Above photo by Kaitlyn Bisson
Hawaii, a U.S. state, is an isolated volcanic archipelago in the Central Pacific. It is the 50th and most recent state to have joined the U.S., having received statehood on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one composed entirely of islands. Its islands are renowned for their rugged landscapes of cliffs, waterfalls, tropical foliage and beaches with gold, red, black and even green sands. Of the 6 main islands, Oahu has Hawaii’s biggest city and capital, Honolulu, home to crescent Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor’s WWII memorials.
The Festive Islands of Aloha
Dive deep into Hawaii’s local community and you’ll discover a culture alive with paniolo (cowboys), Chinese dragons, ethnic festivals, culinary events and an exotic collection of celebrations. Throughout the year, you’ll also encounter parades, street parties, food and craft fairs, concerts and family activities that honor every aspect of Hawaii’s diverse culture. In Hawaii, retention of the local culture and traditions is a priority for the local government and tourism organizations. That’s why in 1946 — before Hawaii was even a state — a group of local Jaycees started Aloha Week to showcase the islands’ music, food, dance, and culture. It’s grown into a monthlong September festival with events ranging from a block party on Waikiki to a floral parade along Kalakaua Avenue to King Kamehameha celebrations on all the islands. It’s the best time of year to visit if you want to find out what Hawaii is truly about, beyond the stuff of your tropical vacation fantasies.
Events that feature local foods and agricultural products attract both locals and visitors. The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival on the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Oahu (October) and the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival (June) on Maui are long-running culinary events, hosting world-class chefs, winemakers and master sommeliers for thousands of wine and food lovers. The Island of Hawaii’s Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival(November) celebrates all things coffee and includes nearly 50 events over 10 days. Kauai. Chocolate & Coffee Festival (October) highlights al things cacao and coffee industries of Kauai.