Top 20 things to do on Big Island for Dec. 28-Jan. 3, 2024: Several parties and celebrations slated to ring in the New Year

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New Year’s is less than a week away and there’s no lack of parties and celebrations to ring in 2024 happening around the Big Island.

Pound mochi in preparation for the new year at Taishoji Soto Mission in Hilo. Listen to the pitch-perfect voice and guitar of Waylon Nihipali during an End of the Year Country Party at the Grand Naniloa in Hilo.

Have New Year’s Eve dinner at Pueo’s Osteria in Waikōloa or take in one of the many New Year’s events happening throughout the Kailua-Kona area, including one for the kids at Hawai‘i Keiki Museum in Kona.

If you’re still in the Christmas music mood, St. Michael the Archangel Church in Kona is hosting its fifth annual Christmas Classic Concert this week, too.

Here are our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for the week of Dec. 28 to Jan. 3, 2024.

No. 1 — Mochi Tsuki (Hilo, Dec. 30)

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Pounding rice to make mochi rice cakes is an important Japanese tradition in preparation for the new year. Join the Taishoji Soto Mission, located at 275 Kino‘ole St., beginning at 8 a.m. to make mochi in the traditional style, using the usu and kine.

This cultural activity is open to the community. You will get hands-on experience in pounding the mochi rice until smooth. Then, enjoy your labor by eating it with various toppings and even grilled. The event promises fun for all ages.

For more information, contact the mission at 808-935-8407.

No. 2 — End of Year Country Party (Hilo, Dec. 29-30)

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You won’t want to miss this special event with Waylon Nihipali from 7 to 11 p.m. in The Crown Room at the Grand Naniloa Hotel, located at 93 Banyan Drive. Nihipali will sing to your soul to ring in 2024, with his pitch-perfect voice and guitar.


There will be two shows, with the Friday event for people 18 and older and the Saturday show for those 21 and older. Click here to get tickets for the 18 and older show. Click here for tickets to attend the 21 and older event.

No. 3 — New Year’s Celebration (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 31)

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Looking for a way to ring in the New Year with the keiki but don’t want them to stay up late on New Year’s Eve? Hawai‘i Keiki Museum, located at 74-5533 Luhia St., has a fun event for all ages right up your alley.

From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the museum will feature a pole gymnastics performance, aerial acrobatics, music and a lecture/demonstration on the art of performing with taiko. At 11:59 a.m., help countdown to noon with a balloon drop to celebrate.

This will be a great way to celebrate with your littlest family members. Regular museum admission applies. For more information, click here.


No. 4 — New Year’s Eve Party at The Point (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 31)

Image from Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa website

As we bid farewell to the current year and eagerly await the arrival of a new one, Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, located at 78-121 ‘Ehukai St., would be honored to host you for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebration on Pa‘akai Point.

The evening will include live music, delectable appetizers and a midnight champagne toast. Those who attend are encouraged to dress to impress as the event promises to be an elegant affair filled with joy, laughter and a breathtaking backdrop at the point.

For more information or to reserve your spot, click here or call 808-930-4900

No. 5 — Fifth annual Christmas Classic Concert Pō Hemolele (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 29)

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Still in a Christmas mood? This concert at St. Michael The Archangel Church, located at 75-5769 Ali‘i Drive, has you covered.

The show will feature performances by Annu Shionoya, Louis Perroy, Ursula Vietze, Vickey Lee, Marius Stanger, Kaulu Amaral and Walter Nicolas Bacxa. Cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m. with the concert beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $75 each, which includes wine and pupus. Proceeds go directly to reducing the church’s building debt. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 808-326-7771.

No. 6 — New Year’s Eve Dinner (Waikōloa, Dec. 31)

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Celebrate New Year’s Eve with some good food from 5 to 11 p.m. at Pueo’s Osteria in Unit 1201 at the Waikōloa Plaza, located at 68-1820 Waikōloa Road.

The restaurant is offering a special New Year’s Eve prix fixe menu, which will feature dishes such as crudo seared Kona ahi, beef carpaccio, burrata caprese, crab crusted day boat Kona snapper, Big Island mushroom lasagna, house-made cannoli, peppermint stick ice cream and ube gelato.

The cost for dinner is $99 and reservations are required. Click here to reserve your spot.

No. 7 — New Year’s Eve-ish Party (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 31)

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Miss DJ Dee-Luxe hosts this electrifying interactive evening, playing the greatest hits of all time from 6 p.m. to 9:03 p.m. when the mirror ball drops. You’ll truly be a part of the fun during the perfect party for dancing, leaving you and your friends plenty of time to get home before traffic gets tricky or make it to your next New Year’s Eve soiree.

The affair, hosted by the Big Island Social Club in Suite A1 at 74-5583 Luhia St., is only $20 in advance, with food and prizes. Bring your own beverage; soft drinks and sparkling water will be available for purchase. Tickets at the door are $25.

For tickets or more information, call Denise at 970-739-6771.

No. 8 — Butterflies and Bots (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 29)

Image from Hawai’i Keiki Museum website

Keiki can discover the enchanting world of metamorphosis and rolling robots during this drop-off day camp from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Hawai‘i Keiki Museum, located at 74-5533 Luhia St.

Jeff Hill will showcase his paper mache models of butterflies, especially those endemic to Hawai‘i, and answer all your child’s questions. Plus, there’s a techy twist — your child will have the chance to code and command sphero robots, adding an element of hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics fun to their learning experience.

The cost to attend is $45. For more information or to register your keiki, click here.

No. 9 — New Year’s Day Blessing Service (Kealakekua, Jan. 1, 2024)

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Daifukuji Soto Zen Buddhist Temple, located at 79-7241 Māmalahoa Highway, invites the Big Island to start 2024 with a blessing for everyone’s health and safety. All are welcome to attend.

During the service from 10 to 11 a.m., individual blessings will be given by the Rev. Jikō. After the service, attendees can ring the temple bell and enjoy hot soba noodles and fellowship on the temple porch.

Assorted omamori (Buddhist charms) and ofuda (blessing cards) will be available for $5. The white Hawai‘i Kannon omamori is $6. Omamori for dogs and cats also will be available for $5.

No. 10 — New Year’s Eve Party (Kawaihae, Dec. 31)

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Ring in 2024 with Hawai‘i blues legend Lightning Larry Dupio and Fuego, the hottest Latin band in all of the islands, from 6 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. at Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road.

Dupio and his band will perform the early show portion of the party, with Fuego closing out the evening. The night will also include a champagne toast. The tavern also will feature a special New Year’s Eve menu.

Doors are at 5:30 p.m. Dupio’s show is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets for the early show are $25 in advance or $35 at the door; children 12 and younger are free. Tickets for the Fuego portion of the night from 9:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. are $35 in advance or $45 ad the door.

You can purchase tickets now at the Blue Dragon Tavern website.

No. 11 — Monday Night Jazz Jam (Hilo, Jan. 1, 2024)

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The Big Island is invited to ring in 2024 with an all-inclusive jazz jam from 6 to 9 p.m. at Kukuau Studio, located at 43 Kukuau St.

Hosted by the studio every Monday, the jam was created to strengthen the Big Island jazz community through networking and jamming. New Year’s will be no different, so bring your favorite charts and the instrument of your choice or enjoy the vibrations of people improvising together. Just don’t miss the fun.

Free for all ages. For more information, click here.

No. 12 — Grand Slam New Year’s Weekend Celebration (Kea‘au, Dec. 29)

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Get the New Year’s party started early this week from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Big Island Eagles Aerie No. 3642, located at 16-111 Opukahaia St., with a live show by Grand Slam.

The band, comprised of Dr Jeff Giamario, Barney Lindberg, Dave Fricke and Bill Heideman, rocks Hawai‘i with classic rock and blues tunes, getting you up on your feet and on the dance floor. Cover charge is just $10.

No. 13 — Pa‘akai Point Pop-Up Night Market (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 30)

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Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, located at 78-128 ‘Ehukai St., is hosting this special event from 5 to 8 p.m., featuring live music, fresh local cuisine, Kona coffee and fun at the point. Entertainment will be provided by Sefa and Victoria.

Local vendors participating in the resort’s last pop-up market of the year include Kona Brewing Co., Lady Lady In The Kitchen, Jaw Jacker Grindz, Gallery Cuisine, Kona Sandwich Club, Icee Paradise, Oyatsu Hawai‘i and Aloha Fresca.

No. 14 — Rolling Robots (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 1-3, 2024)

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Big Island keiki ages 8 to 12 years old are invited to embark on a coding adventure during this 3-day beginning coding camp, featuring Sphero robots with the same technology as BB-8 from “Star Wars.”

Dive into the basics of programming from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day at Hawai‘i Keiki Museum, located at 74-5533 Luhia St., with interactive challenges, as these spherical companions respond to keiki commands, merging coding with play. Unleash creativity, problem-solving and the excitement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics exploration during this dynamic and fun-filled experience.

No coding experience necessary. Cost to attend is $135. Click here or call 808-731-6311 for more information or to register.

No. 15 — Mister Peanut Butter live (Kawaihae, Dec. 28)

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Mister Peanut Butter is an American alternative rock band from the misty mountain town of Waimea, featuring Mike Bennett on vocals and rhythm guitar, Sam Gruesen on vocals and lead guitar, Josh Hodges on bass, Jason Sear on drums and Kaimalu Harmon on the keyboard.

Come out from 6 to 9 p.m. at Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, and get enthralled by the band’s eclectic catalog of original songs inspired by psychedelia, punk, folk, prog, classic and art rock.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the door; children 12 and younger are free. Purchase tickets now at the Blue Dragon Tavern website.

No. 16 — New Year’s Eve Island Breeze Lū‘au (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 31)

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Celebrate the beginning of 2024 with this special lū‘au event at the Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, located at 75-5660 Palani Road, featuring an enhanced menu and special holiday touches.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and promises to be unforgettable for you and your ‘ohana. For more information or to reserve tickets, click here.

No. 17 — Beaulieu Vineyard Wine Dinner (Kailua-Kona, Dec. 29)

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Come to Pa’akai Point at Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, located at 78-121 ‘Ehukai St., at 5:30 p.m. for an exquisite evening of gastronomic delight featuring a curated selection of wines from Beaulieu Vineyard.

Savor the sunset with a delightful welcome reception featuring a members’ exclusive Beaulieu Vineyard’s release. Indulge in a sumptuous multi-course dinner, perfectly paired with the exceptional Beaulieu Vineyard wines. Experience the pinnacle of wine enjoyment with a special showcase of the prestigious 100-point George De Latour Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

For more information or to reserve your seat, click here.

No. 18 — Ms. Demeanor & The Felons live (Kawaihae, Dec. 29)

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This soul music band gets the party started and keeps it rockin’, covering soul and R&B classics that are sure to keep the dance floor at Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, packed all night long.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the door. You can purchase tickets now at the Blue Dragon Tavern website.

No. 19 — Pre-New Year Celebration with Jazz Mele (Hilo, Dec. 30)

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Celebrate the New Year with vintage jazz standards along with swing, jump blues and Latin grooves that will get you up on your feet and out on the dance floor from 7 to 10 p.m. at Paradise Warehouse, located at 34 Wiwo‘ole St.

The event will feature Lou Ann Gurney on vocals, Alex Czerny on Piano, Jeff Gaeth playing the saxophone, Mark Panek and Diana Webb on base and John Robinson playing the drums.

There is a $15 cover charge at the door. Bring your own beverages or purchase drinks by donation at the Tiki Bar. For more information, email to [email protected].

No. 20 — Register for Big Island Chess Tournament 2024 (Kea‘au, Feb. 24, 2024)

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Registration is now open for the Big Island Chess Club’s 2024 chess tournament at the Puna Covenant Church Youth/‘Ohana Building. located at 16-647 Old Volcano Road. The tournament will begin at 9 a.m.

Beginners are welcome and there will be a reserve section for children and adults just learning to play and players rated below 1,000. There also will be an open section for tournament players and anyone who wants to get a national rating. The top three finishers in both sections will each be awarded a trophy, medal and cash prize.

There is a $40 entry fee and an annual membership to the U.S. Chess Federation is required to play in the open section. Adults can join by clicking here. Players younger than 18 can get a discounted 1-year membership for just $10 here.

To register; click here. For more information, text or call Joe at 808-769-3664 or email to [email protected].

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