O'ahu is home to the largest number of festivals and events in Hawaii. Each year, visitors have the opportunity to connect with the local community and experience renowned events that showcase the island's rich arts and culture scene, the world's top amateur and professional sporting competitions and championships, and the many ethnic celebrations that are exclusive to Hawaii.
- Polynesian Cultural Center is celebrating its 45th anniversary with a wide array of festivals and competitions that represent Polynesian cultures. From May 14-17, Samoa will be celebrated during the 16th Annual World Fireknife Championships, in which participants from all over the world converge in La'ie to spin their fire-lit knives. On July 5, the best group and solo dancers from Tahiti compete in Te Mahana Hiro'a O Tahiti, which brings an upbeat competition and features tamari'i (children) from all over Tahiti.
- On Memorial Day, May 26, thousands of people from various cultures will gather at Ala Moana Beach Park to honor those who have sacrificed their lives in war, pay respect to loved ones who have passed away and pray for a harmonious and peaceful future at the 10th Annual Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony. More than 1,500 candle-lit lanterns are set afloat on the ocean, a traditional Buddhist rite originating in Japan. The ceremony also combines the local culture of hula and Hawaiian music with the Japanese Shomyo Choir and Taiko drums.
- The Battleship Missouri Memorial will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Missouri's arrival to Hawaii throughout the month of June with two special, commemorative guided tours. The new 60-minute Weapons Tour will showcase the wide array of weaponry on the Missouri from throughout its five decades of active-service while the new 60-minute Generations Tour will feature inspiring stories from those who served aboard the Battleship Missouri.
- On July 19, the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival, held in the beautiful Moanalua Gardens, showcases hula halau (troupes) gracing the hula mound for spectators to enjoy. The festival is immersed in Native Hawaiian culture and features crafts, kapa making, lauhala weaving, lomilomi massage, traditional Hawaiian games, and more.
- Local 'ukulele legend Roy Sakuma and his sponsors are helping to keep the 'ukulele alive at the 38th Annual Roy Sakuma 'Ukulele Festival Hawai'i, the largest festival of its kind in the world, attracting audiences of thousands. The free two-hour concerts on July 27 showcase the finest 'ukulele players, along with national celebrities, Hawaii's top entertainers, and an 'ukulele orchestra of more than 800 students, mostly children. The festival benefits 'Ukulele Festival Hawaii, a charitable non-profit organization.
Conferences and Symposiums
- From August 22-September 1 Honolulu will host the 2008 Maui Writers Conference & Retreat. This year's event, dubbed "On the Road in Honolulu," transitions the Conference and Retreat to its new home in Honolulu. The Conference and Retreat features award-winning, bestselling authors from various genres, as well as agents, editors and screenwriters. From August 22-28, the retreat offers six intense, inspiring days of learning the art and craft of writing. The conference, held from August 29-September 1, offers more than 100 workshops, lectures and informal gatherings..