Hula Festival, Hilo
Every year in April, Hilo becomes over run with hula fanatics from around the globe. Some cities honor potatoes, chili, raspberries, tofu, or even bull testicles. Hilo honors hula for a week. The competition pits various halau (hula schools) in a week long celebration in honor of former King Kalakaua. At the end of the competition, the winners are crowned based on a number of criteria and categories. This years televised competition will be held on April 20-22. You will not find a hotel with a free laundry room or boiler room during this time. People come from all over the mainland US and Japan for this. Your best bet is to seek a hostel or try your luck at an inn somewhere. Kona will be booked solid as well.
PHOTO: Miss Aloha Hula 2005, Maile Emily Kau'ilaniona'puaehi'ipoiokeanuenueokeola Francisco. Say that five times fast...
The week after Easter is the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. It is the biggest event in Hilo and this is the time to come for real Hawaiian culture.
In addition to the performances there are all kinds of crafts, exhibits, and food, and the entire city is bathed in Hawaiiana. There are thousands of people who will fill the stadium and tickets go on sale the first week of January. I have often gone to the stadium and found people willing to sell a ticket - no scalpers - always the regular price of the ticket.