Top 20 things to do on Big Island Sept. 7-13: 24th annual Queen Lili‘uokalani Festival; Big Island Chocolate Festival Dip, Sip and Paint; Devin Saltiban meet and greet; and more

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Whether it’s celebrating Queen Lili‘uokalani’s birthday with a festival in the Hilo park that shares her name; getting an autograph from 2023 Hilo High grad Devin Saltiban, who was picked by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2023 Major League Baseball draft; watching pickleball matches to support Maui wildfire relief efforts; or supporting your favorite contestant in the next round of Hilo Idol, once again, there is plenty to do on the Big Island during the next week.

There’s also a silent disco beach cleanup, more live music at venues around the island, chocolate and painting, movies, informational presentations about subjects such as invasive species and poi making and a whole lot more.

Check out our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for Sept. 7-13.

No. 1 — 24th annual Queen Lili‘uokalani Festival (Hilo, Sept. 9)

Image courtesy of Hawai‘i County

The Big Island is invited to celebrate the Queen’s birthday on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lili‘uokalani Gardens, located on Banyan Drive in Hilo, and pay tribute to the historical significance of the park during this annual festival that will feature music, hula, arts, crafts, food, demonstrations, children’s games and cultural activities.

Adding to the day’s festivities, the Grand Naniloa Hotel, just down the street at 93 Banyan Drive, will host events starting at 10 a.m., including live entertainment, hula and cultural displays.

For more information, call the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation Culture and Education Division at 808-961-8706.

No. 2 — Big Island Chocolate Festival Dip, Sip and Paint (Kailua-Kona, Sept. 9)

Courtesy image

Enjoy chocolate, pupus, wine and a view while you paint at Island Lava Java on Saturday, located in Building 1 at 75-5801 Ali‘i Drive. The cost is $65 and there are two sessions available from 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

Each session includes painting supplies and instruction, unlimited wine or two mocktails, pūpū by Lava Java and treats to dip in a chocolate fountain sponsored by the Cocoa Outlet. Proceeds benefit the Kona Cacao Association and its support of farmer education at the 2024 Big Island Chocolate Festival. For more information, call 808-201-2000.

No. 3 — Devin Saltiban meet and greet (Hilo, Sept. 8)

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Devin “Salti” Saltiban, a 2023 graduate of Hilo High School, was selected in July by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft as the 98th overall pick. Saltiban will be in the multipurpose room at Hilo YMCA on Friday at 5 p.m. for an autograph/photograph meet and greet event. Guests are invited to bring items to be autographed, including baseballs, gloves, bats, etc.

The YMCA is located at 300 W. Lanikaula St. For more information, call 808-935-3721 or email to [email protected].

No. 4 — 24-4-23 Pickleball Tournament fundraiser for Maui wildfire relief (Kailua-Kona, Sept. 9)

Courtesy image

This special 24-player round-robin tournament fundraiser for Maui wildfire relief efforts on Saturday, hosted by the Big Island Rogue Pickleball Hui of Keauhou, begins at 8 a.m. at Holua Racquet and Paddle, located at 78-7190 Kaleiopapa St., and is free for all to watch.


Each player will play 23 full games throughout the day. Each player will gather sponsors, who will donate to the Maui charity of their choice, with 100% of all donations going directly to those organizations. To sponsor a player or choose a charity to support, click here. The total raised will be announced during Saturday’s tournament.

For more information, visit the pickleball group’s website.

No. 5 — Brother Noland and special guest Ryan Hooley live (Kawaihae, Sept. 10)

Image from Facebook

Come to the Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, on Sunday for a special night of storytelling and Hawaiian music. Doors open at 5 p.m., with the show starting at 5:30 p.m.

Born and raised in Kalihi-Palama on Oʻahu, Brother Noland is an impactful player in Hawaiʻi’s music scene and one of the state’s most respected artists. Seeing him live on stage, audiences step into an experience and embark on a journey to what he calls “Crazy Aloha Music.” He proudly carries with him the values of aloha through his music and his life.

Tickets are $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online.

No. 6 — Hilo Idol Quarterfinals Round 3 (Hilo, Sept. 13)

Hilo Idol Week 1 quarterfinal winner Terran “TJ” Kaleiwahea Jr. smiles as he gets a standing ovation from the judges following his performance Aug. 30 at Hilo Town Market. (File photo by Nathan Christophel/Big Island Now)

Each quarterfinal round of the Big Island’s ultimate singing competition in the showroom at Hilo Town Market, located at 69 Waiānuenue Ave. in Hilo, features up to 10 contestants seeking three top spots to move on to the semi-finals on Oct. 18. This coming week’s round will take place Wednesday. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Cost to attend is just $10 and it is BYOB (bring your own beverage).

You can also watch the show streamed live at For more information, check out the Levitation Entertainment Instagram page.

Winners of Round 1 were Terran “TJ” Kaleiwahea Jr., Benjamin McMillan and Raina Wunderlich. Auditions for the quarterfinal competitions continue through Sept. 26.

No. 7 — Invasive Wildlife of the Pacific Islands (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Sept. 12)

National Park Service photo by J. Robinson

Steven Hess, research biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reveals how reversing the devastating effects of alien species, including rodents, carnivores, ungulates, reptiles and diseases, has proven to be difficult in Hawai‘i, but limited successes have resulted in the dramatic recovery of native species.

This presentation takes place Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium, located at 1 Crater Rim Drive. It is part of the park’s ongoing After Dark in the Park programs. Free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 8 — Whatever, Heather Maui benefit concert (Kawaihae, Sept. 9)

Image from Facebook

Honoka’a-based Whatever, Heather returns to the Blue Dragon Tavern on Saturday, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, with a straight-up rock show full of music ranging from AC/DC and the Foo Fighters to Evanescence and The Cranberries.

Proceeds will go to help families affected by the Maui wildfires.

Doors at 5:30 p.m., with the show from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance; and $13 at the door. To purchase tickets, click here.

No. 9 — Make Poi the Traditional Way (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Sept. 13)

Courtesy of the National Park Service

Learn how Hawaiians make poi from the root of the kalo plant on Wednesday. From 10 a.m. to noon, Ranger Keoni will share his knowledge of kuʻi kalo and ʻohana connections to Waipiʻo Valley, where kalo thrives and is farmed by local families.

This event, at the ʻŌhiʻa Wing across from Crater Rim Drive from Kīlauea Visitor Center, is part of the park’s ongoing ‘Ike Hana Noʻeau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural programs. Free, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 10 — Amy Hānaialiʻi live in concert (Waimea, Sept. 9)

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Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, is excited to kick off its 2023-24 season with Hawaiʻi’s top-selling female vocalist of all time Amy Hānaialiʻi performing live and in-person, on Saturday, paying tribute to her award-winning song “Pālehua,” one of Hawai‘i’s most famous songs and one of the most danced-to songs among hula hālau around the globe.

The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available. For more information, click here.

No. 11 — “tick, tick … BOOM!” (Waimea, Sept. 12)

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Based on the autobiographical musical by playwright Jonathan Larson, “tick, tick … BOOM!” is the story of an aspiring composer in New York City navigating the pressures of love and friendship, who worries he made the wrong career choice.

Part of the Hawai‘i County Parks and Recreation Elderly Activities Division Kūpuna Movies. For anyone age 55 and older. No reservations are necessary, and the cost is $5 cash at the door. The movie starts at 12:30 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road.

No. 12 — “The Goonies” (Hilo, Sept. 7)

Image from Facebook

Join the historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St., for this week’s Throwback Thursday movie, the 1985 classic that tells the story of two brothers, desperate to find a way to keep their home, who find a treasure map and bring some friends along to find it. In the process, the friends must get away from a group of bad guys also looking for the treasure.

Rated PG. Starring Sean Astin, Josh Brolin and Jeff Cohen.

Doors, box office and concessions open at 6:30 p.m., with the movie starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, and $9 for seniors, students and veterans. To purchase tickets in advance, click here.

No. 13 — Ms. Demeanor & the Felons live (Kawaihae, Sept. 7)

Image from Facebook

The Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, hosts this band that keeps it rockin’ with covers of soul and R&B classics sure to keep the dance floor packed all night long!

Doors open at 5 p.m. tonight, with the show from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door. To purchase tickets, click here.

No. 14 — Battle of the Islands (Waimea, Sept. 9)

Image from Facebook

Big Island Roller Derby, Pacific Roller Derby and Garden Island Renegade Rollerz will face off in this year’s Battle of the Islands roller derby event on Saturday at Waimea District Park, located at 67-1315 Ala ʻŌhiʻa Road.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for this free family-friendly event co-hosted by Big Island Roller Derby and Garden Isle Renegade Rollerz, with three games to follow at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

No. 15 — Silent Disco Beach Cleanup (Kailua-Kona, Sept. 10)

Image from Facebook

Come join Clean Rewards and Exploring Within on Sunday from 9 a.m. until pau for this event, which will also include a community potluck and dance experience, at Kohanaiki Beach Park, also known as Pine Trees Surf Beach, located about 7 miles north of Kona near mile marker 95 off Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway.

Participants will clean, connect and dance freely in nature with noise-canceling wireless headsets to restore their minds, bodies and hearts with movement and music and as their medicine.

Meet by the bathrooms/showers and look for a pop-up tent, blue and orange buckets and trash pickers. For more information, click here.

No. 16 — “Growing Up Local” (Hilo, Sept. 8)

Image from Facebook

In a place known as paradise, Stanley’s life is far from it. Set in the unexplored neighborhoods of Hawai’i, this movie made in Hawai’i uncovers a boy’s struggle to find his identity beyond his father’s fists and his loyalty to his friends.

Showing is Friday at the Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St. Doors, box office and concessions open at 6:30 p.m., with the movie starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission, $9 for seniors, students and veterans. To purchase tickets in advance, click here.

No. 17 — Hawai‘i Craftsmen Annual Statewide Exhibition 2023 juror presentation (Hōlualoa, Sept. 9)

Image from Facebook

Exhibit juror Beth McLaughlin, artistic director and chief curator at Fuller Craft Museum in Boston, will give her presentation from 4 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Donkey Mill Art Center, located at 78-6670 Māmalahoa Highway. The event is free and open to the public. Although not required, registration is encouraged for the event.

Conducted each year since 1967, the Hawai‘i Craftsmen Annual Statewide Exhibition features the finest traditional and contemporary craft from throughout Hawai‘i. The juror visits each island to make public presentations and select the best work to be included in the exhibition.

Pupus and beverages are welcome. For more information or to register, click here.

No. 18 — Souls of Mischief 93 ‘Til Infinity 30th Anniversary Tour (Hilo, Sept. 7)

Image from Facebook

Are you ready for another Antics of Oasis collab? Tonight’s show from 8:30 p.m. until pau at Hilo Town Tavern, located at 168 Keawe St. in Downtown Hilo, will feature live performances by Souls of Mischief with supporting acts by Phrewil, DJ Scotty Doo and Casey Lacem. Hosted by Pure Powers Music.

This will also be a fundraiser for Hilo’s Shaka Paka Skatepark. It also will include a skate drive, collecting new or lightly used skate gear and parts that will be sent to people affected by the recent Maui wildfires.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Stop by the Hilo Town Tavern or call 808-935-2171 for more information.

No. 19 — Adam Crowe live (Pāpaʻaloa, Sept. 8)

Image from Facebook

Enjoy great music from this Pāpaʻaloa resident, who is a blues, rock and folk guitarist and vocalist, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pāpaʻaloa Country Store & Cafe on Saturday.

Crowe’s guitar mastery lights up whatever room he’s in. His performance style uses intricate guitar picking and solos over rhythmic looping for a full sound that definitely does each cover complete justice.

No. 20 — Inna Vision with Tuff Lion and Bengali Arkangel (Hilo, Sept. 9)

Image from Eventbrite

Get ready for an epic night of mind-blowing reggae vibes as the three acts take the stage from 8 to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday at Hilo Town Tavern, located at 168 Keawe St. in Downtown Hilo.

Get ready to groove to the soulful tunes of these talented artists. It will be a night to remember, filled with good music, good vibes and good company. Grab your friends and don’t miss out on this reggae extravaganza.

Tickets are $20 for general admission. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

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