Top 20 things to do on the Big Island Aug. 3-9: State canoe championship, 808 Day, ‘Toil and Trouble’ play

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August has arrived and with it plenty of fun events for the whole family. This coming week should be an exciting one, with music and mango festivals, state canoe championship, plenty of outdoor activities and fun for the keiki.

Below is our Top 20 things to do on the Big Island this week. 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 – Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association state championship at Hilo Bay  (Hilo, Aug. 5)

Photo courtesy: Kamehameha Canoe Club in Hilo

On Saturday, the 2023 Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association is holding its state championship on Aug. 5 at Hilo Bay. There will be an opening ceremony at 7 a.m., with a yellow flag for the first race.

The races are hosted by Moku O Hawaiʻi Outrigger Canoe Racing Association. They will begin directly after the opening ceremony. Canoe races are free to the public to watch. Learn more here.

No. 2 – 808 Day Festival at BREW (Kona, Aug. 5)

File photo courtesy: 808 Day Festival

Check out some live music this weekend, including headliners Landon McNamara, Irie Love, Through the Roots at the 808 Day Festival at BREW, opened by the Kona Brewing Company, at 74-5617 Pawai Place in Kailua-Kona.

Doors open at 4 p.m.. Tickets are $40, with 100% of the profits from ticket sales and beer sales being donated to the BIG Dreams Foundation Learn more here.


Also in the lineup is Kona musicians be Van Meter and Makana Keana’aina, who won the 808 Day contest for local talent to perform by garnering the popular vote. To read their story, click here.

No. 3 – 13th Annual Mango Festival at Hale Halawai Beach Park (Kona, Aug. 5)

Big Island Now stock photo.

One thing we love in Hawai’i is our mangos! And what better way to celebrate this yummy fruit than at the 13th Annual Mango Festival at Hale Halawai Beach Park on Ali’i Drive in downtown Kona.

The family-friendly event with local arts & crafts and live music by Dr. Tim’s Medicine Band, Kenny Tagavilla and Maka runs from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. and is zero-waste.

No. 4 – Hawai’i Island Humane Society hosting puppy adoption event at Petco (Hilo, Aug. 5)

Humane society officials note that kittens can become pregnant as young as 4 months old, and puppies at 5 months. Courtesy photo.

The Hawaiʻi Humane Society is hosting a special Puppy Adoption Event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Petco in Hilo.

There are many healthy, cute and sweet puppies waiting to be adopted for $150. This adoption fee includes includes spay and neuter, two puppy vaccines, microchip and up to date on flea and tick prevention and deworming. Puppies will be ready to go home on the same day as the event, unless otherwise noted. Learn more here.

No. 5 – “Abstract Only!” exhibit opens at Wailoa Center (Hilo, Aug. 4)

Image from the Wailoa Center’s website.

The 13th Annual Juried Exhibition titled “Abstract Only!” opens on Friday at the Wailoa Center in Hilo. The popular exhibit this year features 75 abstract works by 63 artists. Works were selected by juror, Ming Li Jiang, whose works are featured in the Fountain Gallery downstairs. 

Indulge and explore various textures, colors, compositions and line work in this celebration of abstract art. Admission is free and the show will last until Sept. 14. Learn more here.

No. 6 – Toil and Trouble at the Aloha Theatre (Kona, Aug. 4)

Lauren Gunderson’s “Toil and Trouble” is playing at Aloha Theatre.

Lauren Gunderson’s “Toil and Trouble” is a play that tells the tale of underemployed friends Adam, Matt and Beth who are desperate to beat the recession any way they can — like combining forces to take over a small island in South America.

But when a fortune cookie tells Matt that he will rule and Beth gets a little too handy with a dagger, plans go awry. This hilarious adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” pits friend against friend, ambition against fate, pet-sitting against miniature vicuna mogul-dom.

The 90-minute play with no admission opens on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Aloha Theatre in Kona. Tickets are $25 and available at Concessions, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase.

No. 7 – Salt, formerly Lucky Tongue, performs at Hilton Waikōloa Kingsland Resort (Waikōloa, Aug. 6 & 9)


Rock band Salt, which just changed its name from Lucky Tongue, will play at the Hilton Waikōloa Kingsland Resort on Sunday and Wednesday. Both start at 4 p.m. The band formed in 2000 and has played more than 1,600 shows around the world.

They play revered songs that are not often heard or experienced live, a welcoming shift from the traditional cover band song selection. Learn more here.

No. 8 – Hilo Town Market in downtown  (Hilo, Aug. 4)

File photo Hilo Town Market

The Hilo Town Market on Friday nights is always a happening time. The festivities kick off at 5 p.m. in downtown Hilo near the old Hilo Shark’s Coffee at 69 Waianuenue Ave. and last until 9 p.m.

The Average Joes Band will be performing, and there will be a variety of craft vendors, jewelry and specialty items for sale, artists and, of course, food. The market is free entrance for all ages. Learn more here.

No. 9 – Black Sand’s Community Garden Keiki Event (Pāhoa, Aug. 5)

Image from Malama O Puna Facebook page.

Need a place to take the keiki to be entertained this weekend? Head on down to the Black Sand Beach for a special gardening event. Attendees will get to plant luffa (in the pumpkin, squash and gourd family) and pineapples. Attendees also will learn how to identify beneficial insects.

There will be the opportunity to revisit the community’s ipu bottle gourds and talk about plastic alternatives in the garden. The event will take place from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday at 12-4337 Hilo St. in Pāhoa. Rain or shine! Click here for directions.

No. 10 – Lip Service performs at Korner Pocket (Kona, Aug. 4)

Lip Service is your quintessential rock cover band on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Playing a variety of styles across six decades of rock and roll, Lip Service brings a highly curated setlist and features guitarist Sean Allen, bassist Jason Stith, drummer Joe O’Loughlin and singer Gwyn Griffiths.

Lip Service will perform at the Korner Pocket Sports Bar & Grill in Kona on Saturday at 6 p.m. Learn more here.

No. 11 – First Friday Art Walk featuring Heather Christianson (Hilo, Aug. 4)

The First Friday Art Walk for August will feature Heather Christianson, a local artist who expresses the quiet and mysterious beauty of Hawai’i culture and the people of her island home through detailed drawings, paintings and jewelry.

The free walk on Friday begins at 6 p.m. and is located beyond the bar at Hilo Town Tavern’s Exhibit Gallery. Learn more here.

No. 12– Stewardship at the Summit – Kīlauea Visitor Center (Volcano, Aug. 5)

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is hosting a Stewardship at the Summit event on Saturday from 8:45 a.m. to noon. You can volunteer to help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing in the park.

Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at the Kīlauea Visitor Center. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. Parental or guardian accompaniment or written consent is required for people under the age of 18. For more information, email Paul and Jane at [email protected] or click here.

No. 13 – Eagles Club Steak & Fish Fry fundraiser (Keaʻau, Aug. 4)

The Eagles Club in Kea’au is holding a good ol’ fashion steak and fish fry on Friday at 6 p.m. to benefit local charities. For $15 you get steak or fish, veggie salad, choice of baked potatoes or rice, and a variety of dessert. There also will be takeout available. Entertainment will be led by George Lovato.

Seating is limited to 80 people and it’ll be a first come, first serve basis. The event is at 16-111 Opukahala St. in Kea’au. No reservations.

No. 14– “Every Body Is All We Have” exhibit at East Hawai’i Cultural Center (Hilo, Aug. 3-26)

A special exhibit “Every Body Is All We Have” is now at the East Hawaiʻi Cultural Center.

A free special exhibit “Every Body Is All We Have” features works from Reem Bassous, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Katarzyna Kozyra, Sue Schroeder, Jennifer Scully-Thurston and Maga Ćwieluch. It is at the East Hawai’i Cultural Center in downtown Hilo through Aug. 26, and can be seen from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The show presents artists’ experiences of the body, sometimes personal, sometimes alien: syntheses of self and other, of mind and body, of matter and thought – dualism simultaneously belied and celebrated. The works explore the concept of emotions and their connection to our bodies, as well as the societal and other pressures placed on the body. Learn more here.

No. 15 – Family board games at North Kohala library (Kohala, Aug. 9)

Head to the North Kohala library on Aug. 9, and bring your best game face to play some classic board games as part of this free event. Games will be available at the library and the event is perfect for children and adults.

The games run from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Learn more here.

No. 16– Holy Ghost Feast Celebration and Bazaar (Honoka’a, Aug. 6)

Image from Google.

The the Our Lady of Lourdes Church, a bazaar will be held with baked goods, ethnic concessions, plants, fresh malasadas, games, religious articles, produce, thirst quenchers, entertainers, live auction of “Charola” and other great items.

The event is open to all and begins on Sunday after the morning mass and lasts until 3 p.m. The church is located at 45-5028 Plumeria St. in Honoka’a. Call 808-775-9591 for more information.

No. 17 – Big Island Social Dance Club at Hale Hana (Kona, ongoing)

Big Island Social Dance Club Facebook

Ready to cut a rug this week? Check out the Big Island Social Dance Club’s dance classes starting at $15 at Hale Hana, 74-5583 Luhia St. Suite A-1 in the Kona Industrial area. There are lessons in all kinds of dancing, including West Coast swing, Night Club Two Step, Salsa, Cha Cha, and more.

For a schedule of classes, click here.

No. 18 – Community dinner and a movie at Creative Energy Lab (Honoka’a, Aug. 8)

Family night, with tacos and a movie will take place at the Creative Energy Lab at the Haina Sugar Mill on Tuesday.

From 4 to 6 p.m., there will be “keiki time” and a movie, followed by a PG-13/R rated movie showing from 7-10 p.m. Guests are encouraged to send in their movie ideas to Creative Energy Lab.

Make sure to bring your own chair, blankets, tarp, pillows, futons, for cozy seating and head lamps, lanterns, flashlights or no spill candles for lighting. The event is free, but donations of chairs, tables, as well as strings of lights to light the stairway, are welcomed. A $3 donation per taco is asked, but nobody will be denied due to lack of funds. The Creative Energy Lab is at 45-163 Kia Manu Rd.

No. 19 – John Keawe performs at Blue Dragon Tavern (Kawaihae, Aug. 6)

John Keawe

John Keawe is a Grammy and multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winning slack-key (Kiho`alu) guitarist, composer and recording artist. He’ll be performing live at the Blue Dragon Tavern on Sunday, with doors opening at 5 p.m. The show will run 6 to 9 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the door. You can purchase the tickets here. til 9 p.m.

No. 20 – 61st Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (Kona, Aug. 5-13)

The 61st Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, a five-day event that runs over the period of Aug. 5-13, will be held off the coast of Kona.

The tournament is the second oldest big game sport fishing event in the world. It is built on prestige, trophies and strict International Game Fish Association rules for world records and does not include cash prizes. While it’s too late to enter, make sure to keep an eye out from shore to see all the action. Learn more here.

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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