Top 20 things to do on Big Island for Dec. 7-13: Holiday cheer abounds with several Christmas parades and more

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The holidays are in full swing around the Big Island.

From Christmas parades in Kea‘au, Pāhala and Kona, including a lighted boat parade in Kailua Bay, to studio tours and sales and holiday concerts, there’s no lack of events spreading the Christmas spirit.

In case you’re seeking something else, there’s also a health care talk story event featuring “Seniors in Paradise” host Derek Kurisu, the Celebrate ‘Ohana Festival in Kona, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies live in Hilo and more.

Here are our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for the week of Dec. 7-13.

No. 1 — Holiday concert with Ola Loa and special guest Landon Scott (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Dec. 12)

Screenshot of image from the Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park website

The community is invited to a magical evening of holiday music, Hawaiian style, performed by the band from Volcano. Bring your singing voice because you might feel inspired to join in as the trio and Scott perform familiar tunes.


This special holiday event is part of the park’s ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium and the show starts at 7 p.m. The event is free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 2 — Empower Your Choice Talk Story (Online, Dec. 11)

Courtesy image

KTA Super Stores Executive Vice President and host of “Seniors in Paradise” Derek Kurisu will be joined by Lani Weigert and Tish Lopez of Hawai’i Care Choices for the first health care talk story of this new series at 10 a.m. on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Kurisu will share the stories “behind” the stories about how a small hometown grocer inspires and uplifts its Big Island community. Participants also will discuss and explore the understanding of health equity and how it can impact your access to quality care.

The educational webinar is free and open to the public. Click here to register.


No. 3 — Celebrate the season in Kailua-Kona (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 9-10)

File photo

If you’re looking for something festive to do this weekend in Kona, there are several events planned to light up the season.

Bring the whole family Dec. 9 to the 37th annual Kailua-Kona Christmas Parade. The parade begins at 5 p.m. at Kailua Pier and winds its way down Ali’i Drive to Hale Hālāwai, with announcing stations throughout the village. The parade is presented by Rotary Clubs of West Hawai’i and the Kailua-Kona Community Parade Association.

The holiday fun continues at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 with the Lighted Boat Parade. Kona’s fleet will put on a jovial show in Kailua Bay. Body Glove also will be docked at Kailua Pier for great viewing, with food and beverages available for purchase.

Round out your holiday happenings this weekend with some seasonal music. As a gift to the community, the Kailua Village Business Improvement District will present a free holiday concert from 4 to 5 p.m. Dec. 10, featuring five-time time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner Nāpua Greig on center stage at Emma’s Square, located across from Hulihe‘e Palace on Ali‘i Drive.


No. 4 — Holiday Parade and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies live (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 9)

King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Resort (Courtesy image)

The festive season is here and King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Resort, located at 75-5660 Palani Road, invites Big Island residents and visitors alike to experience the holidays in Kona.

A jolly parade will march in front of the hotel beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by a special performance by multi-platinum swing and ska band Cherry Poppin’ Daddies from 6 to 10 p.m.

Tickets for the concert are $35 and can purchased in advance by clicking here.

No. 5 — Holiday Studio Sale (Hōlualoa, Dec. 9)

Screenshot of image from Donkey Mill Art Center website

Come out to support and celebrate Donkey Mill Art Center’s community of artists, including students, teachers, members and staff, during the holidays as artists take over the Mill’s main space from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering select original pieces of art only available at this special event.

Guests are invited to sip, snack and shop as well as connect with the talented community of artists that represent the Mill’s ceramics, print, fiber arts and metals studios.

The Donkey Mill Art Center is located at 78-6670 Māmalahoa Highway.

No. 6 — Celebrate ‘Ohana Festival (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 9)

Screenshot of image from Puakalehua Early Learning Consortium website

This festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Maka‘eo Pavilion at Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area, located at 75-5560 Kuakini Highway, celebrates ‘ohana and the importance of early learning with fun and free activities for keiki and information and resources about early learning for parents and guardians.

The event is free and open to the public. Make-and-take keiki crafts, free entertainment, food trucks and free food for the keiki will be available. Schools, agencies and organizations also will be on hand to offer resources and information about early learning. KAPA Radio will broadcast live from the event. Additionally, the first 100 families will receive a free bag of food.

For more information, call Lehua Kaulukukui at 808-322-5402 or click here.

No. 7 — Christmas at Keauhou (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 9 and 16)

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Keauhou Shopping Center, located at 78-6831 Aliʻi Drive, is serving up holiday cheer with events and activities for the entire ‘ohana.

There is magic in the air, especially when Santa comes to town. Sign up at Eventbrite to reserve a free goodie bag and to take a photo with the Big Man from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. both days in the mall’s courtyard. Bring your own camera.

There also will be entertainment and treats for the entire family along with KidX crafts, snacks and a photobooth for families to enjoy.

For more information about upcoming events at the Kona mall, follow @shopkeauhou on social media.

No. 8 — Pāhala Town Lighted Christmas Parade (Pāhala, Dec. 9)

Courtesy image

The parade starts at 6 p.m. this year, bringing families from near and far together, putting smiles on keiki faces and offering joy to long-term patients at Kaʻū Hospital.

The parade route starts on Pīkake Street at the Royal Hawaiian Mac Nut office and then turns right onto Kamani Street. It continues to Kaʻū Hospital, where it circles around the parking lot before turning back onto Kamani and then taking a left at Pāhala Community Center to finish.

The community is invited after the parade for light refreshments, pictures with Santa and arts and crafts at the Pāhala Community Center. Santa and his buddies will head back to the North Pole at 8:30 p.m., so make sure you and your ‘ohana don’t miss him.

No. 9 — Season of Light (Hilo, Dec. 13)

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This year has been challenging for many, especially those who experienced traumatic loss including precious loved ones. Hawai’i Care Choices is providing support to the community by offering a moment of remembrance for those who passed.

The public is invited to a free candlelight tribute from 6 to 7 p.m. at the pavilion at Wailoa River State Recreation Area, located at 799 Pi’ilani St., sharing the light of aloha for the holidays around the world.

Share special passages, reminisce, hear uplifting music and, most importantly, feel the genuine support being given by everyone in attendance. Feel free to bring a photo of your loved one(s) to focus on during the program

For more information and to register, click here.

No. 10 — Winter Wonderland: Holiday Celebrations From Around The World (Waimea, Dec. 10)

Courtesy image

Let your spirits soar this holiday season as Prince Dance Institute once again invites the Big Island to embark on a spectacular journey through the world’s winter celebrations at 4 p.m. on the stage at Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road.

Each scene is a window into the rich tapestry of holiday traditions that circle the world, brought to life through dance, music and theatre. Celebrate the diversity of holiday spirit with your loved ones and share in the wonder, excitement and beauty of a world of wintery wonder.

Tickets start at $31 and can be purchased in advance online.

No. 11 — 20th annual Kea‘au Lighted Christmas Parade (Kea‘au, Dec. 9)

Image from Facebook

This year’s parade theme is “20 Years of Lights,” and grand marshals are community members who started the parade in its early years, including Jiro Sumada, Carl Okuyama, Bill and Adella Walter and Tom English.

The parade starts at 6 p.m. and the route will be on Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road, starting from Kea‘au High School and marching to the intersection of Old Volcano Road, before the Kea‘au Shopping Center.

Students from Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Public Charter School also will grace the crowds with songs at 5:45 p.m. at the end of the route.

No. 12 — Cherry Poppin’ Daddies live (Hilo, Dec. 8)

Image from Facebook

Legendary multi-platinum band Cherry Poppin’ Daddies visits Hilo for the first time for a special performance from 6 to 10 p.m. at The Crown Room at the Grand Naniloa Hotel, located at 93 Banyan Drive.

The Daddies will bring their infectious blend of swing, ska and punk for an intimate performance presented by Big Rock Productions and The Crown Room, with special guests Kauz of Affliction, El Sancho and Completely Insane.

All ages are welcome. Tickets are $35 and can purchased in advance online.

No. 13 — Parents Night Out: Christmas Crafts (Hilo, Dec. 8)

Image from Eventbrite

Looking for a way to get some holiday cheer in without the keiki? Soil to Soul, located at 301 Keawe St., has an event perfect for you.

While you’re out enjoying being an adult, let your kids ages 5 and older get into a festive mood from 5 to 8 p.m. with crafting and merriment, creating lots of different handmade decorations and presents they will then wrap and take home to put under the Christmas tree.

There will also be lots of games and a healthy snack off the 95% local farm-to-table menu.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased in advance online. Tickets will also be available at the door. Cards, cash and Apple Pay are accepted.

No. 14 — An Evening with the Kingston Trio (Hilo, Dec. 13)

Image from Facebook

Fans of this legendary folk trio and 2011 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner have an opportunity to rediscover the band’s timeless music at the historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St., as part of the group’s national “Keep the Music Playing” tour, which celebrates more than 60 years of entertaining audiences everywhere with performances of all its best-loved songs.

Charted hits including “Tom Dooley,” “MTA (He’ll Never Return),” “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” “Scotch & Soda,” “Greenback Dollar,” “A Worried Man,” “Hard Travelin,” “Five Hundred Miles,” “I’m Goin’ Home,” “This Land Is Your Land” and many more are on the setlist, with a special tribute to Arlo Guthrie.

Doors, box office and concessions open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $45 general admission or $70 priority orchestra seating and are available for purchase in advance online. Tickets are $5 more the day of the show.

No. 15 — Holiday Magic (Hilo, Dec. 9)

The ‘Apapane Rising string quartet (Image from Facebook)

‘Tis the season for gathering and enjoying holiday music. The Hilo Woman’s Club, located at 7 Lele St., has again invited The ‘Apapane Rising string quartet to delight the Big Island community with a selection of classical and holiday favorites at 6 p.m.

And that’s not all. Delicious heavy pupus will also be served to tickle your taste buds. This event is one of the most popular of the year, so don’t miss out. It’s going to be a night to remember.

The suggested donation for adult tickets is $35, while those younger than 18 can join the fun with a suggested donation of just $15. All proceeds and donations will go toward supporting the Hilo Woman’s Club scholarship and community project fund.

For more information or to ask about tickets, call 808-935-9838

No. 16 — 2nd annual Winter Wonderland (Waimea, Dec. 8)

Image from Eventbrite

Get into the holiday spirit from 4 to 8 p.m. at Pukalani Stables at the Paniolo Heritage Center, located at 67-139 Pukalani Road. Admission is free.

Visit local artisan booths featuring apparel, jewelry, leather goods, Christmas-themed and custom goods, beachwear, freeze-dried goodies and snacks, home goods and decor plus more to find perfect gifts for you or your loved ones.

Indulge in food and desserts such as sushi, local fusion, cookies, macarons, mochi, boba, lemonade and more from the best in town or stop by the Christmas workshops to create your own goodies. Cozy up with hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies under the starry night sky. There will even be a meet-and-greet with Santa and activities with his elves.

Email to [email protected] for more information.

No. 17 — “The Nutcracker Ballet” (Hilo, Dec. 8-10)

Image from the Palace Theater website

Island Dance Academy and the Palace Theater present this timeless holiday classic on the stage at the historic theater, located at 38 Haili St. in downtown Hilo, with performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Featuring whirling twirling ballerinas, tap-dancing soldiers, sword-fighting combatants and more. As a special bonus, Rick Mazurowski will introduce the shows with Christmas music played on the Mighty Palace Pipe Organ.

Along with new choreography and the reworking of traditional dances, the production is ever-changing, adapting to the dancers’ strengths, including new comical tap dancing cooks.

Doors, box office and concessions open 1 hour prior to showtime. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance online.

No. 18 — Leilani Christmas Market (Leilani Estates, Dec. 10)

Screenshot of image from Art in Leilani website

This event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Leilani Estates Community Center Pavilion, located at 13-3441 Moku St., is designed to offer wonderful gifts for the holiday season by bringing together artists who have created locally made items. There also will be holiday treats, plants and much more.

Come and see what the Big Island community has to offer. Open to the public.

Follow the “Art in Leilani” signs directing you through Leilani Estates. The event is family-friendly, with a playground available for keiki. For more information, click here.

No. 19 — Youssoupha Sidibe live (Honoka‘a, Dec. 9)

Youssoupha Sidibe (Image from Facebook)

Through many collaborations and countless performances over the course of 25 years, this Senegalese West African kora (African harp) player has developed thousands of fans around the world and performed and recorded with many exceptional musicians.

Grammy-nominated for his collaboration with Matisyahu (“Youth”), he has released albums with the late Charles Neville (“Tree of Life”), Midnite (“For All”), Steve Kimock and a duet with Michael Franti (“What I be”) and performed live with India Arie, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Michael Kang of String Cheese Incident, Chris Berry Trio, Shimshai and many others.

Don’t miss your chance to experience how he breaks out of traditional kora styles to create a new style never before heard, blending aspects of reggae and Western music.

The show starts at 7 p.m. at Honoka‘a People’s Theatre, located at 45-3574 Māmane St. Tickets are $20 at the door. All ages welcome.

No. 20 — Phoenix Rising (Hilo, Dec. 13)

Image from Facebook

Don’t miss this live variety and talent show presented by Connections Public Charter School at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St. in downtown Hilo.

Doors, box office and concessions open 30 min prior to each show. Tickets are just $2 and can be purchased online in advance. Children 3 and younger are free.

For more information about the show, call the school at 808-961-3664

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