Top 20 things to do on the Big Island July 20-26: Poker Run, Cultural Fest, Tiger Fun Day

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Whether you’re looking for Iive music, want to cruise around the island, try your hand at lady luck, experience culture or celebrate Bengal tigersʻ birthdays at the zoo, we have all the information in this week’s Top 20 things to do on the Big Island.

And for a comprehensive list of upcoming events – concerts, shows, entertainment, community gatherings and outdoor/farmers markets – for this week and beyond, click here.

No. 1 – 4th Annual Poker Run (Kona, July 23)

Poker Run

On Sunday, car and motorcycle enthusiastson the Big Island can participate in the 4th Annual Poker Run. The first leg of the Kona run will take place at 8 a.m. at the Kona Auto Center, with stops in areas such as Queen’s Marketplace in Waikōlo and Old Kona Airport. A Hilo leg begins at 8 a.m. at Kama’aina Motors.

Proceeds from the Poker Run will benefit the Hawai’i Community College Automotive Program and John Self, an employee of L.K. Motors who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Register online here.

At each stop, participants can purchase cards for $10 and at the end of the run, the top 3 hands will win a cash prize. There also will be bonus prizes with winners being announced around 3 p.m. at the Kona Auto Center. Prizes range from $500 for highest hand, $300 for second best and $200 for third.

No. 2 Tiger Fun Day at Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo (Hilo, July 22)

The Department of Parks and Recreation, in conjunction with Friends of the Pana’ewa Zoo, is hosting a Tiger Fun Day fundraiser on Saturday from 9:30 am to 2 p.m. at the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens in Hilo.


Tiger Fun Day is the annual birthday celebration for the zoo’s two Bengal tigers, Tzatziki and Sriracha, who both turn 8. They will get special birthday gifts and treats. 

Expect activities, educational experiences and to see the tigers up close and personal. Proceeds assist the Friends of the Pana‘ewa Zoo, a non-profit entity dedicated to zoo facility improvements, fabricating new animal enclosures and purchasing animal enrichment items. Admission is free. Donations are welcome. Learn more here

No. 3 – Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s 39th Annual Cultural Festival (Kahuku, July 22)

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is hosting a lineup of local musicians, hula hālau, Hawaiian games and crafts plus local exhibitors and vendors at its 39th annual Cultural Festival happening in Kahuku on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s free!

Musical acts include Kenneth Makuakāne, Russell Mauga and Da Kahuku Mauka Boyz, the Kīpapa Sisters and Keʻaīwa. Hula by Hālau o Leionalani and LoriLei’s Hula Studio. Park Ranger Kekoa Rosehill will emcee. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase or pack a picnic.

No. 4 – Elele Tiana and Kelly Hyde each play at Pāpaʻaloa Country Store and Cafe (Pāpaʻaloa, July 20 & 22)

For folks over on the Hamakua Coast, Pāpaʻaloa Country Store and Cafe has been hosting live musicians and on Thursday it’s Elele Tiana and on Saturday it’s Kelly Hyde. She shows are free each night, running from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.


Grammy nominated Elele Tiana performs progressive tropical island vibe style music. Tiana recently returned from touring the U.S. mainland. Here’s her song “Freedom.” 

Hyde is known for her clever, uplifting and comical lyrics that bringing awareness and at the same time make light of the human situation. Her music covers an array of folk, island, singer-songwriter and her own special flavor.

Often performing as a solo artist, Kelly is occasionally accompanied by the cajon, and bass guitar. She has opened for Nahko and Medicine for the People, Tubby Love and Amber Lily, Dustin Thomas, Paula Fuga and Pato Banton. You can find out more information here.

No. 5 – Dinner and the Stars at Lili’uokalani Gardens (Hilo, July 21)

From 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., bring the little ones to Lili’uokalani Gardens in Hilo and enjoy a dinner, picnic with stargazing, kilo observation, storytelling and telescope viewing as part of the 2023 Kokua Exchange ReCharge!

Noble Superfoods will be bringing microgreens and OoLaLa sprouted lentil product to exchange. The event is free.

No. 6 – Keiki Market at Gam3Escape (Hilo, July 22)


From 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., bring the keiki to downtown Hilo for a free family-friendly day complete with keiki vendors, products and activities, to learn business and life skills.

Hosted by Gam3Escape at 305 Wailuku Drive, Suite 7 in Hilo, there will be a lucky drawing every 15 minutes. Free entry from outside on the left side of the building.

No. 7 – Honu Paint Party at Tia Starr Studios (Kona, July 22)

Looking for a creative release this weekend? Why not try a honu paint party? Create turtles and engage your inner creativity with step-by-step instructions.

Learn stippling and building texture and details during this paint party that only happens once a year. Register with $55 to Tia Starr studios on Venmo or PayPal or contact Tia Starr Studios at 415-246-4082 for questions. Painting will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday and last about three hours.

No. 8 – Adolescents at Gertrude’s Jazz Bar (Kona, July 22)

American punk rock band Adolescents will be playing at Gertrude’s Jazz Bar on Saturday. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 at the door. Learn more here.

The Adolescents formed in Fullerton, Calif. in 1980. They were part of the hardcore punk movement in southern California in the early 1980s, and were one of the main punk acts to emerge from Orange County, along with their peers in Agent Orange and Social Distortion.

No. 9 – Singing in the Rain (Hilo, July 20)

Head to the historic Hilo Palace Theater to watch Singing in the Rain for Throwback Thursday movie night at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The romance comedy starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor is $10 general admission. Tickets are $9 for senior citizens, students and veterans. Learn more here.

No. 10 – Free Community Day at Hawaiʻi Keiki Museum (Kona, July 21)

On Friday you can bring your keiki to a special community day with free admission at the Hawai’i Keiki Museum in the Kona International Market, Building D, 74-5533 Luhia St. in Kona. It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Hawai’i Keiki Museum connects children to Hawai’i Island through hands-on exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) that is all around us using open ended play experiences. Learn more by visiting

No. 11 – Rummage Sale to End Alzheimer’s Disease with Life Care Center of Hilo (Hilo, July 22)

Life Care Center of Hilo will be hosting a family-friendly fundraiser to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. Come down on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be educational booths, food trucks and a big rummage sale. If you have questions call 808-959-9151 or visit here.

No. 12 – Johnny Shot Band at Blue Dragon Tavern (Kawaihae, July 22)

If you’re on the northwest side of the island this weekend, check out Johnny Shot this live music band that includes a mix of high-energy rock & roll from 5:50 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the door. Children 12 and under are free. Purchase tickets at

No. 13 – Waimea Town Market with live music and local food (Waimea, July 22)

Bring the family out for the friendly and fun Saturday at the Waimea Town Market where Akaka Falls Farms is offering free tasty samples goodie samples from 7:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. Learn more here.

Try an assortment of passion fruit and lilikoi jams, Hawaiian chocolate coffee butters and 2021 award-winning calamondin marmalade.

No. 14 – Body & Soul at Lava Lounge (Volcano, July 22)

Dance the night away in Volcano during the Body & Soul music show from 6 to 9 p.m. Cost for entry is $10.

At the Lava Lounge, located at the Kīlauea Military Camp, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the volcano while rocking out to the band, with members: Bruce Miyashiro, Doug Espejo, Tim Desilva, Bruce David and Sheri Fox. 

No. 15 – Food Truck Fridays at W. M. Keck Observatory Headquarters (Waimea, July 21)

On Friday, from 4-8 p.m. in Waimea, you can enjoy some of your favorite local foods during the Waimea Family Food Truck Friday event at the W. M. Keck Observatory Headquarters, across from Queen’s North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital.

Just don’t forget your umbrella, and if you and your family would like to camp out or hang out during the event, bring blankets or chairs. There will be free live entertainment and keiki activities. This is an alcohol free event.

No. 16 – Big Island Invasive Species Committee: Little Fire Ant Detection & Control (Hilo, July 22)

Little Fire Ants.

On Saturday, at 10 a.m. you can hear from Jade Miyashiro from Big Island Invasive Species Committee explain how to eradicate little fire ants from your property during a presentation at the Hilo Public Library.

The little fire ants are listed among the world’s 100 worst invasive species. They are easily transported on building materials and plant materials. This free event will walk you through what you can do about them. Learn more here.

No. 17 – Asteroid City at Palace Theater (Hilo, July 21-23)

Asteroid City

Starring Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hanks, Asteroid City, rated PG-13, will play Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Hilo’s Historic Palace Theater, located on 38 Haili St. General admission for this comedy, drama, romance is $10 and $9 for seniors, students or those with Military ID.

No. 18 – ’80s Dance Party at Soil to Soul (Hilo, July 22)

Get ready for some good ‘ole adult fun at this ’80s Dance Party at smoothie and coffee bar Soil to Soul, located at 301 Keawe St. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. The dance goes from 8 to 11 p.m.

Soil and Soul uses fresh local fruits and vegetables for the food it prepares and regularly provides entertainment or educational events in its lounge.

No. 19 – Island Stories: Endemic and Exotic with Aunty Nyla at the Kailua-Kona Public Library (Kailua-Kona, July 22)

Storyteller, actress and voice-over talent, Aunty Nyla, will be at Kailua-Kona Public Library, located at 75-138 Hualalai Rd., for her Island Stories talk story from 10 to 10:45 a.m. The program is free and suitable for all ages. Aunty Nyla Fujii-Babb has taught storytelling and shared stories with all ages from native Hawaiian elders to preschoolers statewide.

No. 20 Nothing

Itʻs been a long week and you are ready to hang at home and relax.

Editorʻs Note: You can send inquiries or event listings with attached photographs about Big Island entertainment, arts and community events to [email protected]To add events directly to the Big Island Events Calendar, click here.

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