Events and Festivals

Kauai Marathon

Whether it’s for the challenge, the enjoyment, or the competition, if you are going to be on-island during early September I hope to see you at the starting line of the Kauai Marathon.

“But I’m not a runner, I won’t even keep up”

I volunteered during the 2012 Kauai Marathon and I’ve seen runners ranging from 15 to 80+ years old, there’s mothers pushing their baby strollers, I’ve even seen someone in a wheelchair enter the race. Granted, there was someone pushing him as well, but the bottom line is that it’s about the experience more than anything else. Since the event’s inception in 2009, FlipKey by Traveladvisor gave the Kauai Marathon the distinction as one of the top races to travel for in 2014, Runner’s World listed it in it’s 2015 top 10 bucket list destinations for half marathons, and it was also featured in the 2015 publication of Women’s Running.

The Kauai Marathon is held in Poipu and has two courses: the 26-mile full marathon and the 13-mile half-marathon. Race begins at six in the morning. Expect over two thousand participants so get there early to avoid road closure, as well as an ample amount of time to take all those pre-race selfies. Throughout the course you will have aid stations: 22 for the full and 9 for the half. So, yes you will get through this. During the run you will witness things like hula and taiko drumming, a little motivational boost for you, but remember you have the encouragement of the entire community to push you.

Here’s a challenge: The fastest full marathon time is 2:23:19 and the fastest half marathon time is 1:06:47. Think you can beat it?

Excuse my English, but since you’ll be on Kauai…

“So what, you like run or not?”

Cue intro music

“A one, two, three and four…five, six, seven and eight”

“Kick, slide, turn, transition…ripple, peel out, point, and pose”

To the dance crazed, the songbirds, and the art insomniacs, it’s time to get familiar with Kauai’s annual KUGA (pronounced as cooguh) Love Life Creative Festival. Although, it’s more than a day of entertainment, the festival has a greater underlying significance. The event was created to project a positive atmosphere for Kauai’s youth; to create a drug and suicide-free culture in Hawaii through creative expression. As a result, the festival was launched in 2009.

KUGA, also known as Kauai Underground Artists, uses multiple outlets to share their message of positivity: dance, music, visual art, fashion, and, of course, food, to, you know, fuel the creativity. The event takes place at the Kauai Community College with festival hours from 4pm-9pm and the all-styles showcase from 5pm-7:30pm. The festival admission is free to all, but the show, which will be in the Performing Arts Theatre, will require you to purchase a ticket to enter. Tickets will be sold in advance at the following locations: KUGA studio and Aloha Exchange, both in Kalaheo, Ha Coffee Bar in Lihue, and Kauai Juice Company in Kilauea. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, but if you want to secure a seat I suggest you plan accordingly.

Make sure to check back on our events calendar and save the date!

I give kudos to KUGA for taking on a serious issue in the community and putting in the work to bring change. We hope to see you there, whether it’s for the fun and good vibes or to help support their message of positivity. It’s about time to dust off those dancing shoes.

“DJ, drop the beat…”

“Boots and cats and boots and cats and boots and cats…”

Kauai Rodeos

He wahi lio Lehua kou inoa l
Hanohano wale oe Hawaii l
E like kou holo ana me ka io l
Ke kolo, ke kuli, ke kui kolo iho oe
Auhea wale oe te wahine holo lio
Pua nani ao Hawaii l
Aloha i ka Hawaiian cowboy

You are a fine horse, Lehua is your name
Magnificent one of Hawaii
Your ride is smooth like the bonefish
You crouch, work the knees, and you post
Listen you, oh horsewoman
Beautiful blossom of Hawaii
The love of the Hawaiian cowboy


It may come as a surprise that beyond the image of sunny beaches and mountaintop hikes, that the “cowboy culture,” as some may use to describe it, has a strong presence in Hawaiian history; it continues to be a prominent lifestyle here on the islands. For visitors that want to delve into more of the country living side of Kauai, Come checkout the annual rodeos!

“I reckon you’ll enjoy it”

Alright, a little too wild west there.

So, what can you look forward to? The two biggest rodeos on Kauai are The Koloa Plantation Days Rodeo and the Waimea Round Up Rodeo

The Koloa Plantation Days Rodeo is hosted by CJM Stables and is part of the celebration of the good o’ days of the sugar plantation era. As mentioned on their site, the rodeo includes Hawaiian classic events such as poo wai u – which is an event simulating wild cattle of the old Paniolo days, double mugging, along with team roping, women’s barrel racing, and wahine steer riding. Just so you know, Paniolo translates to “Hawaiian cowboy.” See, now you can add that to your vocabulary list under “mahalo” and “aloha.”

The Waimea Round Up Rodeo is the largest traditional rodeo in all of the Hawaiian Islands and helps celebrate the history and community of Waimea. The rodeo takes place at the Friendship Do Ranch, right between that stretch from Waimea to Kekaha. You can expect very much of the same type of events but the fun extends into two days.

“Well then, to all ya cowboys and cowgirls, for more info ya’ll stay updated with our events calendar ya hear?”


“Now, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you, but I can run like the wind blows. From that day on, if I was going somewhere, I was RUUHH-NAYING.”

“Did you hear Jeh-nay? I said, ruuhh-naying”

And running we did on a fine Saturday morning in Koloa. The 5k, 10k, and half-marathon gave us early birds a good morning jumpstart for the day. This special event is called the Koloa Sugar Mill Run. So, if you happen to of missed the Kauai Marathon this year or looking to notch another long distance run to your list, this one is surely worth doing. Unlike what it’s name implies you won’t be going through any historical sugar plantation property. See, that’s what I initially thought, which would’ve made for an interesting course, for sure. Instead, the run stretches down the bypass road, Ala Kinoiki, and along Poipu road, then back up to the starting line. It’s not extremely strenuous, though there are some winding hills that provide a bit of a challenge. Overall it’s relatively flat much of the way, which makes this run great for beginners and families, especially with the 5k and 10k options.

The run is followed by a breakfast, which is paid for upon registration. All runners receive a dri-fit active t-shirt in their race packet and half-marathoners receive that in addition to a medal for their participation, regardless of the place they finish in. It’s not only a fun activity, but also a nice opportunity to challenge yourself. If you’re in it for the competition let me tell you, the old folks leave the fun and games back home with the grandchildren. Don’t be surprised to see grandma and grandma keeping up with the group.

“I’ll get em’ next time”


Fun fact: in 1986, Hawaii made outrigger canoe paddling its official team sport.

You want to know another fun fact? The official state fish of Hawaii is called Humuhumunukunukuapua`a. It helps if you bob up and down when you pronounce each syllable.

Now, what do both of these have in common for the purpose of this article? Nothing. But, visitors always get a good laugh when introduced to our state fish. I’m really here to talk to you kind folks about canoe racing and a major annual racing event held on Kauai is called the Tahiti Fête.

The Race is hosted by the Hanalei Canoe Club and takes place at the Hanalei Pier in the North Shore. Aside from being a competition, it is also a community event so families are absolutely welcome to this event.  Canoe rides, food, craft booths, music, and kids’ events are provided for spectators and participants. If you want to join in on the racing, then by all means…

“Paddle if you like paddle”

You can either put together your own crew or the Hanalei Canoe Club will help find you crew members. The race format is a ¼ mile 6-man outrigger canoe regatta. A regatta means a series of boat races.

Three divisions: men, women, and mixed.

Three categories: novice B (anyone who has never paddled before), novice A (anyone who has paddled in this event for 1-3 years), open (anyone who has paddled competitively within the last two years, or is currently paddling with a canoe club, and build-a-boat (any age and experience level, no restrictions, $25 a seat and the canoe club will put together your crew.

Pricing goes as follows: $125/crew, $25/individual, $10/canoe ride, and $5 for the kids’ event

I hope your shoulders and your back are up to it. You can watch, but do you really want to just watch? Come on, you’re here in Hawaii, might as well, right? Life advice right here, there’s an expression for it…

“When in Rome…”