Hawaii cultural festivals & special events: September – December 2018


With fall airfare to Hawaii being on sale, it’s the perfect time to plan to a getaway and perhaps experience one of the Aloha State’s cultural festivals. We’ll list what’s in store for the months of September, October, November and December. We’ve organized this list of top events in chronological order by date. The islands 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 list the festival dates by island. We also recommend looking through these links for the full lineup.


1st, 15th, 22nd, 29th – Oahu – events for the Festivals of Aloha. See this link for more details.

7th, 8th, 15th, 16th, 21st – Maui – events for the Festivals of Aloha. See this link for more details.

7th, 8th, 15th – Hawaii (Big) Island – events for the Festivals of Aloha. See this link for more details.

8th – Maui – La ‘Ulu (Breadfruit Day) – a celebration of the Polynesian food staple, breadfruit. See this link for more details.

23rd to 29th – Kauai – Kauai Mokihana Festival – Hawaiian cultural festival

29th – Lanai – True Hawaiian spirit Celebration Ho’olaule’a, which is part of the Festivals of Aloha. See this link for more details.


4th to 7th – Maui – 96th Maui Fair

5th to 6th – Molokai – events for the Festivals of Aloha. See this link for more details.

6th to 13th – Maui – events for the Festivals of Aloha in Hana. See this link for more details.

6th – Hawaii (Big) Island – Hawaii Food and Wine Festival event on Hawaii Island.

13th – Kauai – Emalani Festival -Hawaiian cultural festival paying homage to Queen Emma’s journey across the Alakai forest and swamp. See this link for more information.

19th to 21st – Maui – Hawaii Food and Wine Festival events on Maui.

24th to 28th – Oahu – Hawaii Food and Wine Festival events on Oahu.

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. See our Halloween in Hawaii article for more suggestions.


3rd – Kauai – This year’s Coconut Festival will be slightly different. A combined Kauai Veterans Parade, CocoFest Lite and 1st Saturday Event is planned.

9th to 10th – Maui – 28th Annual Hula O Na Keiki – A celebration of hula performed by children.

9th to 18th – Hawaii (Big) Island – The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is in it’s 48th year.

25th – Kauai – 26th Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival — “Kauai Style”


1st – Kauai – Opening night of the 22nd Annual Festival of Lights. Note that there are additional nights of the Festival of Lights throughout December.

1st – Maui – Opening night of the Banyan Tree Holiday Lighting in Lahaina. Check with VisitLahaina.com for information. Note that the Banyan Tree will be lit nightly through most of December.

1st – Oahu – Honolulu City Lights opening night. Note that the ornaments and lights will be on display throughout December.

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 2019 with celebrations all across Hawaii. We create some of the most comprehensive lists of New Year’s Eve fireworks and events throughout 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:

Kauai Festival of Lights

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 2019. 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.

  1. I’m so sad what’s going on in Hawaii all of this is just so terrible. I pray for all of you. My girlfriend and I have a vacation planned for this November but it’s not looking good for us? 😣 How terrible I will pray for Hawaii.

  2. Hi!

    This is by far the most comprehensive site on Hawaii I have seen. It’s been my go-to for about the past four months as we planned our first trip to Maui (and Hawaii, for that matter).

    We are in Wake Forest, NC, so we are practically neighbors! I’m hoping you can lend some guidance about whether we should move forward with our trip or stay and reschedule for a later date.
    Our flight is leaving Raleigh next Wednesday (Sept. 19) and we are set to return Sept. 26. I’ve been keeping an eye on all the hurricane/tropical storm activity, and I’m having a hard time knowing whether or not the area we are staying in is under a lot of stress. We will be based out of Kaanapali and plan to explore the bamboo forest, hike a volcano, and possibly make a few stops on the Road to Hana. Not looking to go too far that way, just a little.

    We plan on placing a call to talk to someone locally, but I wanted to get your input based on your extensive knowledge of the layout.

    Thank you so very much for all the work you have put into this site!

    1. Hi neighbor! 🙂

      If it was me, I’d still go to Maui. According to reports I’ve read, though Tropical Storm Olivia did make landfall in Maui yesterday, it was a relatively light landing.

      Certainly keep an eye on the Central Pacific hurricane forecast, which currently looks clear — http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc/

      Also, just in case you’ve not read our recent article about FAQs on Hawaii hurricanes, check that out: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2018/09/11/faqs-about-hurricanes-in-hawaii/

      1. Thank you, Sheila!

        I did find your Hurricane FAQs after leaving a comment (oops!), but found lots of good information there, too. We are definitely going to be contacting the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which is great advice. Again, I can’t tell you how grateful we are for the work you have done to create such a tremendous resource.

        I have always wanted to go to Hawaii and this is the biggest vacation we have planned. Needless to say, I cannot believe we chose the one week where we are getting slammed in NC with a hurricane and Hawaii is experiencing such unusual and erratic weather, too. If I could just pick lottery numbers, right? LOL

        Thank you for taking the time to respond. I hope y’all get through Florence with no impact. Stay safe!

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