Top 20 things to do on Big Island July 6-12: Hawaiian music fest, Veg fest, Bon Dance

Listen to this Article
5 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

The Hilo Hawaiian Music Festival tops our Top 20 list of things to do this week, with a lineup of musicians that includes Mark Yamanaka, Ben Kaili, Sonny Lim and Kevin Brown.

But all around the island there is plenty to do, including watching pole dances, taking diving lessons and building up your courage to go on stage at Bring It! Hawai’i at the open mic night in Waimea.

Check out the Top 20 list below. And for a comprehensive list of upcoming events – concerts, shows, entertainment, community events and outdoor/farmers markets – for this week and beyond, click here.

No. 1 – Hilo Hawaiian Music Festival (Hilo, July 8)

The Hilo Hawaiian Music Festival on Saturday features notable acts, including Mark Yamanaka, Ben Kaili, Sonny Lim, Kevin Brown and more. The emcee is Christy Leinaʻala Lassiter.

The festival runs from 12 to 6 p.m. at the Hilo Civic Auditorium. Tickets and T-shirts are available in advance at: For more information, call 808-443-8005. Cost for the event is $8 in advance or $10 at the door.

No. 2 — Revitalize Puna at Billy Kenoi Park Gym (Puna, July 8)

The next Revitalize Puna is on Saturday at the Billy Kenoi (Pāhoa District) Park Gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is free to the public.


The event includes live music, food and keiki activities. It also features updates about important community issues: Puna roads, water & parks; the County of Hawai’i General Plan; Pohoiki Boat Ramp; and the Housing Buyout Program. To learn more, click here.

No. 3 — Big Island Veg Fest at Moʻoheau Bandstand (Hilo, July 8)

The 2nd Annual Big Island VegFest is a free community celebration that highlights local farmers, plant-based food creators, animal rescues and sustainability. It also features live music, cooking demonstrations, speakers, arts and crafts, and keiki-friendly activities.

The goal is to demonstrate the delicious, nutritious, environmental, economic and moral benefits of choosing an organic, local, plant-based lifestyle and to emphasis on the fact that 85 to 90% of the food on the Big Island is imported — and to stress the advantages, and importance, of buying locally and growing your own food. The event is at the Moʻoheau Bandstand in Hilo from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Find out more here.

No. 4 – Hawaiian glam rock opera Pai‘ea at Kahilu Theatre (Waimea, July 8)

Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i High School presents Pai‘ea, a Hawaiian glam rock opera on Saturday at Kahilu Theatre for one performance at 7 p.m.

Presented in Hawaiian, Pai‘ea tells the story of the early life tests and battles of Kamehameha I, the chief who united the Hawaiian Islands and became their king. The opera depicts his birth, his lifting of the sacred Naha stone, and the Battle of Moku’ōhai, which pitted Kamehameha against his cousin Kīwalaʻō, the heir to the kingdom.


Paiʻea will travel to Scotland this summer, where it will be presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the worldʻs largest performing arts festival.

Adult tickets are $20; children under 17 are $10. For tickets, click here. There will be no livestreaming or on-demand viewing of this performance.

No. 5 – Daifukuji Soto Mission’s first Bon Dance (Kealakekua, July 8)

Join the first Daifukuji Soto Mission Bon Dance on Saturday from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at the mission located at 79-7241 Mamalahoa Highway in Kealakekua.

This event celebrating community and honoring ancestors is open to the public and will include dancing, taiko drumming and food. The gift shop will be open. Call 808-322-3524 for questions or click here.

No. 6 – Keiki Gardening Days at Sundari Gardens (Pāhoa, July 11)

Starting July 11, get the keiki off their devices and bring them down to Sundari Gardens for Keiki Gardening Days on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays through July 21. It includes planting seeds, outdoor play, theater and storytelling.


The events run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and cost $30 per day. It is for children 6 to 12. For more information, contact Noa Richard at 786-503-5450 or at [email protected].

No. 7 – Off Da Cuff at Blue Dragon Tavern (Waimea, July 8)

Check out this high energy rock and roll party band that plays all a mix of old school rock & roll featuring music from the 60s, 70s and 80s from Zeppelin to AC/DC.

The band will play on Friday Night at the Blue Dragon Tavern, 61-3616 Kawaihae Road in Waimea. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door (children 12 and under are free). For more information, go to

No. 8 – Standing Acrobatics workshop (Kona, July 8-9)

A two day acrobatic workshop that includes a comprehensive introduction to the basics of standing acrobatics will be held in Kona.

Learn hand to hand, proper progressions and other standing acrobatic skills, and how to effectively communicate and trust their partner. Attendees may need at least 1 year of experience, but all skill levels are welcome. Sessions range from 12:30 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday classes run 10 to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Cost is $75 and up. More information can be found here.

No. 9 – Tanabata Stroll for keiki in Liliʻuokalani Gardens (Hilo, July 8)

Tanabata Stroll is a free children’s event that will be held in Liliʻuokalani Gardens on July 8 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Guests are encouraged to gather at the old sumo ring pavilion near the tea house. The intent is to pass the appreciation of the extensive lantern collection in the garden that were given to the island from sister cities. The lanterns represent the 14 prefectures from where immigrants came to Hawai’i in 1868.

Several kenjin kai will clean their lanterns that morning and will be on hand to talk about their prefectures. Maps will be provided to children who will fill them in after visiting each lantern. Prizes will be given. For more information, text Jane Heit at 808-936-6186.

No. 10 – Bring It! Hawaiʻi open mic night (Waimea, July 7)

Bring-It! is back at Kahilu Theatre on Friday. It is an all-original, uncensored open mic night that highlights the community, creativity and inspiration of the North Hawaiʻi arts scene. 

Monthly performances are held Friday nights in the Mike Luce Studio in Waimea. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are available for $10 at the door. Adults 21 and older are allowed in and beer and wine will be available for purchase (cash only).

No. 11 – ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at UH Hilo’s Performing Arts Center (Hilo, July 7, 8 & 9)

At the 46th annual Shakespeare in the Park, the Hilo Community Players will perform “Much Ado About Nothing” at the front lawn at UH Hilo’s Performing Arts Center on July 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16.

The free comedy is set in mid-1930’s California. It will start at 7:30 p.m. and includes live music from The Loose Fedoras. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chair. Learn more here.

No. 12 – Wild Tails: Pole Hale Instructor’s Showcase (Kona, July 9)

Head to Gertrude’s Jazz Bar to see the Pole Hale instructors for a show on Friday. Doors open at 6 p.m. The show is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at The bar is located at 75-5699 Aliʻi Drive in Kona.

Come dressed up as your favorite animal, wear animal prints or just dress to impress. Seating is first-come-first-serve. Bring money to tip the pole dancers. Special guest performance by Bebe Stepz.

No. 13 –Trivia Night is back at Papaʻaloa Country Store (July 6, Papaʻaloa)

Trivia Night is back on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. at Papa’aloa Country Store and Cafe, 35-2032 Old Mamalahoa Highway in Papaʻaloa.

The event hosted by Dan Lewer is free and guests can enter to win surprise prizes.

No. 14 – Waimea Saturday Market at the Parker School (Waimea, July 7)

The Waimea Saturday Market is from 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Parker School. There will be a wide-range of local vendors to explore.

No. 15 — Free dive session with Hilo HI-Diving (July 12, Hilo)

Hilo HI-Diving is celebrating its fifth year with a special summer program open to all ages and abilities. They have just installed a new diving stand and board at the Kawamoto pool (260 Kalanikoa St. in Hil).

Anyone who is interested can check out the club and receive a free dive session every Wednesday throughout the summer. Text diving coach DJ at 213-952-3173 or email [email protected] to learn more.

No. 16: ‘Jaws’ is playing at Throwback Thursday at Palace Theater (July 6, Hilo)

The 1970s hit “Jaws,” the Steven Spielberg thriller with the killer shark, is playing at the Palace Theater in Hilo for this week’s “Throwback Thursday” movie.

The box office and concessions open at 6:30 p.m. The movie is at 7 p.m. General admission is $10, with seniors, students and veterans paying $9.

No. 17 — Hot Potaytahs playing at dance party special at Palace Theater (July 7, Hilo)

Dance with the Hot Potaytahs on the Palace Theater stage. They play funky classics, rocking covers and piping fresh originals. The band is made up of Yisa Var, Charles Haines, Bill Heideman, Gonzo, Trever Veilleux, Jeff Silberman & Randy Skaggs.

Beer, wine and food is available for purchase. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the music running 7 to 9 p.m. General admission is $15. For more information, click here.

No. 18 – Walk into past with Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (July 7)

No. 18 — Walk into past with Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar (July 7, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park)

Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar as portrayed by Dick Hershberger. Courtesy photo

Walk back to 1912, and meet the founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, at the edge of Kīlauea volcano. Dressed in period costume, Ka‘ū actor-director Dick Hershberger brings the renowned geologist to life.

Jaggar will take you on a short walk to the crater rim behind Volcano House, near his former lab. You’ll learn what motivated Jaggar to dedicate his life to the study of Hawaiian volcanoes, and how his work helps save lives today. Space is limited; pick up your free ticket at the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai the day of the program. The one hour performances begin at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

No. 19 – Kona Skins Marlin Derby (Kona, July 7-9)

The Kona Skins Marlin Derby is part of the Hawai’i Marlin Tournament Series. It takes place at the Hawai’i Big Game Fishing Clubhouse in Kona. The base purse is available each fishing day to the largest marlin weighing 500 pounds or more.

If no one catches a marlin of that size, the day’s purse rolls over and is added to the next day’s purse. The derby will last all weekend with registration beginning on Thursday. The derby will last from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit here to learn more.

No. 20 — Hilo Brew Fest (Hilo, July 8)

The 10th annual Hilo Brew Fest takes place on Saturday, but unless you already have a ticket, don’t go. It’s sold out.

If you want to go next year, be sure to get a ticket early. Read more about the event here.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments