12 Mar Kaanapali Hosts Festivals, Celebrations, And Great Events Throughout The Year
The Hawaiian word ho’olaule’a (ho-oh-low[rhymes with cow]-lay-ah) means celebration. The first part, ho’o, always means to do or to make. Laule’a means happiness, friendship, and peace-a condition that Hawaiians desire as much as anyone else. At Ka’anapali, special events are ho’olaule’a (making happiness) no matter what time of year a person visits.
KAANAPALI, MAUI, HAWAI’I – They don’t call Ka’anapali Resort “the playground of the Pacific” for nothing. In addition to the daily carnival of Maui’s seaside attractions-the ocean activities, the elaborate pools and waterslides, the restaurants and great shops, golfing, tennis, the fitness and spa facilities, and the many island activities within a short drive from the resort- Kaanapali has some sort of celebration or annual event to enjoy every month of the year.
These events provide a great way for visitors to experience something completely new, to mingle with Maui’s diverse population, and to learn about Hawaiian culture and the cultures that have made their home in the Islands. They make excellent family experiences; kids love them.
Because the climate is ideal all year round-sunny, with little variation in temperature day or night, winter or summer-it’s easy to forget that Ka’anapali has its annual patterns, its own kind of seasons. For example, the yearly arrival of the humpback whales marks an important season.
Each November or so, an ever-increasing population of these amazing mammals migrates from sub-Arctic waters to the protected sea channel off Maui’s leeward shore. They stay to give birth and mate before hunger urges them back, each spring, to the feeding areas in the north.
The native sport of canoe paddling is popular and culturally important in Hawai’i. Summer is paddling season. That’s when you’ll see outrigger canoes- long, sleek, and brightly colored- out in the water, the crews working to perfect the synchronization of their strokes. It’s the season for weekend races and regattas, for volleyball games and cookouts on West Maui’s beaches.
The festivals listed below indicate many of the cultural seasons of Kaanapali -the recognition of King Kamehameha’s birthday, for example, or the longstanding tradition of Aloha Week, or the hullabaloo around the Chinese New Year. So, yes, there is a cycling of events through the Ka’anapali year. Each month is a bit different. But there is no “off” season. In terms of climate, culture, and fun, Ka’anapali never has a bad day.
Let’s walk through the special events that take place annually either right at the resort or else in Lahaina Town, just a three-mile shuttle trip from Kaanapali:
Hula Bowl Maui Heisman Trophy Winners/NFL Autograph Session: A free opportunity to meet top collegiate and pro football players at Whalers Village. Each year Ka’anapali Resort hosts the college all-stars and coaches who have come to compete in Hula Bowl Maui. www.hulabowlmaui.com.
Chinese New Year Celebration in Lahaina Town: Front Street is closed off for a free celebration, including a parade, firecrackers, food, live music, and martial arts demonstrations.
(888) 310–1117. www.visitlahaina.com.
Ocean Arts Festival in Banyan Tree Park: Lahaina Town celebrates the annual migration of humpback whales with this free festival of art, music, hula, and marine-related activities.
(888) 310–1117. www.visitlahaina.com.
Banyan Tree Birthday Party: Lahaina throws a bash for its largest living resident, the enormous banyan tree that was planted in 1873-cake, art, and art activities for kids.
(888) 310–1117. www.visitlahaina.com.
International Festival of Canoes: This two-week program dedicated to cultural revival brings master carvers and canoe-makers from all over the Pacific. These native artisans create canoes, carry them through Lahaina town in a big parade, and demonstrate traditional skills such as surfboard shaping, drum carving, and house thatching. (808) 667–9175. www.mauicanoefest.com.
King Kamehameha Day Parade & Celebration: A joyous Hawaiian floral parade travels along Lahaina’s Front Street, with pa’u equestrians, floats, marching bands, food, crafts, and entertainment. (888) 310–1117. www.visitlahaina.com.
Fourth of July: Kaanapali Resort hosts a grand celebration of Independence Day all afternoon at Whalers Village, with fun free activities for kids, then a massive fireworks display along Front Street, Lahaina. (800) 245–9229 and (888) 310–1117. www.visitlahaina.com.
Maui To Moloka’i Ocean Challenge: Paddlers race across the channel between islands, from Kaanapali to Kamalo, Moloka’i. (808) 877–2111.
Maui Onion Festival: At Whalers Village, celebrity chefs demonstrate how to make magic with Maui’s famous sweet onion. The festival includes entertainment, an onion-eating contest, an onion recipe contest, and a farmers market. (808) 661–4567. www.whalersvillage.com.
Maui Chefs Present: The most innovative chefs on the island gather at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa to throw a gala dinner, cocktail party, and silent auction. Proceeds benefit community groups. This is an opener for Maui’s top culinary festival, A Taste of Lahaina. (808) 667–9194 or (888) 310–1117. www.visitlahaina.com.
Maui Marathon & Race Weekend: This 26.2-mile race is one of the 10 most scenic marathons in North America. It begins at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului and ends at Whalers Village. (808) 871-6441. www.mauimarathon.com.
In addition, there are shorter races and various events all weekend. One of these is the Maui Tacos Fun Run: a 5k run/walk just through Ka’anapali Resort. (808) 871–6441. www.virr.com.
Maui Makahiki at Kaanapali Beach Hotel: part of the statewide Aloha Festivals, this is a re-enactment of a traditional Hawaiian cultural festival including games, music, dance, and crafts. (808) 661–0011. www.kbhmaui.com.
Halloween in Lahaina: They call this “the Mardi Gras of the Pacific” as 30,000-plus revelers gather on Front Street, Lahaina, for music, dancing, costume contests, food, crafts, and rambunctious activities. www.visitlahaina.com.
Hula O Na Keiki: Each year Kaanapali Beach Hotel invites Hawai’i’s keiki (children) to compete in solo performances of ancient and modern hula. (808) 661–0011. www.kbhmaui.com.
Humpback Whales return this month every year, migrating to the waters off Kaanapali Beach to calve and to mate.
EA Sports Maui Invitational Collegiate Basketball Tournament: The top U.S.college teams stay in Kaanapali for this three-day pre-season tournament that takes place just before Thanksgiving at the Lahaina Civic Center. There are pre- and post-game events and an awards banquet, too. (808) 667–DUNK or (312) 755–3507. www.mauiinvitational.com.
Na Mele O Maui: This annual festival to perpetuate Hawaiian culture features a children’s song contest for Maui students grades K through 12, also an arts and crafts fair and a juried art exhibit for high school students. www.kaanapaliresort.com.
Holiday Lighting of the Banyan Tree. Santa comes to Lahaina and brings snow with him! The holiday season begins with a craft fair, live music, and a cookie workshop. Ka’anapali and its hotels celebrate yuletide throughout the month with festive decorations and events. www.visitlahaina.com.
ONGOING EVENTS AT KAANAPALI
• Free hula shows at Whalers Village every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evening, and at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel nightly.
• Aloha Friday Craft Fair has local artisans come to the resort to display and sell their ware.
• Maui Westside Jazz concerts at Whalers Village every Sunday afternoon.
• Movies & Moonlight at Whalers Village every 4th Wednesday at 7 pm.
• Hula Boot Camp at Whalers Village every Thursday at 3 pm.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, 200 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina HI 96761-1985. (808) 661-1234; fax (808) 667-4497; reservations U.S. & Canada (800) 55HYATT; packages (800) 772-0011. www.maui.hyatt.com.
Kaanapali Beach Hotel, 2525 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761-1912. (808) 661-0011; fax (808) 667-5978; toll-free (800) 262-8450. www.kbhmaui.com.
Maui Marriott Resort & Ocean Club, 100 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-1200; fax (808) 667-8300; toll-free U.S. & Canada (800) 228-9290. www.marriott.com.
Royal Lahaina Resort, 2780 Keka’a Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 661-3611; fax (808) 661-3538; reservations (800) 22ALOHA. www.2maui.com.
Sheraton Maui Resort, 2605 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761-1991. (808) 661-0031; fax (808) 661-0458; reservations (800) 782-9488. www.starwoodhotels.com.
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, 2365 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-2525; fax (808) 921-4699; reservations (808) 921-4655. www.westinmaui.com.
Kaanapali Alii, 50 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-1400; reservations (800) 642-6284. www.classicresorts.com.
Maui Kaanapali Villas, 45 Kai Ala Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-7791; fax (808) 667-0366; 24-hour toll-free reservations U.S. & Canada (800) 92-ASTON [(800) 922-7866]; 24-hour worldwide direct reservations (403) 444-4136.
Outrigger Maui Eldorado, 2661 Keka’a Drive, Lahaina HI 96761-1993. (808) 661-0021; fax (808) 667-7039; toll-free US, Canada & Guam (888) 339-8585. www.outrigger.com.
The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, 6 Kai Ala Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-3200; fax (808) 667-3201; toll-free (888) 488-3535. www.starwood.com/hawaii.
The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, 2481 Ka’anapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 661-4861; fax (808) 661-8315; 24-hour toll-free reservations U.S. & Canada (800) 92ASTON [(808) 922-7866]; 24-hour toll-free reservations (403) 444-4136.
Kaanapali Golf Courses, 2290 Ka’anapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761. (808) 661-3691; fax (808) 661-0203; toll-free (866) 454-GOLF. www.kaanapali-golf.com.
Lahaina-Kaanapali & Pacific Railroad, 975 Limahana Place Suite 203, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-6851; fax (808) 661-8389; toll-free (800) 499-2307. www.sugarcanetrain.com.
Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants on Kaanapali Beach, 2435 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 661-4567. www.whalersvillage.com.
Kaanapali Beach Resort Association
34 Kupuohi Street Suite 304A
Lahaina, Hawai’i 96761
Digital images available upon request.
Images & text © 2005. Kaanapali Beach Resort Association.
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