“May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.” In celebration of the beautiful art of lei making across the Islands, no matter what day May 1 coincides with, festivities will take place. This year, May Day falls on a Sunday making way for a variety of events leading up to it throughout the weekend.
May Day Lei Day Celebration
The largest May Day event takes place at Queen Kapiolani Park with lei exhibits, contests, hula, live music and food vendors. The Lei Queen and Court will be showcased
Sunday, 5/1, 9 a.m., Waikiki, honolulu.gov.
May Day Waikiki Beach
Celebrate with the Waikiki Beach Boys with free vaa (canoe) rides in Waikiki Beach’s famous waters and free concerts by Melveen Leed and Henry Kapono throughout the afternoon.
Sunday, 5/1, 12 to 4 p.m., beach fronting Outrigger Waikiki and Royal Hawaiian Hotel, facebook.com/MayDayWaikiki
SPAM Jam Waikiki
If you know Hawaii, you know its residents love Spam. So much that an entire festival is dedicated to it. Food booths highlight classic staples (because you can never have too many Spam musubis) mixed with street fare and gourmet spins on the local kine favorite.
Saturday, 4/30, 4 to 10 p.m., Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki, spamjamhawaii.com.
Annual Commemoration of the Battle of Nuuanu
Honor the strength, skill and bravery of the men and women who participated in one of Hawaiian history’s most important and pivotal battles. The ceremony remembers what’s considered “the last major political action purely determined by Hawaiians toward forging their future,” placing Kamehameha I as the ruler of Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii Island. For its 221st anniversary, traditional oli (chant), hula, moolelo (stories) and hookup (ceremonial offering) to take place at sunrise.
Saturday, 4/30, 5 a.m. to 8 a.m., Nuuanu Pali.
Huli Kauwela: Changing of the Hawaiian Seasons
Gather to observe the ancient Hawaiian calendar with the end of the Hooilo (wet season) and beginning of Kauwela (dry season), or in Western culture what corresponds to summer. This event takes place at the heiau (Hawaiian place of worship) Kupalaha as the sun sets. Stories and the significance of these changing seasons from a Native Hawaiian perspective will be retold and shared. There will also be traditional craft demonstrations and lei and ti leaf sandal making lessons starting at 2 p.m.
Sunday, 5/1, 2 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., ewa of the Waikiki Aquarium.
Hawaii Book and Music Festival
One of the most diverse book festivals you’ll ever attend with more than 600 participants. Six stages and pavilions packed with all kinds of notable Island literature in this annual celebration of story and song.
Saturday and Sunday, 4/30 and 5/1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Honolulu Hale, hawaiibookandmusicfestival.com.
Earth Day Festival Beach Cleanup
It’s Oahu’s biggest beach cleanup of the year. Volunteers and event partners will remove marine debris and waste along the windward facing shores. Live entertainment and games to follow.
Saturday, 4/30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Waimanalo Beach Park, sustainablecoastlineshawaii.org.
Children’s Film and Music Festival
Watch Disney and Pixar movies movies all the way through sunset at this outdoor beachfront theater. Interactive video and music activities, live stage performances and your favorite characters all throughout the festival.
Saturday, 4/30, 1 to 8 p.m., Ko Olina Resort’s Kohola Lagoon and Aulani property, reservations at (407) 939-4686.
Cazimero Lei Day Concert
Hawaiian musician Robert Cazimero takes his annual Lei Day concert to the Valley Isle this year. Contemporary Hawaiian music and hula performances, and look out for surprise guests.
Sunday, 5/1, 7:30 p.m., Maui Arts and Cultural Center, mauiarts.org.
Hoolaulea means “celebration” and its all fun all day long at this family-friendly sporting event. An 8-mile downwind run of stand-up paddlers and one-man outrigger canoes along with cultural activities like luau and traditional Hawaiian games for everyone put on by OluKai.
Saturday and Sunday, 4/30 and 5/1, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Paia Bay, Maliko Gulch, Kanaha Park, olukai.com/hoolaulea.hmtl.
Poi Supper at Hana Ranch
The power of poi takes center stage on the dinner table during this community food event by edible Hawaiian Islands, Hana Ranch and Travaasa Hana. Poi pounding demonstrations and a four-course locally grown dinner showcasing the relationship between food and culture. All proceeds to benefit the Hana Youth Center, an after-school center for the East Maui region’s youth.
Friday, 4/29, 4 to 6 p.m., Hana Ranch, hanapoisupper.eventbrite.com.
Cheech and Chong – Live in Concert
The hilarious duo, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, are back at it again on Maui. It’s a historic tour for the two who decided to reunite for performances after 25 years.
Saturday, 4/30, Lahaina Civic Center Amphitheatre, mauicelebrityseries.com.
Mini Hilo Lei Day Festival
Hilo brings together the community for a celebration of lei with demonstrations and exhibits in its famous downtown.
Sunday, 5/1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Kalakaua Park, facebook.com/hiloleidayfestival.com.
May Day Program
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park gives lei making lessons, how to properly sew and protocol for giving and receiving lei, at the Volcano Art Center. The program is accompanied by hula and live music.
Sunday, 5/1, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., VAC’s Gallery porch, hvnp.org.
Lei Day Festival
Is there a better place to get your lei on than in the Garden Isle? Learn everything you need to know about how to make lei and check out the food vendors and live music along Rice St. There’s also a kids’ lei making contest starting at 11 a.m.
Sunday, 5/1, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Kauai Museum, Lihue, kauaimuseum.org.