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Thanksgiving in Hawaii

Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving meal – By Ben Franske (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons (CC).

Vacationing during the holidays can often leave families uncertain of how to celebrate the festive occasion while abroad. For those who find themselves spending Thanksgiving Day on the Hawaii Islands, we have compiled a list of different events and dinners on each island available for guests and locals to enjoy.

Oahu: From the glittering North Shore to Waikiki, Oahu has plenty of Thanksgiving Day activities and outings for the family to experience. Start the day off right with a Turkey Trot in Honolulu where attendees can run 10 miles and jumpstart the calorie burning for the afternoon’s feast! Enjoy an outdoor Thanksgiving picnic or pick up your own pre-made Thanksgiving dishes for take-out at the following locations: Hawaii Prince Hotel, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Hotel, Pacific Beach Hotel or Diamond Head Market and Grill. Prices for take-out orders usually cost anywhere from $80 to $150 serving around 4 to 6 people. This can be a great way for groups to enjoy a family-style meal in the privacy of their home, suite or hotel room without having to do any of the preparation. Some restaurants even cook the turkey in an imu, a traditional Hawaiian smoke pit, as well as make stuffing, desserts and side dishes with a distinct Hawaiian flare.

Those in Waikiki can attend the gingerbread village unveiling at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani to witness the Waikiki Holiday Parade on the Friday after Thanksgiving, where there are crafts, foods, and festivities to enjoy. Families can also go the Royal Hawaiian Center’s celebration for hula dancing, Hawaiian music and a stunning Christmas tree lighting. Whether you are on the North Shore or in the capital city of Honolulu, the best way to kick off the holidays is to join thousands as they celebrate the season at the Thanksgiving Weekend Holiday Parade.

Maui: Ever thought about celebrating Thanksgiving on the ocean? Begin your holiday weekend with a cruise. On the Pacific Whale Foundation Thanksgiving Cruise you can feast on all the classic dishes, while enjoying live entertainment at sea.

Aside from the many fine-dining restaurants which will be offering Thanksgiving Day menus, many can also enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at the major hotels. Popular Thanksgiving buffets and dinners can be found at the Grand Wailea Hotel on the southern end of the island. The Sheraton Maui in Lahaina offers an excellent Thanksgiving Day meal.

Kauai: Similar to their Oahu and Maui counterparts, the Grand Hyatt Kauai and the Sheraton Kauai both provide Thanksgiving Day dinners with favorite dishes like roast turkey and stuffing, baked ham, mashed potatoes, as well as salad, appetizer and dessert stations. Many hotels also offer a choice of fish as well as buffets with iced seafood and sushi stations.

Recently the Kauai Community College also hosted a Turkey Roast by using authentic underground imu ovens, where guests could order Thanksgiving turkeys cooked the Hawaiian way. For more details on which local restaurants and cafes will be holding Thanksgiving Day special menus with themed brunches, lunches, dinners or multi-course meals, confirm with your local tourist office or hotel concierge.

Big Island: On such a vast island as this, there are innumerable opportunities where you and your family can enjoy the Thanksgiving feast and festivities together. The purpose of Thanksgiving week is to count your blessings, bond with your family and celebrate as a community. Whether dining in neighborhood imu turkey roasting events, helping to provide canned food for the needy, or gathering for Thanksgiving worship concerts with various faith groups, the Big Island unites as a community to celebrate giving thanks.

For guests who opt for dinner at hotel restaurants, the choices are endless. Those that are renting a private bungalow or condo can also order take-out Thanksgiving meals and serve them up in the comfort of their own living room. Favorite hotel options are available at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in the Water’s Edge Ballroom. Here you can find a multitude of holiday dishes and live entertainment, with tickets ranging from $31 (children) and $79 (adults). The Mauna Lani Fairmont Orchard provides a decadent Thanksgiving Day buffet at $79 for adults and $39 for children. The Merriman’s in Waimea serves Thanksgiving dinner with Hawaiian side dishes and desserts from 4:00 pm to 8:30 pm at $69 for adults and $30 for children. The Waikoloa Beach Marriot Resort & Spa employs Chef Jayson Kanekoa to design an ornate thanksgiving meal infused with other delectable Hawaii-themed dishes, like lilikoi marshmallow covered yams, and macadamia nut and sage stuffing. Tickets are $30 for children and $69 for adults.

Another well-recommended option is to try the Thanksgiving Day buffet at Humpy’s in Kona, where you can pair imported beers with main dishes such as Alaskan snow crab, shrimp, turkey and cranberry sauce, prime rib, or beef. For families who prefer the take-out option for an at-home feast, Daniel’s of Waimea provides a meal with all the sides for 8 people at $199. If you want to go for low-key choices in Kailua-Kona, choose the Thanksgiving menu at Denny’s or the nearby Safeway where you can arrange an all-inclusive takeout order. Choosing a holiday weekend might be one of the best times to travel to Hawaii.


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  • Hawaii's Best 2011
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