Special Events in Hilo

Merrie Monarch Festival
One of the most popular events in Hilo is the annual Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration that features hula demonstrations, native Hawaiian art exhibits, and the Royal Parade. There are plenty of arts and crafts workshops, dance performances and pageantry. The entire community turns out to celebrate life on the Big Island, and visitors are welcome to attend all of the scheduled events.

Mango Festival
A short distance from Hilo is the famous Kona Coast. One of the popular events held here is the annual Mango Festival. Plenty of fresh fruit, growing and cultivating seminars, belly dancing, and hula competitions make this one of the more colorful events on the Big Island.

Don The Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival
Those who appreciate well-made drinks will want to attend Don The Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival, held annually in the Kona Coast district. Enormous monetary prizes are given each year to bartenders who concoct the finest mai tai drinks. This free event includes the opportunity for visitors to sample fresh, home-grown produce from all over the Big Island. There are special beach activities for the kids as well as nighttime music for the adults. 

Orchid Society Show and Sale
Hilo is an orchid lover's dream, and the annual Orchid Society Show and Sale focuses on the cultivation and care of various hybrid species. The Islands of Orchids is an annual event that showcases the latest strains, with hard-to-find orchids available for sale to the general public. Over the past several years, the Orchid Society Show has drawn increased attention from growers around the world, and many professional cultivators converge on Hilo to exchange information with tourists.

Hawaii Island Festival
The annual Hawaii Island Festival takes place each August in and around Hilo. Every year, thousands gather to participate in a month-long festival that includes the Miss Aloha Nui contest, the Hawaii Elegance Brunch, singing and hula performances by locals, and the Paniolo Parade in Waimea. 

Establishment Day Hawaiian Festival
Another popular event in August is the Establishment Day Hawaiian Festival. This series of events focuses primarily on the arts and crafts of the island. Visitors can take part in lei and ipu making, specialized woodcarving and boat building, and old-style food preparation. There is a very large food-tasting event at the festival, and the authentic Hawaiian dance performances include detailed instruction on the making and sizing of traditional dance costumes.

Hui Okinawa Haari Boat Festival
Hilo is home to the Hui Okinawa Haari Boat Festival. This unique event is held at Wailoa State park and includes three divisions of boat races along the Wailoa River. The event also features the Friendship Golf Tournament and a music concert at the Palace Theater.