Aloha. It’s everywhere from hellos to goodbyes, spirit to shave ice! But like double rainbows, what does it all mean? Sure it can be simply defined as love and affection, mercy and kindness, charity and veneration, but aloha is best expressed—and shared—intangibly, heart to heart. So, no better way to embrace the loving breath of life behind this Hawaiian word heard around the world than at the annual Festivals of Aloha, a series of events across Maui Nui that focuses on community, culture and camaraderie.
This year’s theme is “E Hi’ipoi i Ka Lei Aloha,” meaning “cherished is the beloved child.” Kaponoai Molitau, cultural practitioner and purveyor of Market Street’s Native Intelligence, describes the ideal behind the theme, saying, “It beckons all of us that are kupuna (elders) and makua (adults) to continue to set fundamental values which our children can look upon and learn. We have been given the task to malama or care for in every sense of the word,” Molitau continues. “Our responsibilities are great, but are taken one day at a time, and in time our continued commitment to our cherished beloved children will showcase themselves for the generations to come. Let all of us that live within Maui Nui do our part to set the course of our young minds, bodies, and hearts for all of Maui to be proud of.”
Indeed, there’s a lot to be proud of—and a lot to do with regards to the Festivals of Aloha. So, here’s a rundown of events that abound from here to Hana, and on Molokai and Lanai. Plus, be sure to purchase an official festival button ($5; cash-only) to get discounted admission to events (never mind that it’s a sweet memento for your scrapbook). For more information, visit festivalsofaloha.com or call 878-1888.
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Festivals of Aloha Kicks off at Wailuku First Friday
Fri, Sep. 2 – The venerable Makaha Sons—featuring Louis “Moon” Kauakahi (6-string guitar), John Koko (upright acoustic bass), and Jerome Koko (12-string guitar)—perform a special concert at the Native Intelligence stage. Honorary event chair Danny Mateo and cultural practitioner Kaponoai Molitau host, and Akaku Public Television peeps will be onsite to film the event for broadcast. 7:30pm. Market St., Wailuku; facebook.com/wailukufirstfriday
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Following-up on the Wailuku First Friday, there are three special ways Mauians can revel in the Festivals’ offerings (before festivities take flight to Lanai and Molokai and then return to crescendo back in Hana Town). For more information about Festivals of Aloha events on Maui, please call Nani Watanabe (870-7546 ; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tina Thompson (268-9285), unless otherwise noted.
Home Grown Series
Fri, Sep. 9 – Keiki share their performance talents and educational demos. 5:30-7:30pm. Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului; mauimall.com
10th Annual Richard
Hoopii Falsetto Contest
Sat, Sep. 10 – This beloved annual event highlights the strongest vocal talents to hail from our isles—and gives them the chance to vie for great prizes. Plus, a performance by Na Palapali. 6-10pm. Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, One Ritz-Carlton Dr., Kapalua
Festivals of Aloha Ho‘olaulea
Sun, Sep. 11 – The winners of the 10th annual Richard Hoopii Falsetto Contest will be presented, plus a stunning array of local arts and crafts. 9am-5pm. Lahaina Banyan Tree Park, Front St., Lahaina; 264-8779
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Little Lanai is full of mystique. Sure it’s f.k.a. the Pineapple Isle—and is now known as, “Hawaii’s most enticing isle”—but it was once known for it’s ghostly apparitions and spooky legends. Festival happenings are full of cultural—and of course, aloha. For more information on Festivals of Aloha events on Lanai, please call Nani Watanabe (870-7546 ; email@example.com), unless otherwise noted.
Hawaiian Artisans &
Keiki Hula Show
Fri, Sep. 23 – Enjoy a keiki hula show as you peruse some of Hawaii’s finest artisan wares. 10:30am-5:30pm. The Four Seasons, Lodge at Koele, One Keomoku Hwy., Lanai City, Lanai; fourseasons.com/koele
Lanai Culture and
Sat, Sep. 24 – Hawaiian food and traditional games delight the whole ‘ohana at this ho’olaule’a, created in partnership with the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center. 9am-2pm. Old Dole Administration Building, Lanai City, Lanai
The Makaha Sons
Sun, Sep. 25 – The illustrious Makaha Sons perform a special showcase of their cherished compositions. Plus, yet another cute keiki hula show. Best of all, admission is as simple as your official festival button. 7pm. The Four Seasons at Manele Bay Resort, One Manele Bay Rd., Lanai City, Lanai; fourseasons.com/manelebay
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Molokai’s rural Hawaiian-style charm is nonpareil, so when they host the cultural spectacles of the Festivals of Aloha, it’s sure to be as authentic as it gets. From a solemn investiture of this year’s royal court to an ulu-cooking contest and artisan displays, events abound—and are worth the ferry (or turbo prop) trip to our Friendly Isle. For more information on Festivals of Aloha events on Molokai, please call Moana Dudoit or Raquel Dudoit (553-3356), unless otherwise noted.
Investiture, Kupuna Show and Aloha Attire Contest
Thu, Oct. 13 – A solemn ceremony presents this year’s Royal Court with a display of insignia and cultural offerings. Be sure to wear your best aloha attire (there’s a contest, after all), and come hungry—ono grinds abound. Plus, sample inamono-augmented flavors in the poke contest and purchase gifts for loved ones made by local artisans. 7pm. Mitchell Pauole Community Center, 90 Aiona St., Molokai
Youth Night: Talent and Ulu Contest
Fri, Oct. 14 – The prince and princess of the Royal Court are celebrated, along with keiki at large. Young Hawaiians will vie for prizes in the talent contest, and you can sample onolicious eats from the ulu-cooking contest, plus pick-up some cool crafts from various vendors. 7pm. Mitchell Pauole Community Center, 90 Aiona St., Molokai
Kaunakakai Town Parade and Ho‘olaule‘a
Sat, Oct. 15 – The investiture may have happened on Oct. 13, but the crowning jewel of Molokai’s events is the parade through the town of Kaunakakai, beginning at 9am. Gorgeous pa’u riders display the colors of the isles as they trot on horseback, harkening to the days of old Hawaii.
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Fittingly, the Festivals of Aloha culminates in Hana Town, a culture-steeped emerald gem on our isle’s East end. Events run Oct. 15 though 22, and feature fun stuff like a poke contest, shoreline fishing tourney, talent show and movie screenings under the stars. So gas up da cruiser for the Hana Highway journey along more than 600 twists and turns and over 54 bridges. For more information on Festivals of Aloha events in Hana, please call Neil Hasegawa (264-3563) or Meiling Hoopai (248-8622), unless otherwise noted.
Hana Town Ho‘olaule‘a
Sat, Oct. 15 – Hana town’s Festivals of Aloha events commences with a parade procession through town, featuring a presentation of the Hana Royal Court. Begins at the Hana Ball Park – 5101 Uakea Rd., Hana
‘Ohana Beach Day and Fishing
Sun, Oct. 16 – The Hana Bay Shoreline Fishing Tournament kicks off this special event (7-8am; weigh-in at 12pm), followed by fun festivities for the whole family (12-5pm). Plus, live local entertainment (10am-12pm). Kapueokahi Bay (a.k.a. Hana Bay).
Mon, Oct. 17 – Sweat it out (or happily spectate) at a tennis doubles tournament and co-ed volleyball games. 4-10pm. Hana Ball Park – 5101 Uakea Rd., Hana
Keiki Muumuu and Aloha Shirt Contest
Tue, Oct. 18 – Just when you thought keiki couldn’t get any cuter, there’s an all-aloha attire contest just for the little guys. (PS: Monday night’s Sports Night continues this evening, too!) 5-8pm. Helen Hall – 150 Keawa Pl., Hana
Helen Hall – 150 Keawa Pl., Hana
Wed, Oct. 19 – Screening “Hale Hulu Mam`o” and “Ohana Makamae.” 5:30-10pm. Hana Ball Park – 5101 Uakea Rd., Hana
Thu, Oct. 20 – Celebrate our elders with some ono Hotel Hana-Maui grinds. 11:30am-2pm. Hotel Hana-Maui – 5031 Hana Hwy., Hana
Thu, Oct. 20 – Hana’s got talent—and so do you. So why not try out; or at least, check it out. Either way, this event is the perfect occasion for a moonlit picnic augmented by ‘ukulele pickin’. Sponsored by Hana Arts. 6-9pm. Hana Ball Park – 5101 Uakea Rd., Hana
Fri, Oct. 21 – Strap on your swingin’ shoes, this night under the stars features a dance contest to live music. 6-10pm. Hana Ball Park – 5101 Uakea Rd., Hana
Kahanu Gardens Tour
Sat, Oct. 22 – Your official festival button is your ticket to a free tour of Kahanhu Gardens, a National Tropical Botanical Garden located in one of the state’s largest untamed native hala (Pandanus) forests. Explore their living collection and learn about the cultural relationships between Polynesians and their preferred plants, and view a massive stone heiau believed to be the largest place of aboriginal worship in all of Polynesia. Space limited to 23 guests. Kahanu Gardens – GPS: +20° 47’ 56.65”, -156° 2’ 18.32”; ntbg.org/gardens/kahanu.php
Cross Country Golf: Holani Hale, Pap‘au‘hau
Sat, Oct. 22 – A fun twist on a (sometimes) stuffy game. Bring your golf shoes and just three clubs—the caveat being one must be homemade—plus nine “junk” balls. Best of all, entry fee is but your official festival button. Shot gun start. Tee time TBA. Call or e-mail for more information. 248-2730; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat, Oct. 22 – A special evening of Hawaiian-style cultural performances. Plus, a poke contest, pohole contest, a floral and lei show/contestand the Kahanu Garden Ulu Cook-off. 6-10pm. Hana Ball Park – 5101 Uakea Rd., Hana