This year’s Aloha Festivals pays tribute to traditional Hawaiian ocean voyaging with its theme, “Moana Nui !kea – Celebrate Ocean Voyaging.”

Now in its 67th year as one of Hawai‘i’s most highly regarded and oldest cultural celebrations, the 2013 Aloha Festivals takes place from September 12 to 28 at various locations on Oahu, sharing the history and traditions of Hawai‘i and the unique spirit of aloha with both kama!”ina (local residents) and malihini (visitors).

“The 2013 Aloha Festivals honors the important Hawaiian value of Moana Nui Akea by celebrating the brave and inspiring canoe builders, voyagers and navigators who have strived tirelessly to help keep our native culture vibrant,” said Helene “Sam” Shenkus, co-chair of the Aloha Festivals board of directors. “Each event this year will capture Moana Nui !kea by perpetuating our Island culture and educating everyone who participates in our signature events.”

The “Moana Nui !kea” theme also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, which was founded in 1973 and has since inspired generations of voyagers who have boldly retraced the paths of Hawai‘i’s Pacific island ancestors, fostering the revival of the wa‘a kaulua (double-hulled sailing canoe) and traditional “wayfinding” – non-instrument navigation by the sun, stars and reading of wave patterns and other natural signs.

The celebration kicks off with the investiture of the 2013 Aloha Festivals Royal Court on September 12, followed by an opening ceremony featuring traditional chant and hula; a keiki ho‘olaule‘a (children’s block party) with activities, demonstrations and entertainment by keiki musical groups and hula hlau (hula troupes); and an evening ho‘olaule‘a (block party) with live entertainment on multiple stages, food booths and crafts. The celebration culminates with a floral parade along Kal!kaua Avenue on September 28.  

Pa'u Rider 
Pa’u Rider at the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade

Schedule of Aloha Festivals events

All events are free and open to the public. They are supported by the sale of Aloha Festivals ribbons and merchandise from participating retailers. Aloha Festivals merchandise will also be sold at all events.

Thursday, September 12 Aloha Festivals Royal Court Investiture 3:00 p.m., Hilton Hawaiian Village 

The Ali‘i –king, queen, prince and princess – take their place in the 2013 Aloha Festivals Royal Court. Court members receive the royal cloak, helmet, head feather lei and other symbols of their reign. Traditional chant and hula kahiko (ancient hula) highlight the event. Aloha Festivals Opening Ceremony, 5:00 p.m., Royal Hawaiian Center, Royal Grove –Traditional chant and hula mark the official beginning of the Aloha Festivals events. The Aloha Festivals Royal Court is introduced on the grounds of Royal Hawaiian Center’s Royal Grove.  

Saturday, September 14 Aloha Festivals Keiki Ho‘olaule‘a, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Pearlridge Center Uptown & Downtown (co-related events)

Pearlridge Center will celebrate Aloha Festivals with a variety of activities, demonstrations and continuous stage performances by participating keiki (children) musical groups and hula hlau. The 2013 Aloha Festivals Royal Court will make a special appearance. For more information, visit

Saturday, September 21 61st Annual Aloha Festivals Waikiki Ho‘olaule‘a, 7:00 p.m., Kalakaua Avenue between Lewers Street and Kapahulu Avenue 

The Annual Waikiki Ho‘olaule‘a is Hawaii’s largest block party. Thousands of people will take to the streets for food, fun and entertainment. Top Island entertainers will perform along with hula halau while Hawaiian crafts and floral lei (garlands) will be on display and available for purchase.

Saturday, September 28 67th Annual Aloha Festivals Floral Parade, 9:00 a.m., Kalakaua Avenue from Ala Moana Park to Kapi‘olani Park

A colorful equestrian procession of pa’u (long-skirted) riders, exquisite floats with cascades of Hawaiian flowers, hula halau, marching bands and dignitaries will enliven Kalakaua Avenue.

About Aloha Festivals

Aloha Festivals was first held in 1946 as Aloha Week, and over the past six and a half decades has become a celebration of Hawaiian culture, integrating the traditions and cultures of the Islands through music, dance, cuisine and art. All festivities are coordinated by a volunteer board of directors. Aloha Festivals is funded by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, corporate and private sponsorships, and sales of Aloha Festivals ribbons and merchandise. To see more about the tradition, check out the Aloha Festivals video.