Top 20 things to do on Big Island for Sept. 14-20: Lava viewing, Hilo Idol, Old Hawai‘i on Horseback pageant and more

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The Big Island has more than enough events to keep the young and old entertained throughout the next week.

Make the trip to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to see the Kīlauea eruption or cheer on your favorite choice to win Hilo Idol. There are more opportunities to support those affected by the devastating wildfires on Maui and also a celebration planned for International Dot Day, as well as a pageant featuring some of the island’s best horse riders in period costumes.

Here are our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for Sept. 14-20:

No. 1 — Kīlauea volcano eruption viewing (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, daily)

A visitor to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park observes the Kīlauea volcano lava lake Sept. 10 from Kīlauea Overlook. (National Park Service photo by J. Ferracane)

The recommended eruption viewing areas in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are Kīlauea Overlook and Kūpinaʻi Pali. Devastation parking and the section of Old Crater Rim Drive Trail west to Keanakākoʻi Crater and the eruption observation area are closed because of hazardous volcanic gases. The current eruption is not visible from open trails near the Devastation parking lot.

The park advises to avoid arriving between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at popular parking destinations such as Devastation and Kīlauea Overlook.

Check out the park map and download the new National Park Service mobile app to help you navigate during your visit.


For more information, click here. You can also check online for hazard information.

No. 2 — Hilo Idol Quarterfinals Round 4 (Hilo, Sept. 20)

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The Big Island’s ultimate singing competition continues Sept. 20 in the showroom at Hilo Town Market, located at 69 Waiānuenue Ave. Each quarterfinal features up to 10 contestants seeking three top spots to move on to the semifinals, which begin Oct. 18.

Doors open at 7 p.m., followed by open karaoke at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. There is a $10 cover charge and it is bring your own goodies and drinks. If you can’t make it in person, you can also watch the show streamed live at You can also visit the website to watch past installments.

Quarterfinals Round 2 winners, who competed Sept. 6 and moved on to the semifinals, were: first place, Maraeaku‘uleimomimakamae “Yaya” Lindsey Ventura; second place, Kristina “Elly Edda” Anderson; and third place, Nehemiah “Mario” Nihipali.

Auditions for the quarterfinal competitions continue through Sept. 26. For more information, check out the Levitation Entertainment Instagram page.

No. 3 — Henry Kapono Celebrates the Songs of C&K (Waimea, Sept. 16)

Courtesy photo

This exciting party beginning at 7 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, will honor Henry Kapono’s legacy spanning more than five decades of music, leadership and community support.

The music of C&K takes audiences back to a simpler time while bringing everyone together with the laid‐back island rock that was the soundtrack to growing up in Hawai‘i and remains as relevant and influential in Hawai‘i’s music scene today as it did in the 1970s.

Ticket price starts at $40. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

No. 4 — Mālama Maui and Maui Strong benefit events (Kailua-Kona, Sept. 16)

Screenshot from Yelp

The Shops at Aloha Plaza, located at 73-5613 Olowalu St., are hosting a Maui Benefit event from 1 to 7 p.m. which will include food, wine, music and more. Participating businesses at the plaza include Kona Wine Market, Polynesian Paddle Products and Hawaiian Ethos.

Kona Wine Market customers can sign up for the “Tasting Experience,” featuring wines from the top shelf and familiar flavors. All donations and proceeds will go directly to the Maui Strong Fund. For more details and to RSVP, call 808-329-9400, email [email protected] or stop by the store.


A Maui Strong benefit concert and local vendor market will take place at the same time, featuring live music and entertainment from Full House, RJ Kaneao, Lip Service, Overtime Band, Joanie Collins and David Gomes. Hawai‘i Oasis will live-stream and host an Eco-products booth, sharing environmentally friendly resources.

No. 5 — Old Hawaiʻi on Horseback pageant (Waimea, Sept. 16)

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Come up to the Waikiʻi Ranch polo field, located at 67-1026 Palekaiko Road, and take a walk back through time as some of the Paniolo Preservation Society’s most talented riders dress in costume representing some of the most iconic individuals in Hawaiian cowboy and cowgirl history.

The pageant will feature more than 100 riders from 1 to 4 p.m. General admission is $35, with children 12 and younger free. To purchase tickets, click here.

No. 6 — Coffee Talk: The Nature Conservancy on Hawaiʻi Island (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Sept. 16)

National Park Service photo

Based in Nāʻālehu, Shalan Crysdale is the Hawaiʻi Island forest program director for the Nature Conservancy. He oversees forest program operations, including stewardship of three preserves and two conservation easements on the island. He and his team of four protect 10,000 acres along the southwest flank of Mauna Loa, including the Kaiholena Preserve in Kaʻū.

This free Coffee Talk event is planned for 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Kahuku Visitor Contact Station in the park’s Kahuku Unit, located near mile marker 70.5 on Highway 11 between Nāʻālehu and Ocean View.

No. 7 — Officer of the Year Luncheon (Kailua-Kona, Sept. 20)

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The Kona Crime Prevention Committee invites the community to attend the Officer of the Year Luncheon to honor officers with the Hawai‘i Police Department who were named Officers of the Month during the past year and honor the 2023 Officer of the Year for West Hawai‘i.

The buffet is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Royal Kona Resort, located at 75-5852 Ali‘i Drive. Doors open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $55 for adults and $28 for keiki ages 6 to 10 years old. Parking is free in the resort lot with validation at the meeting.

Reserve a spot by Sept. 18 by texting Diane Blanchett-Maddock at 808-443-9794 or emailing to [email protected] with your name and the number of attendees. Payment is at the door via check or cash.

No. 8 — The Search for Exoplanets: Earth-Like Planets and Alien Worlds (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Sept. 19)

The Milky Way is seen over Uēkahuna, summit region of Kīlauea volcano. (National Park Service photo by J. Wei)

Orbiting distant stars, myriad alien worlds have recently been discovered. Some of these exoplanets fall in the “goldilocks,” or habitable zone. Some appear to have oceans of liquid water and favorable conditions for life. Could Earth 2.0 be orbiting a nearby star?

Come learn about the hunt for planets around distant stars with Subaru Telescope astronomer Julien Lozi. Hear about the exoplanet revolution and what this means for the field of astronomy and how Hawaiʻi could be the perfect place for future discoveries.

The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium and is part of the park’s ongoing After Dark in the Park series. It is free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 9 — Unity for Maui Sign-Waving Rally (Hilo, Sept. 16)

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The Exchange Club of Hilo event is set for 9 to 10 a.m. at the bayfront soccer field across from the King Kamehameha statue on Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo to show the people of the Valley Isle that the Big Island is thinking about them and sending them love, prayers and blessings in this time of need.

Following the sign-waving, the club also will offer the Mālama Maui $5 bento lunch fundraiser booth during the Trek The Trail event at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will be distributed through the Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund to provide shelter, food, financial assistance and other support services to people affected by the devastating wildfires.

No. 10 — Trek The Trail: A Health & Wellness ‘Ohana Fun Day (Hilo, Sept. 16)

Image from Eventbrite

Gather your family and friends for a day filled with food, fun, fitness and entertainment during this free community event hosted by Hawai‘i County from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, located at 323 Manono St. in Hilo.

Bring your own bike to take a ride or enjoy a nice walk with your pet and loved ones. You can also enjoy a walk with Mayor Mitch Roth at 9 a.m. as well as food trucks, craft vendors, giveaways, keiki activities, bike safety information from Big Island police, live entertainment by Media Music, Ho’aikane and DJ P3CO throughout the event.

Click here for more information.

No. 11 — Manta Day Festival (Kailua-Kona, Sept. 16)

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Established in 2019, the festival at Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, located at 78-128 Ehukai St., is a free experience for the whole family to learn more about the beloved sea animals and how to protect them.

The public is invited to a full day of festivities from noon to 7 p.m. featuring keiki crafts, prize drawings and “Manta Talks” by local and international expert divers and scientists. As part of the festival, attendees will receive complimentary parking and an opportunity to see the premiere of a short film produced by Morgan Eason, focusing on how the property has fostered responsible manta tourism.

For more information, click here.

No. 12 — Cat Video Fest (Hilo, Sept. 17)

Photo from Facebook

The cats are back at 2:30 and 7 p.m. at the historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St. in Downtown Hilo. This fun, family-friendly day at the movies raises money for local cats in need.

This year, the Palace is supporting Maui Humane Society to help with the extensive relief efforts after the recent wildfire disaster. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated directly to the Maui Humane Society.

Doors, box office and concessions open 30 minutes prior to each showing. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $9 for seniors, students and veterans. Click here to purchase tickets.

No. 13 — International Dot Day (Kailua-Kona, Sept. 15)

Image from Facebook

The Hawai‘i Keiki Museum, along with Kokua Academy and the Kailua-Kona Public Library, is celebrating International Dot Day, a day made popular by teachers around the world thanks to the book “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds.

Join the museum, located in the Kaʻū Building at 74-5533 Luhia St., for an event full of creativity and literacy from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring “The Dot” book readings, Sam the Reading Dog visits for keiki to read to him and dot-related craft stations. The event is free with regular museum admission.

For more information, visit the museum’s website.

No. 14 — “The Shining” (Hilo, Sept. 14)

Image from Facebook

This big-screen adaptation of the Stephen King horror classic is the featured movie for Throwback Thursday this week at the historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St. in Downtown Hilo.

Jack Torrence becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife Wendy and son Danny, who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac, hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd. Rated R.

Doors, box office and concessions open at 6:30 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $9 for seniors, students and veterans. Click here to purchase tickets in advance.

No. 15 — BrownChicken BrownCow StringBand live (Hilo, Sept. 16)

Photo from Instagram

BrownChicken BrownCow StringBand is a national touring band whose roots originate in the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia. The band features four multi-instrumental musicians who have spent more than a decade traveling, writing and performing together.

This event at the historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St. in Downtown Hilo, is your chance to enjoy a night of wonderful music and community connection. Doors, box office and concessions open at 6 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. General admission is $40 and Golden Circle tickets are $55.

Presented by Blues Bear Hawai‘i and KWXX. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

No. 16 — The Tremolo Beer Gut live (Hilo, Sept. 16)

Image from Facebook

The Tremolo Beer Gut will put the “urf” back in “surf” during this performance from 6 to 9 p.m. at Kukuau Studio, located at 43 Kukuau St. The premier retro-surf rock band on the planet loves tremolo, beer and they’ve got guts.

The show will also feature Mister Peanut Butter, a rocking quartet from Waimea and up and up-and-coming youth quartet, Hilo’s own 2 Years Apart.

Music starts at 6 p.m. All ages are welcome. There is a $10 cover charge at the door. For more information, click here.

No. 17 — Creative Outlet: Pochoir Printmaking with Dorothy Remington (Hōlualoa, Sept. 20)

Photo from Facebook

Pochoir is a highly refined technique of making fine limited editions of stencil prints. Join teaching artist Dorothy Remington for this one-of-a-kind printmaking workshop from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Donkey Mill Art Center, located at 78-6670 Māmalahoa Highway.

The class for beginners will begin with demonstrations and discuss the various tools, materials and process. Then, participants will dive right into the work and experiment with texture and form. If time permits, the workshop will end with critiques of each other’s work.

The cost to attend is $35 for members, $45 for nonmembers. For more information or to register, click here.

No. 18 — Kaʻūmana Sunrise (Pāpaʻaloa, Sept. 14)

Image from Facebook

If you’re looking for something to do after work today that includes a few drinks and some live music, Pāpaʻaloa Country Store and Cafe has you covered.

Kaʻūmana Sunsrise will be playing all your chang-a-lang upbeat acoustic local favorites from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the store, located at 35-2032 Old Māmalahoa Highway. The store and cafe also will have Thirsty Thursday drink specials available.

For more information, call 808-339-7614.

No. 19 — Fuego Latin Orchestra Hawai‘i live (Kailua-Kona, Sept. 14)

Image from Facebook

Fuego Latin Orchestra Hawai‘i is bringing the heat from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. to the waterfront at Honu’s on the Beach at the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel, located at 75-5660 Palani Road, this week and every Thursday through Oct. 26.

Get ready to dance the night away to the infectious sounds of salsa, merengue, bachata and more. Tickets are $20 at the door. Parking is free with a food/beverage purchase.

For more information, check out the event listing on Facebook.

The band is also performing from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Blue Dragon Tavern in Kawaihae. Click here for additional details about that performance.

No. 20 — Energy Medicine for Beginners (Kealakekua, Sept. 16)

Photo from Facebook

This fun and informative workshop from 2 to 3:30 p.m. conducted by Alice Tobin at 82-6012 Puʻuhonua Road in Kealakekua, will show participants how to detect and rebalance energies through simple, easy-to-learn techniques. Participants also will receive an energy medicine toolkit to take home.

The workshop is ideal for beginners. No experience necessary, just a desire to take responsibility to move toward a healthier, vibrant you.

Cost is $25. Call 808-209-0788 or message Tobin on Facebook for more information or to register. Learn more about Tobin here.

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