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Kauai's Colorful Festivals

Taste Kauai's history and culture by attending any of her many cultural festivals. If you're planning a fall trip, arrive by mid-September so you won't miss a moment of the Annual Kauai Mokihana Festival. It's an eight-day celebration of art and culture featuring open artists' studios; competitions in music composition, hula, and video; as well as lectures and workshops in the healing arts and slack key guitar.

The first Sunday in October, hula dancers and storytellers recreate the visit of Queen Emma to Kokee on the meadow next to Kokee Museum. Hawaiian culture is part of another celebration, the Aloha Week Festival, which comes along in October. The week's events feature Hawaiian music, dance, song, foods and more.

Movie buffs delight in November at the arrival of the Hawaii International Film Festival with great Pacific Rim films. They are shown at various theatres at no cost. Continuing on through December, it's crafts fair season for talented local artisans. Choral and instrumental ensembles and youth drama groups make the holiday season truly festive.

February offers Captain Cook's Caper, a 5K and 10K run along with an outrigger canoe race that's part of the Waimea Town Celebration. This town, which maintains its old west flair, knows how to throw a party replete with great entertainment, delicious food, games and a beer garden. E Kanikapila Kakou (Let's make music) brings a different Hawaiian composer and singer weekly to informal song fests that begin in February and continue for ten weeks.

Moving into March, Kauai celebrates the birth of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, Kauai's "citizen prince." He was Hawaii's first congressional representative. A commemorative service at his birthplace in Poipu and special hula performances in various locations honor his memory.

Just when you think the fun is winding down, May Day, or Lei Day, comes along celebrating springtime and flowers. This annual event encompasses lei-making competitions and museum exhibits. In June, bring your appetite to Taste of Hawaii. This yearly event is sponsored by the Kapaa Rotary Club and offers culinary delights prepared by chefs from around the state.

Come June, the O Bon season starts. Japanese temples invite visitors to join the community in ceremonial dances commemorating their ancestors. Memorial lanterns are lit and sent out to sea in tiny boats. On the fringes of the event lies a quiet carnival atmosphere. The June 11 birthday of Kamehameha the Great is celebrated with a parade and weekend festivities. We remember Old Koloa Town's sugar heritage in July during Koloa Plantation Days. This week-long celebration culminates in a parade and hoolaulea (celebration). As the festivities continue into August, the island honors its Polynesian roots with a week-long event, the Kauai-Tahiti Fete. It is time to arearea-have a great time Tahitian style. Dancers and musicians from Tahiti, Kauai, other islands, the mainland and Canada perform around the island, and intense competition means non-stop fun for the audience.

With so many culturally rich activities to choose from, isn't it time you planned a vacation on Kauai, the island of festivals?

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