Kaua’i’s largest and longest-running festival held in the plantation town of Waimea…a place to discover the real Kaua’i. Hosted by the Historic Waimea Theater and Cultural Arts Center, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide benefits to local charity and non-profit groups in the community of West Kaua’i through a quality celebration of heritage, diversity and inclusion of its kama’aina and malihini.
Please bring canned foods for Hawai’i Food Bank’s ORANGE & GREEN food bins at all events.
The 8-day festival begins President’s Day weekend and includes cultural and sporting events, live entertainment, food, and contests. Highlights of the week are listed below; follow the links for more info.
Opening weekend events at Waimea Historic Theater
- 02.18.23 – Saturday 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm. KAUA’I COCKTAILS & CUISINE opening night MARDI GRAS! Walk into a Carnival celebration reminiscent of a street festival with cajun flair. Enter the costume contest for CASH prize, enjoy King Cake, and sample cocktails popular in New Orleans. Must be 21+ to enter. Tickets: $60 GA / $80 VIP.
- 02.19.23 – Sunday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. KING KAUMUALI’I LU’AU. A cultural presentation of beautiful songs and dance by Kumu Hula Troy Lazaro & Halau Ka Pa Hula o Hinano in honor of Kaua’i’s favorite King Kaumuali’i. Doors open at 4:30 pm. Tickets: $30 GA includes a special meal.
- 02.20.23 – Monday 9:15 am – 6:00 pm. WAIMEA FILM FESTIVAL – HIFF HANA HOU. Asian Pacific films including an encore of award-winning films & sleepers from the Hawaii International Film Festival 42. The complete lineup will be posted on www.WaimeaTheater.com. Tickets: $10 at the Box Office. All Day Pass and $30 includes special meal and can be purchased online.
Weekday live music & contests at Hofgaard Park
Weekday MUSIC IN THE PARK & ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT CONTESTS with CASH prizes at Hofgaard Park.
- 02.21.23 Tuesday, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm Times’ Spam Musubi Eating Contest. LIVE Music by Frank Cruz & Cruz Control
- 02.22.23 Wednesday , 11:00 am – 2:00 pm Redondo’s Red Hot Dog Eating Contest. LIVE Music by Kahalau Leoiki
- 02.23.23 Thursday, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm Kauai Kimchee’s Kimchee Eating Contest. LIVE Music by Nick Castillo
FREE ENTRY, Family Friendly, Craft Vendors.
Weekday entertainment at Waimea Historic Theater
- 02.22.23 – Wednesday 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. “THE PA’AKAI WE BRING” – Tales & Treats @ the Historic Waimea Theater. Kanaka Maoli Storyteller MOSES GOODS and members of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth Ensemble spent 2022 working in the salt beds of Hanapepe to create this special new production: “THE PA’AKAI WE BRING.” The play follows a family with multiple generations of Kaua’i salt farmers and mixes in ancient stories, hula and original songs. Tickets $10.
- 02.23.23 – Thursday 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. AMBASSADOR OF ALOHA & MUSIC CONCERT @ the Historic Waimea Theater. The Neil Diamond cover band CHERRY CHERRY returns to Kaua’i to celebrate and honor our Ambassador of Aloha 2023 JIMMY OKADA who will be presented with the Malama Award for his service to our westside community. Tickets: $20 GA.
Kauai Paniolo Showdown @ Friendship Do’s Ranch
02.23.23 to 02.25.23 KAUA’I PANIOLO SHOWDOWN 2023 @ Friendship Do’s Ranch, Waimea Arena. Come and see Hawai’i’s best battle it out. Thursday: roping qualifying rounds. Friday: roping (day) and barrel racing (evening) qualifying rounds. Saturday: final show. Thursday-Friday FREE. Saturday tickets: $10 (age 2+). More info: Kauaipanioloshowdown (webnode.page)
In 1793, King Kamehameha was gifted with five longhorns and placed a kapu (protection) over the cattle, allowing them to roam and multiply. Little did he know it would lead to a booming beef trade and a high demand for ranchers in Hawaii. Because of this, vaqueros, or Mexican cowboys, arrived on the Big Island and Maui to teach the locals how to corral. Thus began the culture of the Hawaiian cowboy, known to us now as the paniolo.The world “paniolo” allegedly comes from the Hawaiian version of the word “español,” as the Hawaiian language doesn’t use the “s” sound. A cross between Mexican and Hawaiian cultures, the paniolo had a key role in society: providing a large source of income and trade for the islands. Songs were even dedicated to them in which their Mexican-inspired ponchos, wide-brimmed hats, and affinity for the guitar were admired. But, times have changed since then. Today, the upcountry population of ranchers is quickly dwindling, along with the culture.
The two-day finale ho’olaule’a
The closing ho’olaule’a is like a huge block party featuring Hawaiian music, entertainment, arts and crafts, island cuisine and a beer garden.
- 02.24.23 to 02.25.23. Westside ho’olaule’a @ the Old Waimea Mill. Food booths, craft vendors, FREE live entertainment, Rum & Beer Garden and contests: Ice Cream Eating Contest, ‘Ukulele Contest, Lei Papale (Hat Lei) Contest.
- 02.25.23 Na’i’ole Long Distance Canoe Race @ Waimea Landing. 8:00 am traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoes racing along the Waimea shoreline. Awards at 1:00 pm.
- 02.24.23 to 02.25.23. 3-on-3 basketball tournament for all ages @ Waimea Canyon Park Bball Courts. Students $20, adults $40.
More info: Waimea Town Celebration