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John Fischer

John's Hawaii Travel Blog

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Lantern Floating Hawaii - Memorial Day

Friday May 23, 2014

Photo Courtesy of Shinnyo-en Hawaii
Lantern Floating Hawaii

The 16th Annual Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony will take place next Monday, Memorial Day, May 26, 2014. More than 6,000 candle-lit lanterns bearing individual and community remembrances and prayers will illuminate the ocean off of Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park.

The event brings together more than 40,000 Hawaii residents and visitors from around the world and from various cultures and traditions who cast afloat lanterns at sunset in remembrance of loved ones who have passed, or as symbolic prayer for a harmonious and peaceful future. The ceremony will also recognize those who have passed due to various causes afflicting humanity throughout the world. The theme of Lantern Floating Hawaii is "Many Rivers, One Ocean."

I attended the 2010 event. Taking away all of the pageantry, pomp and circumstance which was so beautiful, Lantern Floating Hawaii is ultimately about the people who get a lantern, write their special messages to deceased love ones, prayers to their God, hopes for the world and much more, and then place it in the water for the tide to take out to sea.

It is very much like lighting a candle in a Roman Catholic Church or writing a prayer on a piece of paper and then burning it as you watch the smoke rise to the heavens. What you ultimately take from it is up to you. It comes down to faith. For some the event was just fun, for some symbolic, but, for far more, something very spiritual as you could clearly see in their tears.

Find out more about this year's Lantern Floating Hawaii.

View a gallery of 12 photos taken at Lantern Floating Hawaii 2010.

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What Should I Do in Hawaii?

Thursday May 22, 2014

It should be no surprise that the two questions that I get by email and in person are 1) Where should I stay in Hawaii (or specific island) and 2) What should I do in Hawaii (or specific island name?)

Neither of these questions are surprising. In the case of the first question there are hundreds upon hundreds of hotels, resorts, condominiums, B&B's and vacation rentals to choose from.

In the case of the second question, it's much the same. Visitors are inundated with free publications at the airport and in your lodging, all describing the seemingly endless array of things to do in Hawaii.

I hope that I can help you narrow down your choices with my picks for the best things to do on each of the Hawaiian Islands. These picks are ever changing as I experience new activities, but for now, here are my current choices:

Top Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii

Top Things to Do on Kauai

Top Things to Do on Maui

Top Things to Do on Oahu

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Visiting the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites

Tuesday May 20, 2014
Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com
USS Arizona Memorial as seen from the bridge of the Battleship Missouri - Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

A must stop for any first time visitor to Oahu, is Pearl Harbor. While most visitors are aware that they can visit the USS Arizona Memorial, many do not realize that there are three other historic sites available. It's easy to spend a full day experiencing history.

USS Arizona Memorial

Hawaii's most popular tourist attraction has over 1,500,000 million tourists a year. We will help you plan your visit to this most solemn of places in Hawaii. We also offer photos of the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, the USS Arizona Museum and USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park at Pearl Harbor offers visitors the chance to tour the World War II submarine USS Bowfin and view and submarine-related artifacts on (the) grounds and in the Museum. View a gallery of 36 photos taken at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park Photo Gallery at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Battleship Missouri Memorial

The USS Missouri or Mighty Mo, as she is often called, is anchored at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor within a ship's length of the USS Arizona Memorial, forming fitting bookends to the involvement of the Unites States in World War II. View photos of the Battleship Missouri and Battleship Missouri Memorial at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Pacific Aviation Museum

The highly anticipated Pacific Aviation Museum - Pearl Harbor (PAM) opened to the public on Dec. 7, 2006, the 65th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Hawaii. View a gallery of 24 photos of the new Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.

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The Polynesian Cultural Center - Hawaii's Top Paid Visitor Attraction

Wednesday May 7, 2014

Photo Courtesy of the Polynesian Cultural CenterVisitors to the Hawaiian Island of O'ahu have the unique opportunity to learn about the culture and people of Polynesia, not from books, films or television, but from the actual people who were born and live in the area's major island groups.

Founded in 1963, the Polynesian Cultural Center or PCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of Polynesia and sharing the culture, arts, and crafts of the major island groups to the rest of the world. The Center has been Hawaii's top paid visitor attraction since 1977, according to annual state government surveys.

This year the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) marks its 50th anniversary of preserving and perpetuating the Polynesian culture.

Most recently, the PCC introduced a new Island Luau centered around the Samoan culture and featuring a dinner buffet with favorite Samoan, Hawaiian and local dishes, traditional performances like the faataupati (Samoan slap dance) and siva popo (coconut shell dance), and keiki (children) fireknife dancing.

Another new addition is Hawaiian Journey, a 14-minute cinematic presentation that brings to life the story of Hawaii's people, their land, and their ancestors.

If you'd like to find out more about the PCC or view a number of photos, you can check out these features:

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Planning a Perfect Hawaiian Wedding

Monday May 5, 2014

Photo Courtesy of the The Fairmont Orchid
Photo Courtesy of the The Fairmont Orchid

Are you planning a wedding in Hawaii? If you are, you're in good company. Every year thousands of people from around the world choose to get married on one of Hawaii's beautiful islands.

Donna Heiderstadt is an expert who has great inside tips for planning a perfect wedding in Hawaii. From 2002-2009 she was the Travel Editor of Modern Bride magazine.

We've asked Donna to share her vast knowledge of how to plan a wedding in Hawaii with our readers. Donna's features are sure to be helpful for any couple planning wedding in Hawaii in 2013.

Where to Get Married in Hawaii
A guide to choosing the perfect location for your Hawaii wedding.

How to Apply for a Marriage License in Hawaii
The legal requirements and application process for obtaining a marriage license in Hawaii.

Tips for Planning the Perfect Wedding in Hawaii
Tips on planning a wedding in Hawaii, from choosing the perfect island to selecting the ideal venue and incorporating local Hawaiian flowers and music.

Hawaiian Wedding Ceremony
A look at the elements and traditions of a Hawaiian Wedding Ceremony, from the exchange of leis and the playing of the "Hawaiian Wedding Song" to the Circle of Love and the blessing of the rings.

Wedding Chapels and Gazebos in Hawaii
Wedding chapels and gazebos abound in Hawaii. Many of the top resorts on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island and Lana'i have seaside gazebos or even air-conditioned chapels that offer an elegant alternative to a beach ceremony. Here are 10 great chapel and gazebo options with details on location and capacity.

Hawaiian Wedding Attire
A list of do's and don'ts for Hawaii wedding attire, from the best fabrics for a wedding dress to suggestions for the groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen and guests.

Intimate Wedding Spots in Hawaii
Suggestions for intimate wedding spots in Hawaii, secluded places to get married on the Big Island, Kauai, Lana'i, Maui and Oahu, such as waterfalls, quiet beaches and botanical gardens.

Destination Wedding Etiquette
If you are thinking about having a destination wedding in Hawaii, here are questions and answers for some of the basic rules of etiquette that apply to the couple, their wedding party and their guests.

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SPAM Jam This Saturday in Waikiki

Friday May 2, 2014

Photo Courtesy of Waikiki SPAM JamThis Saturday, May 3, 2014, visitors to Waikiki will get a great chance to experience some of Hawaii's unique culinary tastes when the 12th Annual Waikiki SPAMŽ Jam returns to the island of Oahu.

From 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., the Waikiki SPAMŽ; Jam will take place on Kalakaua Avenue in the heart of Waikiki with one of the largest street festivals in Hawaii - all in honor of Hawaii's love affair with the lovable luncheon meat.

There will be great food, special SPAMŽ themed merchandise and entertainment on two stages.

Do you like SPAMŽ so much that you'd consider trying it in just about any form? Well, consider SPAMŽ Fusion Fajitas, SPAMŽ Katsu, SPAMŽ Won Ton, SPAMŽ Pan Lau Lau, SPAMŽ Ravioli, SPAMŽ Tacos, and SPAMŽ Poke. Those are just a few of the creative and enhanced dishes some of Hawaii's most innovative chefs will be serving up at this year's Waikiki SPAMŽ JAM Festival.

Read more about the 12th Annual Waikiki SPAMŽ Jam .

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May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

Thursday May 1, 2014

Today is May Day and May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii. It's a day of color, celebration, flowers and aloha.

In our feature Lei Day in Hawaii we take a look at the origins of Lei Day and how the holiday is celebrated throughout the Hawaiian islands.

View our gallery of photos of O'ahu's Lei Day Celebration.

View our travel video Celebrate May Day as Lei Day in Hawaii.

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Haleakala National Park Summit Area

Tuesday April 29, 2014

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com
Crater or More Accurately Called Depression of Haleakala

Haleakala, "The House of the Sun", is a dormant volcano and the tallest peak on Maui, reaching 10,023 feet above sea level.

The crater, or more correctly called the depression, is large enough to hold the entire island of Manhattan. It is 7.5 miles long, 2.5 miles wide and 3000 feet deep. The crater includes its own mini-mountain range of nine cinder cones - the largest of which is over 1000 feet high.

Many believe that Haleakala Crater resembles the surface of the moon or, more likely, Mars with its red hue.

Find out more about the Haleakala National Park Summit Area and view our revised and updated gallery of photos of the Haleakala Highway and Summit Area of Haleakala.

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A Month of Events, Concerts and Awards Honoring the Best in Hawaiian Music - "Mele Mei"

Wednesday April 23, 2014

If you're planning to be in Waikiki on Oahu on at various locations on Hawaii Island during May, you'll have a great opportunity to enjoy some of the best that the music of Hawaii has to offer.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) are working together to present a month of concerts, workshops, jam sessions and awards - all culminating with the 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards ceremony on Saturday, May 24 where the best in the music of Hawaii during the past year will be honored.

During the month, there are concerts every Sunday at lunchtime at Halekulani, a huge Concert on the Lawn at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort on May 10, and a Music for the Generations Concert at Waikiki Beach Walk on May 23 presented by Outrigger Hotels and Resorts.

Those are just a few of the more than 30 events throughout the month, aptly called "Mele Mei," or May Song. For more details, see our in depth feature 2014 Mele Mei - Celebrating the Music of Hawaii.

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It's Merrie Monarch Festival Time

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Photo Courtesy of the Merrie Monarch Festival
Photo by Renea Veneri Stewart

In Hawaii, the week after Easter is when hula halau from the islands of Hawaii and the mainland gather in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii for the Merrie Monarch Festival.

Celebrating its 51st anniversary in 2014, the Merrie Monarch Festival has evolved into what is now universally considered to be the world's most prestigious hula competition. KFVE, K5 The Home Team, will once again handle the TV coverage of this year's festival and will offer a live stream of the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival on their website.

Read more about the festival and this year's schedule in our feature on the 2014 Merrie Monarch Festival.

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