Top 15 Annual Maui Events
Although Maui is cherished for its laid-back vibe, there’s always something happening on the island. Maui plays host to some of the biggest and best events in the Pacific. From distinguished culinary festivals to keiki surf contests, here are the greatest Maui events you’ve never heard of.
1. Made in Maui County Festival
The Made in Maui County Festival takes place over two days every November at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. The festival is the single largest product show in Maui County— at its zenith before covid-19, the festival welcomed over 140 vendors. Small business owners from all over Maui County (including Molokai and Lanai) come to showcase their locally made products. Shoppers will find countless unique goods, including jewelry, art, gifts, home goods, fashion, food, and so much more.
The festival attracts about 10,000 people per year. Since the festival’s inception in 2014, vendors have reported more than $3 million in total product sales!
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2. Maui Film Festival
Each summer, the Maui Film Festival honors filmmakers, original cinema, and the craft of storytelling through film. Attendees enjoy an array of original film screenings and premieres at several spectacular venues around the island. The event also boasts star-studded screenwriter panels and award ceremonies. In addition to movie stars, the Maui Film Festival attracts A-list chefs for its several epicurean celebrations, including Taste of Wailea, Taste of Summer, and Taste of Chocolate.
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3. East Maui Taro Festival
The East Maui Taro Festival is Hana’s biggest annual celebration. Located in the Hana Ball Park, this two-day event aims to educate visitors and residents on the many uses of taro and the plant’s symbolism in Hawaiian culture. The event features live music, hula, poi pounding demonstrations, arts and crafts, lectures, and food vendors selling a range of taro dishes. Festival goers can also interact with local taro farmers and browse a selection of taro in various forms, from potted taro to kulolo.
Unfortunately, we won’t see the East Maui Taro Festival return in 2022, but we look forward to the festival resuming in the future.
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4. Kapalua Wine and Food Festival
The Kapalua Wine and Food Festival is one of Hawaii’s most illustrious and oldest culinary celebrations. The event takes place over several days in June throughout the Kapalua Resort. Attendees can mingle with celebrity chefs and master sommeliers during the festival’s winemaker dinners, cooking demonstrations, wine and food pairings, wine seminars, and gala events. The festival also includes (in normal times) a golf tournament at Kapalua’s famed Plantation Course and a tennis tournament.
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5. Menehune Mayhem
Menehune Mayhem is a free keiki surf contest that takes place every spring at Ho’okipa Beach Park. Now going on 20 years, the event has grown to host over 400 kids under the age of 15 for two days of competition, sportsmanship, and fun.
Menehune Mayhem is the brainchild of professional surfer and Maui native Ian Walsh. The event’s goal is to not only throw a free contest for Maui’s surfing youth (as entry fees for other competitions can be up to $90 per division) but to encourage creativity, academic excellence, and environmental awareness.
Throughout the weekend, Hoʻokipa Beach transforms into a mini keiki carnival, packed with arts and crafts, games, musical performances, educational booths, food from local restaurants, and much more. Menehune Mayhem is more than a competition— for Maui’s young surf community, the event is the best day of the year.
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6. Seabury Hall Craft Fair
Aside from being one of the top private schools on Maui, Seabury Hall is known for its legendary craft fair. The event spreads out over the school’s expansive Upcountry property, featuring dozens of food booths, a rummage sale, silent auctions, fresh produce, flowers, plants, and music from a range of local artists. The craft fair also features a juried art sale. Artists from as far away as Oahu are known to turn up to sell their art. The fair typically takes place the Saturday before Mother’s Day and has become the local go-to for unique gifts.
In the past, the fair has also featured bouncy castles, face painting, slip and slides, pony rides, and a classic car show. While the craft fair was forced to pivot to an online format the past few years due to the pandemic, we hope to see it return to Seabury’s beautiful grounds next year!
7. Hawaii Food and Wine Festival
The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival is Hawaii’s most notable epicurean event. Each October, award-winning chefs, winemakers, mixologists, and sommeliers flock to the islands for a series of culinary events. Over several weeks, wine tastings, cocktail parties, five-star dinners, and cooking demonstrations take place across Hawaii.
The festival was founded over ten years ago by two of Hawaii’s favorite chefs— Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong. From its inception, the HFWF was intended to highlight Hawaii’s unique culinary culture and benefit local agriculture and culinary programs. In fact, the HFWF is the only Hawaiian festival that requires participating chefs to use locally sourced products.
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8. Maui County Fair
The Maui County Fair is embedded into Maui’s history. Although the fair was canceled for several consecutive years due to the pandemic, the four-day event has been hosted annually in Wailuku for nearly a century.
The Maui County Fair is more than just a carnival— it’s an exhibition of local culture. The fair kicks off with an enormous parade, where floats, marching bands, soccer teams, and scout groups march down Ka’ahumanu Avenue. The fair also features a food court that spans nearly an acre, a fireman-led cook-off, live music, comedy acts, a school art exhibit, rides, games, and an impressive horticulture display.
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9. Halloween in Lahaina
Each year on Halloween, Lahaina’s famous Front Street hosts one of the biggest parties in Hawaii. As a result, Front Street on Halloween has been dubbed the ‘Mardis-Gras of the Pacific.’ Before sunset, the road closes to vehicular traffic to accommodate the masses. The evening starts innocently enough with a keiki parade and costume contest. But after dark, things get hectic as thousands of costume-clad people fill the street. In past years, attendance has been estimated at over 20,000. Whether you’re keen on partying or not, there are few better places for people-watching than Front Street on October 31st.
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10. Haiku Hoʻolauleʻa and Flower Festival
The sleepy town of Haiku comes alive each April for the Haiku Hoʻolauleʻa. This Hawaiian celebration is held annually at Haiku School and benefits the Haiku School PTA, the Haiku Boys and Girls Club, and the Haiku Community Association. The event features a silent auction, an artisan marketplace, lei-making booths, food vendors, keiki activities, and Haiku historical displays. Some of Maui’s top musicians and hula halaus also make appearances here. In addition, to encourage creativity and academics in Maui’s youth, the Haiku Hoʻolauleʻa includes a poetry contest and a student showcase.
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11. Maui Brewer’s Festival
Craft beer lovers can rub shoulders with their favorite brewers at the Maui Brewers Festival, held every May at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. In past years, the festival has hosted 40 breweries from around the nation, including over a dozen breweries from Hawaii. General admission includes event entry, food selection from over 20 local vendors, live music, and eight 4 oz beer tastings. If you’re not a beer fan, you’ll also find taps pouring hard cider, kombucha, and locally made root beer. As with most major events, the Maui Brewers Festival was postponed indefinitely following covid-19, but we’re confident it will return in the future.
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12. Wailea Restaurant Week
Wailea Restaurant Week is one of the best foodie events to grace Maui’s shores. This bi-annual event allows restaurant-goers to dine at some of Wailea’s best restaurants for a fraction of the cost. Over 20 of Wailea’s gourmet eateries offer chef-curated prix-fixe menus from $29-$59. Some restaurants also offer wine pairings for an additional cost. A portion of each prix-fixe entre sold during Wailea Restaurant Week will benefit the Maui Food Bank.
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13. Makawao Rodeo
Makawao is the Paniolo capital of Maui. For the last six decades, the Makawao Rodeo has been held at Oskie Rice Arena every July 4th weekend. Slippers are traded for cowboy boots as the event kicks off Friday evening with the coveted Bull Bash. The weekend also features steer chasing, barrel racing, fantastic local food, and a parade. If you find yourself on Maui near July 4th, don’t miss this fantastic display of Hawaiian cowboy culture.
14. Maui Whale Festival
We’ll be honest, the future of the Maui Whale Festival is uncertain. Yet even in these unprecedented times, whale celebrations abound near the end of February. For over 30 years, the Maui Whale Festival has been held at Kalama Park in Kihei to commemorate Maui’s favorite part-time residents: humpback whales. In the past, the festival included a parade, food stands, tons of keiki entertainment, live music, and educational booths. The Great Whale Count and Run and Walk for the Whales are also part of the festivities. We hope to see the Maui Whale Festival return in full force soon!
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15. Festivals of Aloha
Maui’s Festivals of Aloha aims to honor and showcase Native Hawaiian culture and traditions. The Festivals of Aloha takes place in September and October, with celebrations across Maui Nui. Each event celebrates all things Hawaiian, highlighting different aspects of culture. From fishing and taro contests in Hana, Hawaiian music under the Lahaina Banyan Tree, to cultural demonstrations on Lanai, the Festivals of Aloha is an immersive Hawaiian experience.
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2 thoughts on “15 Annual Maui Events You Didn’t Know About”
How about St. John’s Kula Festival at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kula every September?
Any offerings of free Lei making in and around Lahaina. Years ago I remember taking a class at Whaler’s Village. It was very enjoyable.