Hawaii Festivals 2021

Picture of three people doing the hula

By: J. S.

There is good news for some of Hawaii’s top events in 2021! Many will be continuing on, and this is great news for Hawaii’s economy. As many events plan to go virtual, there may be a chance for hybrid and in-person events as well. Each year, events around Hawaii bring in large numbers of visitors and also provide entertainment and income for Hawaii’s residents. For Hawaii businesses, such festivals and events are often a welcome infusion of money into the local economy. Here is a round up of some of Hawaii’s well known events, and what they have planned so far for 2021.

The Merrie Monarch Festival 

According to the official Merrie Monarch Festival website, after months of developing rigorous safety guidelines and a television broadcast plan that will allow for a virtual audience experience, the Merrie Monarch Festival announced on March 26 that the hula competition will be held this summer! The event is scheduled to be held in May in Hilo on the Big Island. For those who love Hawaiian culture and hula, this is exciting news! Each year the festival brings in around 6 million dollars according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The average visitor who comes to Hawaii to enjoy the festival spends roughly $164 a day. The festival is set to host 15 hālaus, and will include 11 Wahine and 8 Kāne performances in both the Kahiko and ʻAuana categories as well as 7 Miss Aloha Hula entrants. The event will be streamed so the public can still enjoy the festival virtually. Participants that are traveling to the Big Island will be required to complete a mandatory 5 day quarantine before entering the premises of the event. Keep an eye on the Merrie Monarch Festival website for continuing updates.

Aloha Festivals

Aloha Festivals is the largest Hawaiian cultural celebration in the United States, founded in 1946 and held in Hawaii each September. The annual Royal Court Investiture & Opening Ceremony, Waikiki Ho’olaule’a and Floral Parade are currently on pause in 2021. The festivals are listed as TBD on the official Aloha Festivals website. The iconic cultural festivals take the coordination of tens of thousands of volunteers and draw in many more viewers and participants. During the annual event, people gather to celebrate Hawaii’s heritage through music, dance and history intended to perpetuate Hawaiian culture across the islands.

Waikiki Spam Jam 

According to the Spam Jam’s official website, participants can expect the event to take place on October 23 in Waikiki. Each year the Waikiki Spam Jam brings together visitors and locals alike over the common love for all things spam. Vendors gather in Waikiki and restaurants showcase their favorite spam themed creations. The 2019 round up of participating restaurants was the largest to date! The Spam Jam was canceled in 2020 but is so far set to return this year in its normal fashion. In addition to drawing crowds to Waikiki, the festival gives back through food and monetary donations to organizations like the Hawaii Food Bank, Waikiki Community Center and the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii.

IronMan World Championship 

The IronMan World Championship is tentatively set for October 9 in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. The event was canceled for the first time in the race’s history in 2020 but is set to possibly return in 2021. The website currently lists October 9 as the planned event date, but those interested in attending should keep an eye out for continuing updates. The typical IronMan draws participants and visitors from across the world, and details are pending on how this year might differ.