Your Ultimate Guide to the 2019 Aloha Festivals on O‘ahu
Say aloha to one of the biggest Hawaiian cultural celebrations starting on Saturday, August 31.
Photos: Courtesy of Aloha Festivals
Everyone’s heard of the Merrie Monarch Festival, but the monthlong Aloha Festivals is another way to celebrate the richness of the Hawaiian culture. Attracting about 100,000 people per year, events are put on through donations, community sponsors and funds from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.
What It Is
What began as Aloha Week in 1946 is now known as Aloha Festivals, a series of events featuring music, dance and history meant to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture. Festivities include an opening ceremony and a block party and parade through Waikīkī, along with other family-friendly events across O‘ahu, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 28.
Schedule of Events
The festival’s main events (all free and open to the public) include the royal court opening ceremony, ho‘olaule‘a and floral parade. New this year is the “In the Southern Sun” concert at Queens Surf Beach. But if you can’t make it, there are plenty of other free performances at Pearlridge Center, various hotels in Waikīkī and more.
Saturday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m.: Royal Court Opening Ceremony at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel
The Aloha Festivals’ Royal Court will be introduced on the grounds of Helumoa (now the Royal Hawaiian), originally the home of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Court members will receive their royal cloaks, helmets, feather lei and other symbols of their reign, just as royalty did in ancient Hawai‘i, with hula and chanting to follow. There will be limited seating available, so come early.
Saturday, Sept. 7: “In the Southern Sun” Concert at Queens Surf Beach
The free concert will feature Grammy-nominated artist Common Kings, as well as local performers Taimane, Nā Hoa and Jasmin Nicole. Check the festival’s website for updates and more details closer to the event.
Saturday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.: Waikīkī Ho‘olaule‘a along Kalākaua Avenue
The ho‘olaule‘a (aka a massive block party) will feature several food and craft booths and live entertainment by local artists and hula hālau. Give yourself enough time to see everything—there will be six stages throughout the block, which is two more than previous years. Print out a map of all of the entertainment stages and booths on the festival’s website to make the most of your time.
Saturday, Sept. 28 at 9 a.m.: Floral Parade on Kalākaua Avenue from Ala Moana Beach Park to Kapi‘olani Regional Park
The last event of the Aloha Festivals is probably the biggest—a colorful procession down Kalākaua Avenue showcasing floats, Hawaiian music, hālau hula, pāʻū horseback riders, civic leaders and marching bands. Remember to get there early to find parking and to stake out a good spot for optimal viewing.
Where to Park
Arrive early to find parking and seating. Events tend to fill up quickly, so plan ahead.
Bring water, snacks, beach chairs and mats to the floral parade. Also, we’re still in the midst of summer, so apply lots of sunblock.
For more information, visit alohafestivals.com.