Hawaii cultural festivals & special events September – December 2017

Kauai’s Festival of Lights is held in December

If you are looking for a reason to go to Hawaii at the end of 2017, perhaps a special festival is the only excuse you need. You’ll find excellent food, music and cultural festivals to enjoy.

As we pick up from were we left off with August 2017, we’ll look at all the top festivals and special events in Hawaii for the months of September, October, November and December 2017. We’ll organize this list of top events in chronological order by date. The island will be noted as well as any available links for further information. Note that some festivals have scattered dates and/or have various events over several days.

A note about the Festivals of Aloha

The biggest Hawaiian cultural festival is the Festivals of Aloha, which spans across most of the islands and over multiple dates in September and October. As we get further into the list, we will aim to highlight some of the bigger events from the Festivals of Aloha. We also recommend looking through these links for the full lineup.


16th – 17th – Maui – Festivals of Aloha Hoolaulea  – more information here.

8th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th – Hawaii (Big) Island – Hawaii Island Festival – Events scattered throughout the month include a  pageant, poke contest, falsetto contest, parade, royal court appearances and more.

22nd – Molokai – Molokai Canoe Festival – 4th Annual Kulaia Hoolaulea

24th – 30th – Kauai –  Kauai Mokihana Festival – Hawaiian cultural festival

30th – Lanai – True Hawaiian Spirit Celebration Hoolaulea – more information here.


5th – 8th – Maui – 95th Maui Fair

6th – 7th – Molokai – Festivals of Aloha – Opening ceremony start with Molokai Royal Court on 6th. The parade and hoolaulea are on the 7th.

7th – 8th – Kauai – Coconut Festival

7th – 14th – Maui – Festivals of Aloha in Hana – see this link for more information.

14th – Kauai – 29th Emalani Festival Kauai  – Hawaiian cultural festival paying homage to Queen Emma’s journey across the Alakai forest and swamp. This festival features a three-day hula competition. It’s held at Kokee State Park.

20th – 22nd – Maui – Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

28th – Hawaii (Big) Island – Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

31st – All islands – Halloween – Check with your concierge and local newspapers for special events. Also check for special events and trick or treating at local shopping centers. In Hawaii, Lahaina, Maui is known for their Halloween celebration with Front Street becoming one big Halloween Party with a children’s costume parade, family-friendly activities, music and more.

Chefs of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival post before a gala. Photo credit: Orlando Benedicto


1st – 5th – Oahu – Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

3rd – 12th – Hawaii (Big) Island – Kona Coffee Cultural Festival – A 10-day festival celebrating the world-famous Kona Coffee and the surrounding culture.

10th – 11th – Maui – Hula O Na Keiki – A celebration of children’s hula.

19th – Kauai – 25th Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival “Kauai Style”


1st – Kauai – Festival of Lights opening night

2nd – Maui – Lighting of the Banyan Tree in Lahaina

2nd – Oahu – Honolulu City Lights opening night

Christmas season – All Hawaiian Islands – Celebrate the season with aloha. Special events including music, Santa’s arrival and more can be found across the islands. Pick up the local newspapers for a listing of events. As the time draws nearer to December, we’ll update our Waikiki Christmas and Maui Christmas posts.

31st – New Year’s Eve – Welcome 2018 with celebrations all across Hawaii. We create some of the most comprehensive lists of New Year’s Eve fireworks and events across the Hawaiian Islands. Our lists are currently in flux as we await the announcements of the coming celebrations, however you can take a peek at them now to get an idea of what may happen again this coming season. As the time draws nearer, these lists will be fully updated:

We’ve listed the major events, but there are many more festivals and events going on throughout the year. An easy way to discover festival happenings is to use the search feature at  www.GoHawaii.com/trip-planning/events-festivals

Around December or January, we plan to create a list of the major cultural festivals for January through March 2018. In the meantime, if you are searching for more information on events for that time period or beyond, use the above instructions to search for them.


  • You may have noticed the Hawaiian word hoolaulea mentioned several times. It means Hawaiian celebration or festival.
  • As far as possible, we have linked to sites for more information on the individual events. Initially, some may not have many details until the time draws nearer to the event.
  • Additional resources for festivals and special events:

Which of these Hawaiian festivals would you like to attend this fall?

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