Top 20 things to do on Big Island for the week of Nov. 23-29: Holiday events abound, including concerts, Thanksgiving dinners and craft fairs

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The holidays are in full swing on the Big Island and there are several festive events and shopping opportunities during the next week to get the entire family in the mood.

From the Waimea Community Chorus singing in the season, the Downtown Hilo Christmas Light Parade kicking off the Christmas parade season and the annual tree lighting in Kona to a slew of craft fairs and Black Friday deals, not to mention a few Thanksgiving dinners if you don’t want to cook or are looking to meet some new friends, you shouldn’t have any issues finding the right event for you.

There also are other events such as Family Game Night at Pāpaʻaloa Country Store & Cafe and stand-up comedy by Kitty Pineapple in case you’re looking for something less holiday-related.

Here are our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for the week of Nov. 23-29.

No. 1 — Waimea Community Chorus: Sing in the Season (Waimea, Nov. 26)

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Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, is delighted to present the 50-voice chorus singing in the season beginning at 3 p.m. with songs of winter and holiday celebrations. Start your holiday season by enjoying a joyful afternoon of music.


The repertoire is varied and includes familiar titles such as “Snows of Mauna Kea,” “Winter Wonderland of Snow,” “I Love the Winter Weather” and “Sleigh Ride” in the first half. After intermission, the songs will pay tribute to the celebrations of Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for keiki younger than 17 years old. Click here to purchase tickets.

No. 2 — Downtown Hilo Christmas Light Parade (Hilo, Nov. 25)

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Join the East Hawaiʻi Lions and Leo Clubs and help light up Downtown Hilo just in time for the holidays. This year’s theme is “Lighting The Christmas Spirit” and the march begins at 6 p.m. There will be floats, marching bands and community groups all lit up in celebration of the season.

A new parade route to avoid Keawe Street, which is under repair, has been established, starting at the corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Pauahi Streets, turning left at Waiānuenue Avenue, another left onto Kinoʻole Street, then left again on Ponahawai Street and finally right back to Kamehameha Avenue and ending at Pauahi Street.


Parade-goers will again be able to vote for their favorite parade entry using their smartphones. Look for the QR code on the day of the parade.

No. 3 — Kitty Pineapple live (Hilo, Nov. 24)

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Kitty has 13 years of experience in stand-up comedy and is as attentive to her fans as she is to her performance. Her dedication to their laughter is seen through her content. Her live performance is a whole other experience. She takes you on a journey from where you have questions to a place of happiness and laughter. It’s a comedy show, so you should be laughing.

Join her as she headlines the Hilo Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St., on Black Friday for a special one-of-a-kind performance. The show starts at 7 p.m., with doors and concessions opening at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $20 general admission or $30 priority orchestra seating and can be purchased now online. All tickets are $5 more on the day of the show. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Hawaiʻi Coalition Against Sexual Assault.


(There also is a Kitty Pineapple show at 7 p.m. Nov. 25 at Honoka‘a People’s Theatre in Honoka‘a. Click here for details about that show)

No. 4 — Kailua Kalikimaka Tree Lighting (Kailua-Kona, Nov. 24)

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This holiday tradition and accompanying program hosted by the Kailua Village Business Improvement District at Emma’s Square, located across from Hilihe‘e Palace on Ali‘i Drive, gets started at 5:45 p.m. and will include special musical performances and keiki hula performances from Halau E Hulali Mai I Ka La.

Plan for a festive selfie spot with Miss Kona Coffee and Miss Aloha Hawaiʻi as the tree lights up and signals the start of the holiday season.

No. 5 — John Cruz and ‘Ohana present “Island Style Holiday” (Hilo, Nov. 26)

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John Cruz, a multiple Nā Hõkū Hanohano Award-winning Hawaiian singer-songwriter, enthralls audiences with his rich storytelling through songs ranging from Hawaiian to blues, folk, R&B and more. He’s helping ring in the holiday season with two special shows on the stage at the Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St.

The shows are set for 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., with doors and concessions open at 2 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 general admission or $100 VIP seating, which also includes an exclusive meet-and-greet with Cruz, a signed CD and a T-shirt.

Tickets are $5 more the day of the shows. To purchase tickets now, click here.

No. 6 — 42nd annual Joann Wiliams Christmas Treasures Art, Jewelry, Collectibles, Gifts & Craft Fair (Kailua-Kona, Nov. 24-25)

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This event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, located at 75-5660 Palani Road, features some of the best vendors from throughout Hawaiʻi, with exclusive items for everyone’s early personal and holiday shopping.

Some of the crafts, gifts and handmade items available will include jams and jellies, jewelry, cards, ceramics, wood items, baked goods, paintings, skin care products, pottery, soaps, wreaths, bags, purses, T-shirts, hats, baby items, sarongs, household items, art, ornaments, Namakua Hawaiian wear and art, swimsuits, crystals, quilts and much more.

Admission is free. Donated prizes from each vendor will be given away throughout both days of the fair. There also will be music and lots of fun.

For more information, email to [email protected].

No. 7 — “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (Hilo, Nov. 25)

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Enjoy an afternoon with the family by catching a screening of this holiday classic at 2:30 p.m. at the Palace Theater, located at 38 Hail St.

The Muppets perform the classic Dickens holiday tale, with Kermit the Frog playing Bob Cratchit, the put-upon clerk of stingy Ebenezer Scrooge. Other Muppets — Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear and Sam the Eagle — weave in and out of the story, while Scrooge receives visits from spirits of three Christmases: past, present and future. They show him the error of his self-serving ways, but the miserable old man seems to be past any hope of redemption and happiness.

Tickets are $5 general admission and can be purchased in advance online or the day of the show. Doors, box office and concessions open 30 minutes before showtime.

No. 8 — Black Hole Friday (Hilo, Nov. 24)

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Stop by ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, located at 600 ʻImiloa Place, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and enjoy some of the best deals in the galaxy.

There will be special discounts at the ʻImiloa store for members (15% off), half-off general admission (members enter for free), $10 off memberships (family level and higher), plus black hole-themed planetarium programs.

Save on your holiday shopping and get one of the first looks at ʻImiloa’s new Planetarium system.

No. 9 — Volcano Village Artists Hui 37th annual Studio Tour & Sale (Volcano, Nov. 24-26)

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Every November during the weekend after Thanksgiving, hui members open their studio and/or showroom doors. Visitors, art collectors and holiday shoppers are invited from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day to meet and talk with the artists, view their latest works and purchase unique hand-crafted items at reasonable prices.

Plate lunches also will be available each day at Cafe Ono.

More information and maps to the five studio sites and exhibit locations throughout town are available at businesses and galleries in Volcano and online. Come be part of this continually evolving adventure!

No. 10 — Donation Thanksgiving Dinner (Mountain View, Nov. 23)

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No matter if you have $1 or $20, come celebrate Thanksgiving from 1 to 6 p.m. with Da Beans Green Cafe & Kava Lounge, located at 19-937 Volcano Road in Mountain View. Let’s all be grateful for what joy we have in our life together.

Dinner will include Caesar salad, turkey with rosemary and sage gravy, kalua pork, cornbread herbed stuffing, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, cranberry sauce, Hawaiian dinner roll, apple pie, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake. Lemon water will be provided; other drinks can be purchased.

One plate per person; first come, first served. To RSVP, click here.

No. 11 — Thanksgiving with the Johnny Shot Duo (Kawaihae, Nov. 23)

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This special Thanksgiving dinner features Neil Barnett and Matt Brown from Johnny Shot performing a mix of acoustic classic rock and country songs from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road.

The menu will feature your choice of local Ma’a lager brined turkey with pan gravy ($29), brown sugar lilikoi ham ($27), kiawe smoked prime rib with au jus and horseradish ($43) or combo turkey and ham plate ($39). All entrees are served with country apple ulu stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, fireball yams, braised green beans, house-made cranberry marmalade and fresh baked dinner roll.

Sound yummy? You bet! Plus you don’t have to cook or clean. Just sit back and enjoy ono grinds while being entertained by this dynamic duo.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door; children 12 and younger are free. Tickets are required to attend. To purchase them, click here.

No. 12 — The Dark Side Of The Moon: 50 Years In A Heartbeat (Hilo, Nov. 24)

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Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” comes to life in all its glory on ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi’s newly enhanced planetarium system for shows at 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. at the center, located at 600 ʻImiloa Place.

Don’t miss this special program created to celebrate the album’s 50th anniversary — and the first planetarium experience sanctioned and approved by this groundbreaking and timeless band. Lose yourself in the waves of colors, images, animations and fractals that dance along to this epic masterpiece and immersive thrill ride for the senses.

Admission is $12 for ʻImiloa members or $18 for non-members. To book tickets in advance, call 808-932-8901.

No. 13 — Pictures with Santa (Hilo, Nov. 24-Dec. 24)

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It’s the most wonderful time of year, and Santa’s here! Don’t miss out on capturing tree-mendous family photos this year. Make your reservation today to meet and take pictures with Santa at Prince Kūhiō Plaza, located at 111 E. Puainako St. You can even bring your furry friends on Pet Nights; all dogs and cats are welcome.

Photos can be scheduled at various times each day. Reserving your spot also has perks such as getting a phone call from Santa, locking in the date and time of your choice, free access to MyPhoto all holiday season and making checkout a breeze.

For more information or to book your spot, click here.

No. 14 — After Thanksgiving Pau Hana (Pāhoa, Nov. 24)

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Done with cooking after the holiday feast? Tired after all the Black Friday shopping? Just looking for some good food and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with?

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3830 invites the public from 5 to 9:30 p.m. to enjoy a potluck dinner with music provided by DJ Al, who’s always taking your requests, at the post located at 15-775 Maluhia Road.

No. 15 — Kamahalo Holiday Craft Fair (Volcano, Nov. 24-25)

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This popular annual craft fair will feature more than 30 vendors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at The Cooper Center, located at 19-4030 Wright Road, offering homemade, handmade and homegrown items.

Besides gift items, The Cooper Center Council volunteers will make hearty soups and food for hungry shoppers.

Proceeds will be used to fund community activities and projects such as The Cooper Center Community Pantry.

No. 16 — Shop Small Business Saturday at Keauhou Shopping Center (Kailua-Kona, Nov. 25)

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Start your holiday shopping by supporting local businesses from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Kona mall, located at 78-6831 Ali‘i Drive. The day will also include keiki activities from noon to 3 p.m. and entertainment from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Whether you’re here for the events or shopping for the kids, bring the family by for some fun.

No. 17 — Holiday Crafts Fair (Kealakekua, Nov. 25)

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Bring the entire family from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to Teshima’s Restaurant, located at 79-7251 Māmalahoa Highway, to enjoy handmade crafts, gift ideas from local vendors, live music, games and a photo booth.

Follow the craft fair @TeshimaRestaurantCraftFair on Facebook.

No. 18 — Family Game Night (Pāpaʻaloa, Nov. 24)

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Come out from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to Pāpaʻaloa Country Store & Cafe, located at 35-2032 Old Māmalahoa Highway, for an evening of friendly competition and fun hosted by Gina Smith.

Team up with a familiar face or make a new friend. Play a new game or bring your favorite. Do both while enjoying ono beverages and bites as you play.

Avoid playing cards, dice and games associated with gambling. Keep it fun and family-friendly.

No. 19 — Holiday Hōʻike (Kailua-Kona, Nov. 25)

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Join Kamakani O Ka Moku ‘Āina Performing Arts Academy for a special holiday presentation from 5 to 7 p.m. at the University of Nations, located at 75-5851 Kuakini Highway, featuring special guest, the Kealakehe Polynesian Club.

The White Nene Coffee Cart will also be selling drinks and treats.

A $5 donation per person is suggested and can be paid through Venmo @ibmhawaii. RSVP online. This is a drug, smoking a alcohol free event.

No. 20 — Community Play & Potluck (Honoka‘a, Nov. 28)

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Gather as a community with open hearts from 3 to 7 p.m. at Open Hearts Community Congregation, located in the old Haina Sugar Mill at 45-163 Kia Manu Road, No. 6, and bring a game to play, dish to share, performance to entertain with, crafts to create and ideas for growth.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring food from the Big Island and consider community members who are vegan and/or gluten-free.

There will be a limited number of plates, cups, bowls and cutlery available, so bring your own and consider donating some to the community congregation. The kitchen also will be available for prepping and cooking.

RSVP to Open Hearts Community Congregation on Facebook or just show up.

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