Hawaii cultural festivals and special events for September, October, November, December 2023

Aloha Festivals Royal Court (2022) Photo by Aloha Festivals

Hawaii’s cultural events and festivals are making a comeback for 2023 with several returning after a pandemic break. Checking out one of these festivals is a great way to get to know the local culture through food, music, hula, parades and music.

In this article, we’re listing the upcoming cultural festivals in chronological order and noting the island where the event will be held. Basically, we’re using this format:  date – island – event title – short description if necessary.

As you will likely notice, the Festivals of Aloha are big cultural events on all the Hawaiian Islands with multiple events spanning from September through October.

The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is another series of events that are held across the Hawaiian Islands. Sadly, due to the fires on Maui, the Hawaii Food & Wine events that were planned for Maui are postponed until sometime in spring 2024.

A note about Maui

Before we jump into the list, we want to add just a bit more context about Maui. The island is not closed to visitors. While the loss of life and property in Lahaina is profoundly tragic, most of the island was unscathed by the wildfires.  As we shared recently, only West Maui is off-limits for visitors. Much of the rest of Maui is open for exploration. We have heard and read many pleas from people in Maui who depend upon tourism for their employment and/or businesses. They need tourists to return to Maui.

September 2023

9th – Oahu – Festivals of Aloha Royal Court Investiture & Opening Ceremony

9th – Maui – Kumai ka Hula – Maui’s premier adult hula competition. This event is part of the Festivals of Aloha.

9th – Hawaii (Big) Island – Queen Lili-uokalani Birthday Celebration – This is a cultural tribute to the beloved Hawaiian queen.

9th – Maui – 1st Annual Slack Key Festival at the Shops at Wailea

23rd – Oahu – Festivals of Aloha 69th Annual Waikiki Ho’olaule’a – touted as the biggest block part in Hawaii with booths showcasing Hawaii cuisine, crafts and culture.

23rd – Maui – 21st Annual Richard Ho’opi’i Leo Ki’eki’e Falsetto Contest will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua

24th – 30th – Kauai – Kauai Mokihana Festival – A week-long Hawaiian cultural festival.

28th – 30th – Hawaii (Big) Island – Aloha Shirt Festival

30th – Oahu – Festivals of Aloha 75th Annual Floral Parade – this stunningly beautiful floral parade runs from Ala Moana Park through Kalakaua Avenue to Kapi’olani Park

October 2023

6th – 7th – Molokai – Festivals of Aloha celebrations on Molokai. See this link for more information.

8th – Kauai – 31st Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival – Kauai Style

8th – Maui – 16th Annual Maui Ukulele Festival 

13th – 15th – Maui – Gathering of the Voyagers – a community event celebrating the rich  Hawaiian and Polynesian voyaging culture.

14th – Lanai – Festivals of Aloha celebration at Lanai. See this link for more information.

14th – Hawaii (Big) Island – Volcano Art Center’s Forest Fair

15th – Kauai – Kauai Chocolate & Coffee Festival

21st – 28th – Maui – Festivals of Aloha in Hana – there’s an entire week of daily events. See this link for more details.

20th-21st – Hawaii (Big) Island – Hawaii Food & Wine events. See this link for more details.

21st – Hawaii (Big) Island – Hawaii Island Festival of Birds

28th – 30th – Maui – Festivals of Aloha in Wailea – there are three daily events to be held in Wailea. See this link for more information.

29th – Oahu – Hawaii Food & Wine Festival’s Kids Foodie Fest.

29th – Hawaii (Big) Island – 26th Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival – Kona Style

29th – Nov 8th – Oahu – 31st Annual Hawaii Woodshow

November 2023

2nd – 5th – Oahu – Multiple Hawaii Food & Wine events. See this link for more details.

3rd – 12th – Hawaii (Big) Island – 52nd Kona Coffee Cultural Festival – dubbed as Hawaii’s oldest food festival. It not only celebrates Hawaii’s world famous coffee, but also the rich local culture.

4th – Kauai – 35th Annual Emalani Festival – cultural arts and music celebrate the historical arrival of Queen Emma.

December 2023

TBD – Kauai – Kauai’s Festival of Lights – features colorful Christmas lights and decorations. Dates for 2023 are to be determined. See their website closer to December.

2nd – Oahu – Honolulu City Lights opening night and parade.

7th – Oahu – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is honored at Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

9th – Hawaii (Big) Island – Kailua-Kona Christmas Parade

We’re checking in on a few other festivals that may be returning this fall. If/when they announce what they’re doing, we’ll update this list.

Which of these Hawaii cultural events would you most like to see?

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