Big Island experiences including health and
spa treatments, golf, sports, farm tours, a designer trunk show and
Hawaiian cultural events. Each evening, a different resort along
the Kohala Coast hosts a food and wine gala showcasing the talents
of the men and women who were named Food & Wine magazine’s Best
New Chefs in America for 2002, along with Hawaii’s top gourmets.
" Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Nov. 1-10.
Hawaii’s oldest food festival, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
features 30 events focusing on different aspects of the Big
Island’s 170-year coffee tradition. Clients may attend coffee
tastings, a lantern parade, an art exhibit, a scholarship pageant,
a coffee bean picking contest, a golf tournament, a healthy-baby
contest, live concerts, coffee farm tours, arts and crafts
workshops, a lei contest and a bowling tournament. Admission is
free, but guests are asked to purchase a $2 festival button,
available at all of the events. Call 808-326-7820.