Whether you’re attending the Byodo-In Temple’s Obon Festival on Oahu, watching hula under Lahaina’s banyan trees or attending the mai tai competition of the year on Hawaii Island, there’s so much to do and see in the Islands this August.
Byodo-In Temple’s Obon Festival
The Byodo-In Temple, opened in 1968, is dedicated to the Japanese immigrants who came to Hawaii during the mid-19th century. Take part in its obon festival, where you can listen to the pounding performances of taiko drummers, watch as paper lanterns float gently in the temple’s expansive koi pond and pick up a delicious Japanese bento. Free, Byodo-In Temple, 47-200 Kahekili Highway, Kaneohe, byodo-in.com.
The Joy of Sake
Japanese rice wine, or sake, has been a prominent drink in Hawaii since early Japanese immigrants arrived in the Islands. A variety of sake is served all night and will be paired with dishes arranged by participating restaurants such as The Pig & The Lady, Koko Head Café and Doraku. $155 per person early access, Hawaii Convention Center, 1801 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, joyofsake.com.
Made in Hawaii Festival
If you’ve ever wanted to buy coastal modern furniture and gourmet seasonings in the same place, look no further than the Made in Hawaii Festival. Held at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, a preset budget is vital to avoid overspending at this annual festival, which features a wide array of products, all made right here in the Hawaiian Islands. $7, 777 Ward Ave., Honolulu, madeinhawaiifestival.com.
2019 Duke’s Oceanfest
In honor of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, born Aug. 24, 1890, and widely regarded as one of the greatest watermen to ever live, Duke’s Oceanfest features some of the Duke’s favorite sporting events. Beach volleyball, surf polo and longboarding are just a few of the competitions during this eight-day ocean-themed festival.
There's even a "surfur" contest for dogs on Saturday, August 20 at 9 a.m. that brings out the island's most talented pups. The most important event, though, will be on the festival’s opening day—the ceremonial lei draping of the Duke Kahanamoku statue in Waikiki. Kuhio Beach, 2453 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki, dukesoceanfest.com.
With an emphasis on fun, this gala food and wine fundraiser, put on by the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, is the ideal event to get your glam on. At the elegant Yokouchi Pavilion, with its translucent sky roof made up of 288 glass panels, be prepared to bid in both a silent and live auction, snack on delectable pupu (appetizers) and hit the dance floor after getting a little rosy on premium wines. Prices vary, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, mauiarts.org.
Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival
Watching hula dancers move beautifully under Lahaina’s banyan trees might sound like a picturesque dream, but for one weekend in August, it becomes a reality. Put on by the Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club and Lahaina Town Action Committee, dancers perform for free at the Lahaina Banyan Court, and visitors can check out the products crafted by Maui artists, which unfortunately are not free. Hula workshops will also be available to the public. Free, 671 Front St., Lahaina, find more information on the event’s Facebook page.
Heiva I Kauai
Watch as top Tahitian performers dance in fiery competition in both solo and group divisions, contrasting the balmy breezes and tranquil seas of the event’s location, Kapaa Beach Park. If you’re feeling the rhythmic drumbeats and notice yourself swaying your hips and moving along to the music, there’s an audience dance competition, too. $7, 9 a.m to 5 p.m., Kapaa Beach Park, 4-1604 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, heivaikauai.com.
2019 Savor Wine and Chocolate
What’s better than sipping on delectable wines while indulging in a gourmet meal prepared by skilled chefs? Knowing that you’re feasting fancifully for a good cause. At the 2019 Savor Wine and Chocolate event, proceeds will go toward funding a new charter school on the North Shore of Kauai for keiki (kids) in middle school through high school. 5-2723 Kuhio Highway, Kilauea, savorwineandchocolate.org.
11th Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival
Mai tais are synonymous with having a good, slightly inebriated time, but when there’s $10,000 on the line, it’s time to get serious. And that’s exactly what some of the nation’s best bartenders will do as they converge at the Royal Kona Resort. Mixologists are given a short amount of time to prepare, mix and garnish their drinks on stage; the best original recipe earns the title of “The World’s Best Mai Tai.” Free, Royal Kona Resort, 75-5852 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, donsmaitaifest.com.
3rd Annual Big Island Blues Festival
If you’re in need of the blues, brews and BBQ, then head on over to the Big Island Blues Festival and listen to rhythmic strums and drums that will get your feet tapping and head bopping. Tomi Isobe’s Blues Band, The Scott & Larry Show and Ronnie V. & The Family Band will be among the local artists jamming on stage from 4 to 10 p.m. while you sip on local brews provided by Ola Brew and feast on delicious locally sourced BBQ from Kona Butcher Shop. $20, 75-5660 Palani Road, Kailua-Kona, bigislandbluesfest2019.eventbrite.com.