Hawai‘i is home to one-of-a-kind festivals and special events that enable you to experience the rich Hawaiian culture and breathtaking natural beauty right along with the locals. Watch PGA pros compete on emerald fairways edged with swaying palms, listen to the sweet sounds of ‘ukulele, marvel as whales frolic in the ocean, celebrate Hawaiian royalty, and do so much more this winter in Hawai‘i.
It’s no surprise that the Big Island is bursting with superb events. Discover Hawai‘i Island’s rich paniolo (cowboy) heritage at the Pana‘ewe Stampede Rodeo February 18 through 20, an amateur competition between cowboys, cowgirls, children, and kūpuna (elders), with team roping, barrel racing, bronco riding, and bull riding. Golf lovers can watch PGA pros tee off at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai January 19 through 21, featuring fan favorites such as Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Miguel Jimenez, and the 2016 champion Duffy Waldorf. Hawai‘i’s top ‘ukulele musicians will entertain audiences on dual stages at the Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival March 4 at Waikoloa Beach Resort. A celebration of Hawai‘i’s beloved instrument, the day features performances by world-class ‘ukulele artists, workshops, giveaways, and lessons.
The Heart of Hawai‘i welcomes one of the most anticipated PGA Tour events annually. The Sony Open in Hawai‘i will bring 144 of the world’s greatest pros to the Waialae Country Club January 9 to 15 for this prestigious golf competition. Active travelers can pack their running shoes for the 8.15-mile Great Aloha Run February 20. The run starts at Aloha Tower, ends at Aloha Stadium, and features divisions for elites, age groups, wheelchair and hand-cycle competitors, Sounds of Freedom (military running in formation), and those who just want to walk with friends. Join the festivities at the 23rd anniversary of the Honolulu Festival March 10 to 12, which celebrates the cultures of Hawai‘i, Asia, and the Pacific Islands with art, music, dance, food, and a grand parade through Waikīkī.
Like her sister islands, the Valley Isle offers a PGA Tour event, the Tournament of Champions, January 4 through 8 at the Plantation Course at beautiful Kapalua Resort. Later in the month on January 15, runners compete amidst some of the world’s most gorgeous scenery during the Maui Oceanfront Marathon along a route from Wailea to Lahaina. Humpback whales visit the waters surrounding Hawai‘i from December to May, and the Maui Whale Festival honors these magnificent mammals all February with special events including Run & Walk for the Whales (February 4), World Whale Day (February 18), and the Great Whale Count (February 25).
Explore Hawai‘i’s Island of Discovery during the Waimea Town Celebration February 18 through 25. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, this tribute to one of Kaua‘i’s oldest settlements and history features eight days of hula and Hawaiian music, a Hawaiian rodeo, a celebration for King Kaumuali‘i, a film festival, cultural exhibits, sporting events including the Kilohana Long Distance Canoe Race, and a two-day ho‘olaule‘a (block party/celebration). The Prince Kūhiō Celebration March 24 to 26 honors the life of one of Hawai‘i’s most beloved monarchs, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole, in his birthplace of Po‘ipū. Enjoy Hawaiian cultural demonstrations and hands-on learning sessions, the annual Prince Kūhiō Long Distance Canoe Race, a birthday celebration lū‘au, and more.