Your Ultimate Guide to the 2018 Punahou Carnival
This year’s Punahou Carnival takes place Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3. Here’s your guide to where to park, what to eat and everything in between.
Editor’s note: Before you say anything, HONOLULU Magazine uses the traditional Portuguese spelling of the word “malassada.”
Photo: David Croxford
Are you ready to let Punahou Carnival be the Aladdin to your Jasmine, and show you the world? We’re not just talking about the gorgeous view from the top of the Century Wheel. This year’s theme, “A Worldwide Ride,” promises a trip around the world with every food and game booth you visit. Here’s what else you need to know about the school’s annual carnival.
What It Is
Punahou Carnival, 1932
Photo: Courtesy of Punahou School
With E.K. Fernandez rides, famously fresh malassadas, homemade mango chutney and a highly anticipated white elephant sale, this local favorite is not your typical school fair. The Punahou Carnival is an O‘ahu tradition that originated in 1932 (called the “Oahuan Campus Carnival” back then) as a fundraiser for the school’s yearbook. Now in its 86th year, the two-day carnival brings together people of all ages from all over the island to raise money for Punahou’s financial aid program.
Each year’s carnival is sponsored by the school’s junior class. This time, it’s the class of 2019, who, along with hundreds of student, parent, faculty/staff and alumni volunteers, have been spending their free time planning and preparing it outside of school hours.
Photo: Kelli Bullock
Where and When
The carnival is typically held during the first weekend in February. This year, it’s on Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Punahou’s lower campus in Mānoa (1601 Punahou St.). The main entrance is on the corner of Punahou Street and Wilder Avenue.
Where to Park
Parking is limited on the school campus, so Punahou’s website recommends parking at:
Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, $10, all day, no in-and-out privileges
Central Union Church, $10, all day
Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children, rates vary
Lutheran Church of Honolulu, $15, 10:45 a.m.–11:15 p.m., no in-and-out privileges
Maryknoll Grade School, rates vary
Maryknoll High School, rates vary
The Parish of St. Clement, $18, all day, no in-and-out privileges, parking passes with in-and-out privileges available
Shriner’s Hospital for Children — Honolulu, $10 all day, no in-and-out privileges
If you don’t feel like stressing about parking, you can also catch TheBus routes 4, 5 or 18 (all of which stop close to the campus), get dropped off or use your favorite ride-hailing app.
Photo: David Croxford
How Much it Costs
Although some carnivals on the island charge you a fee just to walk in, entrance to the Punahou Carnival is free. That means you can take a look around first, then decide if you want to stay, leave and come back later, or just hang out and enjoy the atmosphere if you’re not in the mood for a food baby or an adrenaline rush.
Once inside the gate, you can purchase scrip from multiple booths on the carnival grounds for games and food and/or reload your E.K. Fernandez Fun Pass for the rides.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE THE PRICE LIST.
What to Wear
We’re pretty sure it has rained every time we’ve gone to the Punahou Carnival. It’s winter here and the campus is near Mānoa, after all. The carnival is on grass/dirt for the most part, so bring light rain gear and wear shoes you won’t mind getting a little muddy.
What to Eat
Photos: Kelli Bullock
One word: malassadas! Punahou makes its own signature malassadas with an original recipe that dates back to 1957. Another favorite is the carnival’s famous homemade mango chutney, but you have to go early to get some (as in, within the first couple of hours on opening day). You can also eat teri burgers, chicken plates, gyros, taco salad, corn on the cob, Portuguese bean soup and more.
You can also take a break from the main carnival area for some ‘ono Hawaiian food (lau lau, lomi lomi salmon, haupia and poi) and live music at Hawaiian Plate in Dole Hall.
You can find bathrooms scattered throughout the campus. Use this handy map if you need help finding a bathroom and for a general idea of the carnival grounds.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE THE MAP.
Other Carnival Fun
THE CARNIVAL ART GALLERY
Note: The Art Gallery, which is usually held in the Mamiya Science Center, has been relocated to the Learning Commons at Cooke Library. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and features more than 1,000 art pieces created by more than 300 Hawai‘i artists. Proceeds from each piece of art purchased are split between the artist and the carnival fundraiser.
THE SILENT AUCTION
The auction takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both carnival days in the Mamiya Science Center. Past auction items have included hotel stays, professional sports tickets and even mango chutney, for those who missed their chance to buy some.
The Variety Show
The Variety Show in Dillingham Hall is the senior class contribution to the carnival. This year’s show, “Oh, the Places We’ll Go!,” is an original student-led production that incorporates theater, music, dance and comedy. You may want to buy your tickets now—the show typically sells out quickly.
THE WHITE ELEPHANT TENT
This huge second-hand goods sale features clothes, toys, books, music and more. There’s even an entire section dedicated to books.
Don’t buy scrip from the first booth you see walking in. The scrip booths in the center of the carnival by Dillingham Hall and in the E.K. Fernandez tent always have shorter lines.
If you want to take malassadas home, ask for some without the sugar on them. You can reheat them later and roll them in your own sugar for a fresher taste.