Hawaii International Film Festival attracts audiences from all over the globe.

Photo By Hawaii International Film Festival

Films, Kona coffee fest, voluntourism and more

Hawaii Tourism Authority events bring a lot more to year's end than pumpkin pie and shopping
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November and December may bring chilly weather, but this is when events heat up: These two months bring an assortment of film festivals, food and wine events and cultural happenings on every island.

Whether you're traveling interisland for vacation or to visit family, there's lots to do. Check out what's coming up from Experiences of Hawaii, sponsored by Hawaii Tourism Authority. And if you go, don’t forget to use the hashtag #HIexperiences to tag your photos; this will help you easily search for other family-friendly events at the same time. 

HIFF has evolved into a major cinematic event in the Pacific that attracts more than 70,000 film enthusiasts globally. - Photo courtesy HIFF

Hawaii International Film Festival 

What: As the premier cinematic event in the Pacific, Hawaii International Film Festival recognizes new and emerging talent, promotes career development and encourages original collaborations through innovative education programs, and facilitates dynamic cultural exchange through cinema. 

HIFF started in 1981 with seven films from six countries viewed by an audience of 5,000. Today HIFF attracts more than 70,000 film enthusiasts from around the world. Ticket prices vary by film. 

Programmers prepare by viewing more than 1,000 films; they choose an average of 150 documentaries, features and film shorts. Among these are U.S. premieres, world premieres, animation, digital works and experiential films representing social and ethnic issues, as well as first features by new directors. 


When: Nov. 8-18
Where: Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 & IMAX Foyer, Hawaii Theatre and IBM Building


When: Nov. 15-18
Where: Historic Waimea Theater


When: Nov. 29-Dec. 2
Where: Maui Arts & Cultural Center

Hawaii Island 

When: Nov. 29-Dec. 2
Where: Palace Theater

Poipu Food and Wine Festival: Kauai

What: The Poipu Beach Resort Association hosts the 3rd Annual Poipu Food and Wine Festival, celebrating Kauai’s diverse culinary resources and talents while supporting the Culinary Arts Program at Kauai Community College
When: Nov. 7-10
Where: The Shops at Kukuiula (South Shore)
Details: Specific events include:

Market to Menu + Poipu Culinary Market  

When: Nov. 7, 3:30-6 p.m. (traditional pau hana style)
Cost: Free  
Details: During this chef competition, chefs must create a dish utilizing a protein, fresh produce and a mystery ingredient. Judges include chefs Sheldon Sato (Halekulani), Ben Takahashi (The Club at Kukuiula) and Mayor Bernard Carvalho. The emcee is celebrity chef Celeste Rogers, winner of Food Network’s “Chopped.”

Poipu Culinary Market

When: Nov. 7, 3:30-6 p.m. (traditional pau hana style)
Cost: Free
Details: Farmers’ stands will be filled with fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables, coffee, spices, jams and cheeses. Enjoy live island music while you browse.

In the Kitchen

When: Nov. 8, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Classes are $50/person and include a tasting and commemorative gift 
Details: Participate in a hands-on cooking class with some of Poipu’s top chefs in their own restaurants.

Flavors of Poipu and KCC Chef Demonstration

When: Nov. 9, 5:30-8:30 p.m. (pau hana)
Cost: Free, with plates for purchase (proceeds to benefit KCC Culinary Arts Program)
Details: Local delicacies will be served street-food style and attendees can enjoy an outdoor beer and wine garden. Students in the Kauai Community College Culinary Arts Program will present a special culinary demonstration at 5 p.m., where they will prepare local specialties using Kauai-grown ingredients. 

Poipu Wine & Dine

When: Nov. 10
Details: New to the festival this year, this event lets guests enjoy prix fixe menus from participating restaurants on Kauai’s south shore. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the KCC Culinary Arts Program.

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival includes many coffee-related events on Hawaii Island. - Photo courtesy Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival: Hawaii Island

When: Nov. 9-18
Cost: Event ticket prices vary
Details: The 48th Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival promotes Hawaii’s unique culture, diversity and Kona’s coffee heritage. The event includes a firsthand look at the coffee-growing process, tastings and other hands-on cultural events.  

Events include:

Kona Coffee Cultural Art Exhibit 

When: Nov. 9-10 and Nov. 14-17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Donkey Mill Art Center

UCC Kona Coffee Picking & Farm Experience

When: Nov. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: UCC Hawaii Kona Coffee Estate

Kona Historical Society’s Farm Fest 2018

When: Nov. 11, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Kona Coffee Living History Farm 

Kona Coffee Barista Training

When: Nov. 12, 5-9 p.m.
Where: Kona Coffee & Tea Company

Kona Coffee Beer, Wine and Coffee Pairing

When: Nov. 14, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Kona Coffee & Tea Company 

Kona Coffee Latte Art Throwdown

When: Nov. 15, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Kona Coffee & Tea Company

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Hoolaulea

When: Nov. 17, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Makaeo County Pavilion

Flavors of Hanapepe: Kauai

November event: Nov. 23, 6-8:30 p.m.
Where: Friday Art Night in Hanapepe Town 
Details: Flavors of Hanapepe highlights a food producer every month during Friday Art Night. In November, the highlighted food producer is Ono Pops, a manufacturer and wholesaler of organic, gourmet popsicles.

December event: Dec. 7, 6-8:30 p.m.
Where: Friday Art Night in Hanapepe Town
Details: Flavors of Hanapepe highlights a food producer every month during Friday Art Night. In December, the highlighted food producer is Aloha Spice Company, a Hanapepe manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of gourmet salts and rubs. 

Travel2Change Voluntourism: Oahu

What: Travel2Change connects visiting tourists with the local community to create a positive impact on each island. Events include: 

Paddle an Outrigger & Learn a Hawaiian Tradition 

When: Every Tuesday and Thursday in 2018
Where: Waikiki
Cost: $10 cash donation to Lokahi Canoe Club is suggested 
Details: Paddle a Hawaiian outrigger canoe down the Ala Wai Canal into the ocean and enjoy beautiful views of Waikiki, Magic Island, Ala Moana Beach Park and Diamond Head. No drop-ins; you must book via the website. This non-profit program aims to educate and foster opportunities for locals and travelers to learn and engage in the Hawaiian paddling culture with respect to the traditional practice and spirit of aloha.

Sunset Yoga & Food Drive at Magic Island

When: Every Monday in 2018
Where: Magic Island, Ala Moana Beach Park 
Cost: Free (food donation is suggested)
Details: Enjoy a beautiful island sunset while stretching to a unique yoga flow and give back to the community in need. Canned or well-packaged, non-perishable food items will be donated to Hawaii Food Bank. No drop-ins; you must book via the website. 

Walk & Learn About Hawaiian Culture 

When: Nov. 2 and Dec. 7
Where: Historic Mission Houses in Downtown Honolulu
Cost: Ticket price is $33 + tax per person; a portion of the proceeds benefits Travel2Change and other Hawaii charities
Details: Learn about the history and accomplishments of Hawaiian monarchs, see historic Honolulu sites, learn about hookipa (Hawaii-style hospitality), participate in a traditional ceremony honoring ancestors and enjoy a traditional hula performance. Reservations must be booked via the website.