Your Ultimate Guide to the 2020 ʻIolani Fair
This year’s fair takes place Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18. Here’s your guide to where to park, which gourmet foods and new flavors of malassadas to try, and everything else the event has to offer.
This article was last updated in April 2019. Come back on March 16 for the 2020 update.
Photos: Courtesy of ‘Iolani School
Get ready for some country fun at the ʻIolani Fair. This year’s theme is “Barnyard Bash” so be on the lookout for farm animal-themed games and fun. For all the foodies out there, this fair knows how to dish it up. You can try lobster and shrimp rolls in the gourmet tent, chef demos—with tastings!—bulgogi wraps and all-new on-the-go snacks and a mysterious malassada dessert. Here’s what else you need to know about the ‘Iolani Fair.
What It Is
The ʻIolani Fair has been around since 1948 (formerly known as the ʻIolani Fun Festival and ʻIolani Carnival). Now in its 70th year, crowds can expect E.K. Fernandez rides, midway games and keiki activities, along with a talent contest, marketplace and don’t forget all that food. Students, alumni, parents and teachers spend a full year planning the two-day event that benefits the school’s many travel programs. The fair itself supports over 24 student groups within ʻIolani School.
When and Where
The ‘Iolani Fair will be from noon to 10:30 p.m., both days, at ‘Iolani School, 563 Kamoku St. The main entrance is on Laʻau Place at the center gate of ‘Iolani School’s baseball field.
Where to Park
Public parking will be available at Kaimukī High School fields for $5 per vehicle. (The entrance is on Winam Avenue.) A free trolley will take fairgoers from the parking area to the fair and back with pickups at:
Corner of Olokele Avenue and Winam Avenue.
Date Street, Diamond Head of the bus stop from the Kaimukī High School fields.
Laʻau Place, ‘Iolani baseball field’s center gate.
If you don’t want to take the trolley, you can also catch TheBus route 3, which stops at the campus, or use your favorite ride-hailing app.
What It Costs
It doesn’t cost anything to enter the fairgrounds. So, you can walk in, take a look and decide if you want to stick around for a whirl on the Wave Swinger, take your pick of 56 food options, shop in the Chic Boutique or play games.
You can purchase scrip from multiple booths on the carnival grounds for food and to use in the Keiki Corner, and/or reload your E.K. Fernandez Fun Pass for the midway games (games will cost 33 to 60 credits) and rides (see pricing here).
What to Eat
Can we suggest everything? We’re curious about the mysterious Unicorn Puffs and the variety of cupcake flavors; the latter features the favorite baked treat in either red velvet, oreo or strawberry. Also new this year are truffle garlic fries and the "Walking Taco", served in a chip bag with chips, chili, cheese, and other toppings. Of course, there will be the usual malassadas and longtime favorites including Greek and bulgogi wraps, ‘Iolani Waffle Dogs, huli beef sandwiches, smoked turkey legs, chicken and sausage gumbo, Okinawan noodles, BBQ corn, shave ice and more.
For an upscale treat, head to the Gourmet Tent for pork belly sliders, lobster and shrimp rolls, braised beef risotto with vegetable caponata and chicken marsala with toasted garlic bread.
There will also be live chef demos with the option to purchase their dishes afterward. Check the website for details and updates.
Bid on your favorite restaurants, bottles of bubbly, staycation packages and more. You can also check out items and name your price online at iolanifair.org/attractions/auction. This year’s auction has packages from places including 100 Sails, Disneyland, Kenwood Vineyards, Lucky Strike Social, Monkeypod Kitchen and Tori Richard.
The Chic Boutique will have gently worn designer and brand-name items at deep discounts. Or buy a handmade quilt crafted by a volunteer grandmother. Other marketplace highlights include mango chutney, lilikoi jam, pickled mango and fresh kim chee.
This farm-themed area is unique to the ‘Iolani Fair and designed for the littlest visitors to have country-style fun. Tots can take pony rides and pet goats, bunnies, donkeys and other furry creatures in the petting zoo. There will also be lasso games, crafts and other activities.
Take advantage of a discount ride special on Friday, April 12 from noon to 3 p.m. All 44-credit rides will be reduced to 33 credits and 50- and 60-credit rides will be reduced to 46 credits.
Tag your pics with #IolaniFair to be included in this mashup board.
Wear covered shoes. It can get dirty.
Don’t stop at the first scrip or FunPass booth you see. Those farther inside the fairgrounds will have shorter lines.