Soak up summer in Hawaii

Jun. 21, 2014 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
The season of sun is prime time for concerts, festivals and fireworks around the islands. (Bruce Asato / 2013)

The season of sun is prime time for concerts, festivals and fireworks around the islands. (Bruce Asato / 2013)

BY STEFANIE NAKASONE / snakasone@staradvertiser.com

GET THE DETAILS

Hawaii Polo Club:
hawaiipolo.com

Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association:
hcrapaddler.com

Duke’s OceanFest:
dukesoceanfest.com

Fourth of July Fireworks:
» Ala Moana: alamoanacenter.com
» Turtle Bay: turtlebayresort.com, 293-6000
» Kailua: kailuafireworks.net, 478-5230
» Pearl Harbor-Hickam: greatlifehawaii.com
» Schofield: himwr.com/4thofjuly, 655-0111/0113

MayJah RayJah:
ticketmaster.com, 866-448-7849 (Oahu shows); mauiarts.org, 242-7469 (Maui shows)

EDM Events:
» M Nightclub: mnlhnl.com
» Vice Nightclub, The Republik: flavorus.com

Puerto Rican Cultural and Salsa Dance Festival:
hispanicevents-hawaii.com, 285-0072

Korean Festival:
koreanfestivalhi.com/en

Prince Lot Hula Festival:
moanaluagardensfoundation.org

Ukulele Festival:
ukulelefestivalhawaii.org

Hawaiian Slack-Key Guitar Festival:
slackkeyfestival.com

Okinawan Festival:
okinawanfestival.com, 676-5400

School’s out. The weather outside is almost never frightful (except when the Kona winds kick in). And even at 7 p.m. you can still catch some sun.

Yup, it’s summer, the season that just screams “Get out and do something!”

We want you to do more than acknowledge summer — we want you to relish it. Why not, right? There is certainly no lack of things to do or events to enjoy around Oahu.

So whether you’re on break, vacation or just want to get out of the house and make the most of your day, these suggestions can help you achieve a peak summer experience.

HIT THE BEACH

Well, duh. Pardon my ’90s slang, but we’re in Hawaii and it’s summer, so of course you’ll be at the beach at some point (if not several times). And while you probably have your regular spots, like Ala Moana, Bellows, Lanikai or Waimea, there are a few places and special events you might want to check out:

Hawaii Polo Club: Oh yes, this is so much more than just guys and gals with mallets on horses, though the ponies are nice to see.

Every Sunday through August the Hawaii Polo Club hosts competitions at the Mokuleia Polo Field. And while you get to watch the “sport of kings,” the total experience starts well before the pony parade.

Gates open at 11 a.m., with matches starting around 2 p.m. You can spend that time enjoying the beautiful beach behind the polo field (swimming is OK and the water’s clear and fine) or have a tailgate picnic. During halftime of the games, there are often activities (sometimes a sky diver), and after the game there’s live entertainment as players and guests mingle.

The vibe is friendly, and the people-watching is about as entertaining as the games. Oh, and the bar stays open until the sun goes down.

Admission is $10, $8 for military.

If the beach isn't your thing, maybe catch a game with the Hawaii Polo Club on Sundays through August. (Joah Buley / April)

If the beach isn’t your thing, maybe catch a game with the Hawaii Polo Club on Sundays through August. (Joah Buley / April)

Forget Waimea: As predictable as it might seem, I would say Waimea Bay is my favorite North Shore spot. The beach is huge, with room for a crowd, and the water’s beautiful and calm this time of year. But as anyone who’s been to the North Shore can tell you, parking’s a pain.

For a stressless alternative, might we suggest you opt to head a little farther up Kamehameha Highway, to Sunset Beach?

Like Waimea, Sunset spans an enormous stretch of sand with a goodly amount of people, locals and tourists alike. The waves here tend to be a bit rougher, but during the summer conditions are typically fine. (We don’t have to remind you to check the weather or chat with a lifeguard, right?) The best part: lots of free parking! There is tons of room to park along the beach as well as a small lot across the street. If you get there by 10 a.m. or so, you’re sure to find open stalls — and avoid the worst of the North Shore traffic.

Regatta Gala: In local sports summer means one thing: It’s canoe paddling season. Every weekend, clubs compete throughout the state at their respective organization’s regattas. Check the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association website for a complete schedule.

Summer means paddling season, and the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association will be holding regattas. (Dennis Oda / 2013)

Summer means paddling season, and the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association will be holding regattas. (Dennis Oda / 2013)

All come together Aug. 2 at Keehi Lagoon for the HCRA State Championship, where the best crews face off for individual and overall titles. It’s a huge all-day party, with hundreds of paddlers, families and friends having fun and reveling in some friendly (but still serious) competition.

Will perennial powerhouse Hawaiian Canoe Club from Maui win back-to-back championships? Or will Lanikai, Kailua or one of the other Oahu big boys knock them off? We shall see.

WWDD (What Would Duke Do?): Surfing, swimming, paddling — if it has to do with water and sports, you’ll find it at the annual Duke’s OceanFest, which honors the great Hawaiian waterman Duke Kahanamoku. The 13th edition of this event is set for Aug. 16 to 24, with most of the fun taking place at Kuhio Beach.

There’s surfing (including longboard and tandem), stand-up paddleboard contests, swimming, surf polo, beach volleyball, canoe racing and other competitions. The festivities run all day (typically starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m.) and are free to watch from the shore. There are also special events at night, including free talk-story sessions in front of the Duke Kahanamoku statue Aug. 20 and 22 and the Hawaiian 105 KINE Great Hawaiian Luau at the Waikiki Aquarium on Aug. 23 ($60 per person).

PARTY ON!

For those of you much cooler than I — which is to say most of you — there are tons of evening and late-night bashes on the summer calendar. Here’s a tease of what to look foward to:

Musicians invade the islands with Third Eye Blind, performing at Schofield for the Fourth of July. (Associated Press)

Musicians invade the islands with Third Eye Blind, performing at Schofield for the Fourth of July. (Associated Press)

Fireworks on the Fourth: The Fourth of July is on a Friday this year, so most of you have no excuse for going to bed early and missing out on the night’s festivities. Once darkness hits, organized firework shows will be going off all over the island, including Ala Moana (fireworks at 8:30 p.m.), Turtle Bay (10 a.m.-10 p.m.) and Kailua (parade at 10 a.m., evening festivities start at 6 p.m.).

Military personnel and their guests also get an added bonus of big-time rock bands. 3 Doors Down performs at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam before the base’s fireworks show (festivities start at 3:30 p.m.). Third Eye Blind entertains the crowd at Schofield (festivities start at 10 a.m.). I think it’s time to give my friend over at the DoD a call.

Rebel Souljahz perform at The MayJah RayJah at the end of July. (Courtesy Rebel SoulJahz)

Rebel Souljahz perform at The MayJah RayJah at the end of July. (Courtesy Rebel SoulJahz)

This is Gonna be MayJah!: More than 50 island-reggae acts will take the stage over two days at The MayJah RayJah at the Waikiki Shell. That’s a whole lot of irie.

J Boog headlines the July 25 edition, which also includes Common Kings, Nesian Nine, Jah Maoli and Tenelle. On July 26, “Boombastic” singer Shaggy takes the stage, along with Rebel Souljahz, Anuhea, Kapena, Sammy J and others.

The show starts at 4 p.m. each day. Tickets are $29 to $120, with two-day lawn passes available for $58.

If you’re on the Valley Isle that weekend, no worry, beef curry. The MayJah RayJah will be going off at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on the same days, with the lineups flipped.

Shaggy will also perform at The MayJah RayJah. (Courtesy Shaggy)

Shaggy will also perform at The MayJah RayJah. (Courtesy Shaggy)

EDM Overload: Scores of sexed-up singles pack the house on any given date at Honolulu’s various nightclubs, raucous dancers surrendering to a musical mastermind behind the turntables. Things only get hotter during the summer as clubs bring in national and international DJs to shake things up.

Keep an eye on our weekly Nightclubs calendar in TGIF and online at HonoluluPulse.com for the latest, but these touring acts are already booked:

After welcoming Nick Cannon and Havana Brown, M Nightclub concludes its S.K.A.M. Artist summer series with DJ sets by The Cataracs on July 3 and Vice on Aug. 8.

Over at Vice Nightclub, DJ duo Project 46 performs Saturday, while the guys from Wonderland Entertainment Group are bringing in acts like Kill Paris on July 5 and Party Favor on July 19.

The Republik’s Electric Palms series is going strong, too, with shows such as Bro Safari on July 12 and Splurt on July 26.

More acts will crop up as we get deeper into summer. Stay tuned.

With the Okinawan Festival comes booths, entertainment and andagi to celebrate Uchinanchu culture. (Dennis Oda / 2012)

With the Okinawan Festival comes booths, entertainment and andagi to celebrate Uchinanchu culture. (Dennis Oda / 2012)

JUMP INTO THE MELTING POT

Because there are so many ethnicities that make up Hawaii’s population, it’s no surprise we love to celebrate what makes each of these groups special. Thus, there seems to always be some sort of cultural festival going on.

The best part of these events? The food.

Yeah yeah, I appreciate all the native music and dance that these festivals celebrate. Being primarily of Japanese and Okinawan decent myself, I do feel a certain tinge of reverence when I hear taiko drums or someone singing while playing a sanshin or shamisen.

But c’mon, let’s get real — food is the star of the show. Just try going to the Okinawan Festival without getting some andagi. Or try these suggestions out, for added spice from dancing, live music and hula:

Puerto Rican Pride: Put on your dancing shoes for the Puerto Rican Cultural and Salsa Dance Festival, dubbed “Summer Salsa in Paradise,” which started Thursday and continues through Sunday.

The event includes a pair of parties at Hawaiian Brian’s on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Performing will be international recording artist Luisito Rosario and Eddie Ortiz & the Son Caribe Band, as well as several DJs. Admission to each concert is $30.

The festival concludes Sunday with a beach party at Fort DeRussy Park. The free event features DJs and dancing, and attendees are asked to bring their favorite Puerto Rican dishes. Pasteles and gandule rice, anyone?

Calling All K-pop Fans!: What do mandoo and “music vampires” have in common? You’ll find them both at the Korean Festival, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 12 at Magic Island.

In addition to its lineup of food and cultural performances, the festival features a concert by up-and-coming K-pop boy band M.Pire (the name is a fusion of the words “music” and “vampire”) at 7 p.m. The seven-member group — whose members definitely don’t shy away from the eyeliner and hair gel — debuted in August and released their third single album “Rumor” in May.

Get on Hawaiian Time: “Slow down, this ain’t the mainland!” isn’t just a bumper sticker. It’s a good piece of advice to heed when checking out some of the summer’s Hawaiian cultural events. The laid-back celebrations with hula and music are perfect to bring your tutu to.

You won’t have to fly to Hilo to see the largest noncompetitive hula event of the year. That’s the Prince Lot Hula Festival on July 19 at Moanalua Gardens. Kumu hula Robert Cazimero opens the festival (9 a.m.-4 p.m.), which will also have food and craft vendors as well as demonstrations and Hawaiian arts.

Roy Sakuma’s Ukulele Festival celebrates its 44th year July 20 at Kapiolani Park (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) with featured performers Ohta-San, Raiatea Helm and Willie K.

Then there’s the Hawaiian Slack-Key Guitar Festival on Aug. 17 at Bishop Museum (noon-6 p.m.).

Can You Uchinanchu?: Andagi, oki dogs and soba, oh my!

If it’s Labor Day weekend on Oahu, it’s time for the Okinawan Festival, a free two-day event that draws more than 50,000 visitors annually to Kapiolani Park. In addition to all the good food mentioned above (I’m drooling already), there will be a bevy of booths and entertainment that celebrate Uchinanchu culture.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 30 and 31, with the bon dance set for Aug. 30 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Parking tip: The festival offers a shuttle from Kapiolani Community College for $2.

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