Top 20 things to do on Big Island Oct. 12-18: Kalapana in concert, Waimea Fall Festival, Taste of Hilo, Kona Underpants Run

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The VinFast Ironman World Championship women’s triathlon isn’t the only show in town this week on the Big Island. There are plenty of events and activities happening to keep keiki to kūpuna busy and entertained.

There’s a live concert by Kalapana, which has been making Hawaiian music tracks that have become household favorites since the 1970s. The first semifinal round of the Big Island’s ultimate singing competition Hilo Idol is around the corner. The 25th annual A Taste of Hilo will tickle your taste buds as well.

You also can connect with Hawai‘i landscapes on a deeper level with Hawaiian chant at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the Waimea Fall Festival returns for its fourth installment of free family fall fun.

You can even be part of the Ironman festivities by stripping down and taking part in the 2023 Kona Underpants Run, an annual fundraiser for The Ironman Foundation and definitely a one-of-a-kind spectacle for downtown Kona.

Here are our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for the week of Oct. 12-18.

No. 1 — Kalapana live in concert (Waimea, Oct. 14)

Image from the Kahilu Theatre website.

Music trends come and go, but Kalapana’s many hits remain island classics. Tracks such as “Naturally,” “Nightbird,” “The Hurt” and “When the Morning Comes” have become household favorites since the band emerged onto the Hawaiian music scene in the 1970s and still enjoy frequent play on contemporary Hawaiian radio.


Kalapana will rock the Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $40.

Watch the concert trailer on YouTube. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

No. 2 — After Dark in the Park: Hawaiian Chant (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Oct. 17)

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Long before the Hawaiian people had a written language, they passed along traditional knowledge and culture through moʻolelo (story), hula, mele (song and poetry) and oli (chant).

Beginning at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium, Kekuhi Kanahele Keali‘ikanaka‘ole of Lonoa Honua and granddaughter of Edith Kekuhi Kanakaʻole will guide audiences to connect with the landscapes of Hawai‘i on a deeper level.

The event is free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 3 — Hilo Idol Semifinals Round 1 (Hilo, Oct. 18)

Winners of Round 6 of the Hilo Idol quarterfinals were, from left, Kacy Sanchez-Joaquin in second place, Jaems Gusse in first place and Suzanne MacAdam in third. (Photo courtesy of Levi Strauss)

The Big Island’s ultimate singing competition has been narrowed down and now the top 3 winners from each of the six quarterfinal rounds will go head to head in the showroom at Hilo Town Market, located at 69 Waiānuenue Ave., in their quest to make it to the finale Nov. 3.

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.

Round 2 of the semifinals is Oct. 25.

Quarterfinals Round 6 winners, who competed Oct. 4 and moved on to the semifinals, were: Jaems Gusse, first place; Kacy Sanchez-Joaquin, second place; and Suzanne MacAdam, third place.

No. 4 — 25th annual A Taste of Hilo (Hilo, Oct. 15)

Courtesy photo.

This annual fundraiser for Hawai‘i Community College returns from 1 to 3 p.m. at Sangha Hall, located at 424 Kīlauea Ave. Those who attend the premier culinary event in East Hawai‘i will enjoy a wide variety of dishes and drinks prepared by the finest food and beverage purveyors on the Big Island.


This year’s featured chef is Victor Palma, the executive chef at Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort. There also is an online auction live now and 25th-anniversary merchandise available for purchase.

Tickets are $75 and are on sale now. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

No. 5 — Waimea Fall Festival (Waimea, Oct. 14)

Pumpkins of all sizes will be among the many items available for purchase at the fourth annual Waimea Fall Festival. (Courtesy photo)

The Waimea Fall Festival returns for its fourth installment from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Spencer K. Schutte Waimea District Park, located at 67-1315 Ala ʻŌhiʻa Road. The free fun-filled family festival will feature a pumpkin patch, keiki games and activities, live entertainment, a craft sale, community information booths and exhibits and lots of food.

Proceeds from the festival benefit participating nonprofit organizations and local businesses, including sports equipment sponsorships by Waimea Athletics for community youth programs.

All-day wristbands for the outdoor inflatables and indoor keiki zone are available for sale online now. For more information about the festival and wristbands, click here.

No. 6 — Forest Fair (Volcano, Oct. 14)

Photo from the Volcano Art Center website.

This free one-day celebration of Hawai‘i’s healthy native forest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Volcano Art Center’s Ni‘aulani Campus, located at 19-4074 Old Volcano Road, will include displays, vendors, hula performances, free forest tours and native plant and book sales.

There will also be information and product giveaways, making for a fun, engaging event in celebration of Hawai’i’s natural resources.

For more information, visit the Volcano Art Center website.

No. 7 — Hula Arts at Kīlauea (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Oct. 14)

Kumu hula Iwalani Kalima with Hula Hālau O Kou Lima Nani Ē will perform hula kahiko during the next installment of the Volcano Art Center’s Hula Arts at Kīlauea series in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. (Photo from the Volcano Art Center website)

This performance series presented by the Volcano Art Center continues at 10:30 a.m. with a hula kahiko performance featuring kumu hula Iwalani Kalima with Hula Hālau O Kou Lima Nani Ē at the park’s kahua hula (platform).

Hula Hālau O Kou Lima Nani Ē was founded in 1986 to coordinate cultural education programs that benefit Hawai‘i communities. The group’s hula lineage is from master of hula and Hawaiian culture Uncle George Na’ope, who was also a co-founder of the Merrie Monarch Festival.

The presentation is presented authentically in an outdoor setting, rain or shine, without electronic amplification. It is free to attend, but park entrance fees apply. Click here or call 967-8222 for more information.

No. 8 — “Out of State” screening and filmmaker Q&A (Hilo, Oct. 14)

Image courtesy of the East Hawai’i Cultural Center website.

Native Hawaiians, like other communities of color in the United States, struggle with an overrepresentation in the structure of the criminal justice system. This film chronicles the experience of Native Hawaiian inmates at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona, which was built specifically to house men convicted of crimes in Hawai‘i.

The documentary will be shown from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Kahua ʻElua Theatre at East Hawai‘i Cultural Center, located at 141 Kalākaua St., with a question and answer session to follow with filmmaker Ciara Leina‘ala Lacy and featured guest Hale Gualdarama.

Watch the “Out of State” trailer here. For more about the film, click here.

No. 9 — Kū Ānuenue grand opening market and open house (Hilo, Oct. 14)

Image from Facebook.

Kū Ānuenue, an organization creating and sustaining space for and with māhū and queer people from keiki to kūpuna, their families and caregivers, invites the public to this grand opening event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hale Kū Ānuenue, located at 94 Kohola St.

The market will be full of local vendors, food, entertainment and fun. Tours of the new facility and information about the services the organization offers and how to get involved also will be provided.

For more information, click here. You can also check out Kū Ānuenue’s Instagram page for information about the vendors and lucky-number giveaway prizes.

No. 10 — Jazz in the Forest: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong (Volcano, Oct. 14)

Photo of JP Thoma from the Volcano Art Center website.

Enjoy an evening of jazz beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Volcano Art Center Ni‘aulani Campus, located at 19-4074 Old Volcano Road, with the always swinging JP Thoma and the Jazztones. The concert will focus on trumpet and vocal icon Armstrong’s legacy.

Some of the Dixieland classics to be featured include “The Heebie Jeebies,” “West End Blues” and early hits such as “Undecided,” Tiger Rag,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Tickets are $25 for Volcano Art Center members and $30 for non-members. Pupus, beer and wine will be available for purchase. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

No. 11 — School of Rock Battle of the Bands (Hilo, Oct. 13)

Image from Facebook.

Come down to Kukuau Studio, located at 43 Kukuau St., from 4 to 9 p.m. for this youth rock band extravaganza that will feature bands, vendors, costumes and prizes.

Cost to attend is $10. Those with valid student IDs will get in free. For more information, call the studio at 808-464-3388

No. 12 — Hilo Barrio Fiesta (Hilo, Oct. 14)

Image from Facebook.

Celebrate Filipino American History Month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during this free annual event at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Campus Center Plaza, located at 200 W. Kawili St.

Enjoy family-friendly Philippine children’s activities and games, dancing, Eskrima martial arts, Filipino food trucks, Philippine fashion and artifacts exhibits, Filipino labor exhibit and more. The event is open to the public. There will also be free food for college students.

No. 13 — Lava Cats Oktoberfest (Pāhoa, Oct. 14)

Image from Facebook.

Lava Cats, a four-piece rock, pop and dance band, will bring its lively, fun and energetic performance style to the stage at Coco Cantina, located in Suite 13 at 15-2714 Pāhoa Village Road.

There will be food, drinks and dancing from 3 to 5 p.m. There is no cover charge to attend. For more information, call 808-333-1753.

No. 14 — 2023 Kona Underpants Run (Kailua-Kona, Oct. 12)

Photo from Facebook.

Strip down to your skivvies and show your support for this pre-Ironman World Championship race event that raises funds for The Ironman Foundation. All ages, genders and bodies are welcome to come celebrate the aloha spirit during this one-of-a-kind race week spectacle.

A donation of $25 will secure your spot at the starting line, as well as your choice of official Kona Underpants Run merchandise, including a T-shirt, BOCO trucker run hat or Wood Underwear, the official underwear of the run.

Race day registration is from 6 to 7:30 a.m., with the run starting at 7:45 a.m. For more information, click here.

No. 15 — Hawai‘i Keiki Museum 1st Birthday Celebration (Kailua-Kona, Oct. 13)

Image from Facebook.

Come enjoy all the exhibits, including “Kid Power,” the museum’s newest and sure to please keiki of all ages; Meet a Machine in the parking lot, where a fire truck, police vehicle, Hele-On hydrogen bus, boat from Jack’s Diving Locker and others will be on display; and be there for the unveiling of George Nuku’s upcycled underwater-themed exhibit created with the help of Big Island keiki.

The free birthday celebration is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the museum, located in the Ka’u Building at 74-5533 Luhia St. For more information, click here.

No. 16 — Latin Dance Concert (Kailua-Kona, Oct. 13)

Image from Facebook.

Be prepared for an epic night of incredible live Latin music and dancing from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at My Bar Kona, located at 74-5606 Luhia St., featuring the Big Island’s own Ronny Mercedes, who will have you grooving and having a blast.

Tickets start at just $10. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

No. 17 — Kids DIY-U Workshop: Heroic Fire Truck (Kailua-Kona, Oct. 14)

Photo from Facebook.

Bring your mini do-it-yourselfer to Lowe’s Home Improvement, located at 75-5677 Hale Kapili St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for this event hosted by one of the store’s red vest experts in observance of Fire Safety Month. The store will provide all the steps, tools and materials for keiki participants to build their own fire truck toy.

To register for specific time slots, click here. Walk-ins also will be allowed starting at 1 p.m.

No. 18 — Aloha Mastercam 2024 (Waimea, Oct. 17)

Image from Facebook.

This free event geared toward industry professionals and educators from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope headquarters, located at 65-1238 Māmalahoa Highway, is a great opportunity to see demonstrations of new Mastercam features and get questions answered by Mastercam experts.

Telescope staff will also show parts made for the 3.6-meter optical/infrared space telescope with Mastercam. Come in person or watch online to witness how great computer-aided manufacturing software works and how it helps give the telescope a clear view of the cosmos!

Lunch will be provided onsite. In-person seats are limited. To register, click here.

No. 19 — Meet the Authors: “Roadside Geology of Hawai‘i” (Hilo, Oct. 14)

Image from Facebook.

Embark on a scenic and scientific adventure and pick up your copy of “Roadside Geology of Hawai‘i” from Basically Books, located at 334 Kīlauea Ave.

The completely revised, full-color second edition of the book details the evolution of the Hawaiian volcanic island chain, from its first tumultuous appearance above the sea to ongoing eruptions, including the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea.

Meet the book’s authors Rick Hazlett, Cheryl Gansecki and Steve Lundblad during this event at the Hilo bookstore beginning at 2 p.m.

No. 20 — Halloween Dance Party (Hilo, Oct. 14)

Image from Facebook.

Costumes are encouraged for this spirited soirée at the Island of Hawai‘i YMCA, located at 300 W. Lanikaula St., featuring DJs B & G and hits from the 1970s to today that will have everyone who attends up on their feet dancing. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Family Visitation Center.

Must be 21 or older to attend. Bring your own beverages and snacks. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the party from 7 to 10 p.m.

Advanced tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the YMCA office. Tickets at the door are $25. For more information, call 808-935-3721.

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