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SPOTLIGHT: MAUI12.9: Holiday Tree Lighting at Ulupalakua. A festive spirit imbues this event in Upcountry Maui, where cooler temperatures inspire holiday fun. A public tree lighting is enhanced by live music, sparkling toasts, photos with Santa and a family film under the stars.
HAWAII ISLAND12.1: Aloha Friday on the Porch. For hands-on Hawaiiana, stop by the Volcano Art Center Gallery, home of ongoing workshops with experts in their fields. The Dec. 1 gathering features Wes Awana, who shares his love of the ukulele and gets the group strumming.
12.30: Mochi Pounding. Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast hosts this beloved annual tradition. Everyone gets a chance to pound glutinous sticky rice into Japanese rice cakes for good luck. Fortune tellers, crafts demonstrators and food vendors enliven the scene.
KAUAI12.1: Lights on Rice Parade. Lihue town radiates aloha during this colorful procession along Rice Street. One of Kauai’s biggest bashes of the year, it showcases classic cars, singing groups, taiko drummers, marching bands, beauty queens and local businesses spreading cheer.
12.2: Kauai Island Crafters Fair. Here’s a great opportunity for Kauai-style holiday shopping. Artists display and sell their handmade jewelry, paintings, quilts, bags, note cards and other products, turning the Kauai Veteran’s Center into a merry marketplace.
12.8-20: Billabong Pipe Masters. Oahu’s North Shore boasts some of the best waves anywhere, making it the perfect venue for this final stop on the men’s world surfing tour. Spectators watch the action from the safety of the sand at Ehukai Beach Park.
12.10: Honolulu Marathon. Hawaii’s most famous footrace covers 26.2 scenic miles, starting at Ala Moana Beach Park and ending at Waikiki’s Kapiolani Park. Along the way, runners are rewarded with ocean views, fan support and hula girls on stage at Mile 22.