Island life has plenty of appeal: tropical sunsets, snorkeling with sea turtles, sipping Mai Tais on the beach. But festivals in Kauai take your vacation to a whole new level. Whether you want to learn more about Hawaiian life and culture, find a unique handcrafted souvenir to take home or give the kids some extra excitement, there’s a festival on Kauai just perfect for you and your family.
It’s recommended that you check ahead of time in case weather or some other factor postpones or cancels a particular event. Here are some of the best Kauai festivals and events:
Koloa Plantation Days
Held for 10 days every July, Koloa Plantation Days in Old Koloa Town focuses on the history of the area as a former sugar plantation. Browse through booths of local art while listening to Hawaiian music, or pick up some local food specialties and check out an exhibit about the town’s history.
A big rodeo is one of the highlights of the Kauai festival, and there’s also a golf tournament that takes place during the event. Don’t forget to catch the parade, which rolls through town on the last Saturday of Koloa Plantation Days each year.
Waimea Town Celebration
The west side of Kauai comes alive during Waimea Town Celebration, a nine-day festival held every February in the historic town of Waimea. Cultural presentations, Hawaiian music in the park and food demos are just a few of the activities you’ll find scattered at various sites throughout Waimea during the festival.
Films and performances celebrating the culture of Hawaii occur throughout the event, so you can duck into an air-conditioned theater to relax while soaking up some local culture.
There are also plenty of competitions to watch, from canoe races to softball tournaments, and free admission means you can explore different events while staying on budget. Bring the kids to the Kauai festival rodeo to cheer on their favorite rider, or sign up for the ice cream eating contest and test your speed-eating skills.
Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair
Held every August at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue, the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair puts the focus on local agriculture and state fair-style amusements. Agricultural exhibits, a Ferris wheel and a fruit and vegetable show that awards prizes to local growers are all part of the fun.
Send your flower-loving spouse to check out the orchid show inside the stadium while you bring the kids to the livestock tent to snuggle bunnies and pet goats at the petting zoo. After the kids take a twirl on some of the amusement park rides and snack on classic carnival treats, settle in for a free concert by local musicians.
On the first of May each year, Hawaiians celebrate Lei Day on the day traditionally known as May Day. The Kauai Museum celebrates this annual event with lei-making lessons, food vendors, live entertainment and a lei contest. If you’re not into making your own lei, there are leis available for purchase at the museum, so you can participate even if your flower-necklace skills aren’t top-notch.
Prince Kuhio Celebration
March 26 is Prince Kuhio Day, a statewide holiday honoring the Hawaiian prince who helped preserve local cultural practices and protect the rights of native Hawaiians. Kauai residents celebrate for up to two weeks after the holiday.
Events in the towns of Poipu, Eleele, Lihue and Wailua include historical tours, cultural displays and demonstrations, canoe races and drumming performances. The whole family can learn something new by participating in a kupe’e making lesson where you all craft your own traditional bracelets, and you can take a seat at a “talk story” session where native Hawaiians share stories of the area’s history and culture.
Kaua’i Mokihana Festival
Typically annually in September (postponed to November 28 – December 4 in 2021), the Kaua’i Mokihana Festival takes place over a week and honors native Hawaiian culture. The festival includes a Hawaiian music composers competition with performances of the original pieces scheduled throughout the event. Hula competitions, educational lectures and a lei contest introduce visitors to various aspects of Hawaiian culture.
Celebrations of Hawaiian Culture
In addition to the big Kauai festivals, you can also find plenty of cultural events occurring throughout the year on the island. A few of our favorites include:
Kilauea Art Night
Held on the last Saturday of each month, this art festival features live music, food trucks serving delicacies from across Hawaii and local artisans selling their wares.
Island visitors can find fresh local foods and island-grown produce at farmers markets across Kauai. The Kapaa Town Market at Kapaa Town Park on Wednesdays is one of the largest, but there is also a Kukui Grove Center’s Farmer’s Market on Mondays and a Saturday market at Kauai Community College in Lihue.
If your Kauai vacation takes place in December, you might want to catch the Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade. Wander the town before the parade to check out local seasonal decorations.
A variety of sport competitions take place across Kauai, and it’s easy to watch even if you aren’t a professional athlete participating in the event. The Pedal to the Meadow bicycle race climbs up the hills of Waimea Canyon to the meadow in Koke’e State Park each May, while the Kauai Marathon in September crosses beaches, jungles and cliffside trails.
Kauai events occur year-round, making it easy to find an exciting celebration happening whenever you visit. Whether you’re planning a Kauai reunion in July, a romantic getaway in February or a family vacation in October, Koloa Landing Resort is the ideal base for exploring the local festival scene as well as taking part in everyday adventures.
Give our luxury resort in Kauai a call at 808-240-6600 to book a private villa in Kauai and start planning your trip today.