Top 20 things to do on Big Island for Jan. 4-10: Music, comedy, job fairs and more

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It’s the beginning of a new year and there are plenty of events happening during the next week around the Big Island, giving residents and visitors alike the chance to start 2024 with music, comedy and more.

Are you looking for jobs or seeking a new career? There is a job fair this week at Kohanaiki in Kailua-Kona and a hiring event at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport in Kona that you might want to check out.

If you want to get your groove on, Spanish Brass is performing at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Performing Arts Center, Blue Dragon Tavern in Kawaihae has a couple of bands on tap and the Hawaiian Sanctuary in Pāhoa will feature Grammy-nominated African harp player Youssoupha Sidibe. There’s also a performance in Kona by Broadway actor Sam Primack and you can learn how to play ʻukulele at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Ever wanted to learn how to do improv? There are several upcoming workshops in West Hawai‘i that you might want to look into and up your comedy game.

And don’t forget that it’s Volcano Awareness Month on the Big Island. The national park is having several events in observance.

Here are our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for the week of Jan. 4-10.


No. 1 — Birth of Kahuku (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Kahuku Unit, Jan. 7)

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Join a park ranger on an easy 1.5-hour, 1.5-mile walk to explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku, located near mile marker 70.5 on Highway 11 between Nāʻālehu and Ocean View, during this event in support of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s Volcano Awareness Month.

Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Kahuku Visitor Contact Station and then traverse the vast 1868 lava flow and see different volcanic formations, including the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. You’ll also learn about the Kanawai o Pele — the natural laws of land building that govern the volcano goddess’ realm.

No. 2 — Becoming an Astronomer: A Hilo Boy’s Journey to the Stars (Hilo, Jan. 4)

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Devin Chu, a postdoctoral researcher with the UCLA Galactic Center Group, shares his journey of growing up in Hilo to fulfilling his dream of becoming an astronomer during this special event at 5:30 p.m. in Moanahōkū Hall at ʻImiloa Astronomy Center, located at 600 ʻImiloa Place.


Learn about Chu’s search for binary star systems around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole and the role Maunakea observatories play in answering the biggest questions in physics today. The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Admission is free for ʻImiloa members and $8 for the general public. To register, visit ʻImiloa or click here. For more information, call 808-932-8901 or visit ʻImiloa’s front desk.

No. 3 — Spanish Brass (Hilo, Jan. 9)

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Surprise someone this holiday season or get the gang together to attend this concert that starts at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Performing Arts Center, located at 200 W. Kawili St. The band will perform music from throughout the centuries including from Bach, Albeniz, Bizet, de Falla, Chaplin, Piazzola and more.

Tickets are available now at The Most Irresistible Shop and Basically Books in Hilo and at the UH-Hilo Performing Arts Center box office. Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for people 60 and older and $10 for students.


Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door on the night of the concert.

No. 4 — Action 4 Animals Hawai‘i Adoption Event (Hilo, Jan. 6)

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Come out from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Petco, located at 111. E. Puainako St., to find a new furry friend. There will be cats and dogs available for adoption during this event, which will be co-hosted by Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Action 4 Animals Hawai‘i is a group of volunteers, fosters and big-hearted animal lovers on the Big Island. The organization’s goal is to get as many at-risk animals adopted into loving homes as possible and help control the animal population on the island. Since 2022, Animal 4 Animals has participated in the adoption of more than 800 Big Island animals.

No. 5 — Kīlauea Volcano’s Crater-Filling Summit Eruptions (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Jan. 9)

Image from the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park website

Following the dramatic collapses in 2018, the summit of Kīlauea volcano has been in a multi-year phase of crater filling. During this presentation beginning at 7 p.m. in the park’s Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium, learn about five separate eruptions, ranging in duration from about a week to more than a year, have filled Halema‘uma‘u crater with lava flows and lava lakes.

These eruptions have been accompanied by ever-changing geophysical signals recorded by the dense monitoring network. Join Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick as he summarizes the recent activity at Kīlauea summit and highlights its patterns of behavior and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory monitoring techniques.

This After Dark in the Park program supports the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s Volcano Awareness Month. Free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 6 — Ringing in the New Year (Pāhoa, Jan. 7)

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Come to the Hawaiian Sanctuary, located at 13-3194 Pāhoa-Kalapana Road, from 1 to 4 p.m. for an afternoon of music by Grammy-nominated Youssoupha Sidibe, a Senegalese West African kora (African harp) player, to ring in the new year.

Youssoupha breaks out of traditional kora styles to create a new style, blending aspects of reggae and Western music to create a new style.

Other special guests also will be part of the afternoon’s festivities and there will be elixirs and homemade treats available. You also get a free drink with your ticket, which starts at $15 and can be purchased online.

No. 7 — Kohanaiki Job Fair (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 6)

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Whether you’re seeking a position in hospitality, landscaping, sports and recreation or administration, this private club and community’s diverse range of opportunities caters to professionals at every stage of their career.

Stop by from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the entry gates, located at 73-2055 Ala Kohanaiki, to hear about all the benefits of being part of the Kohanaiki family and what is available.

No. 8 — Sip ‘n’ Ride with Trivia (Honoka‘a, Jan. 6)

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Want to spend time with others who love wine and horses? Want to learn some horse trivia? Then this event from 2 to 4 p.m., hosted by Woman of Horses and Tina Derby at 44-2595 Kalopa Road, complete with horses and an ocean view is for you.

Those who participate will get a lesson and have time to talk to others with common interests.

Must be 21 or older. Bring your own wine. Space is limited. For more information, call Woman of Horses at 929-525-8306.

No. 9 — CHICKSHOP Improv Workshop (Kainaliu, Jan. 6)

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Sometimes, women need a place all their own to play and explore their own magic. During this event for women from 4 to 6 p.m. at Aloha Theatre, located at 79-7384 Hawai‘i Belt Road, instructor Keli Semelsberger, a luminary in the improv comedy realm, will lead participants through a series of easy, fun and inspiring exercises that will have everyone laughing and bonding on a deeply hilarious level.

This is a one-off workshop with the possibility of more depending on interest. So come recapture your playful spirit and your innate sense of joy and wonder with other women.

The workshop is for those 18 and older and costs $25 to attend. Register by clicking here.

No. 10 — Learn to Play ʻUkulele (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Jan. 10)

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The modern Hawaiian ʻukulele evolved from the machete de braga, a small stringed instrument introduced in the late 1800s by Portuguese immigrants to Hawaiʻi.

Join kumu hula Meleana Manuel, who will show you how to play simple and fun Hawaiian songs, at either 10 a.m. or noon in the ʻŌhiʻa Wing across Crater Rim Drive from Kīlauea Visitor Center. Several ʻukulele will be provided or you can bring your own.

This is part of the park’s ongoing ‘Ike Hana Noʻeau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural programs. Admission is free, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 11 — Hoku Concert Series (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 6)

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Broadway is coming to Kona in support of arts education. This event from 5 to 7 p.m. at a private residence, which will benefit host West Hawai’i Dance Theatre and Academy, will feature Sam Primack accompanied by Daniel Rudin.

Primack, an Arizona Native, has toured with and starred in the Tony Award-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” and played Pugsley in the second national tour of “The Addams Family.” He also was a finalist at The Jimmy Awards. Rudin is an accomplished Broadway pianist, music director and composer.

For more information about the show, which will also include light bites and beverages, call West Hawai‘i Dance Theatre and Academy at 808-329-8876 or email [email protected]. To purchase tickets, with a minimum suggested price of $125, click here.

No. 12 — Intuitive Readings by Claudia (Hawi, Jan. 4)

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This gifted Intuitive reader who has read for many Raise Your Vibration customers throughout the past year with much success is offering readings every Thursday in January.

Come out from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Raise Your Vibration Hawai‘i, located in Building No. 1 at the shopping and business plaza at 55-3410 ʻAkoni Pule Highway, for an expansive experience.

No. 13 — Hiring Event at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport (Kalaoa, Jan. 8-10)

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PrimeFlight Aviation Services is hiring! The business will be making on-the-spot job offers at the airport, located at 73-200 Kupipi St., during these events from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Monday through Wednesday. No experience is required. Career growth and benefits offered. Walk-ins are welcome and encouraged.

Bring two forms of government ID (driver’s license, state-issued ID, birth certificate, passport, etc.) and apply online before attending a hiring event. Must be at least 18 years old.

If you are customer service-oriented and enjoy working as part of a team, PrimeFlight would love to speak with you. Advancement opportunities also are available throughout the company’s growing network. Enjoy paid time off, benefits and a 401K with company match.

Click here for additional details.

No. 14 — Improv Comedy Workshop (Kealakekua, Jan. 7)

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Join 30-year improv comedy instructor and performer Keli Semelsberger from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at New Thought Center of Hawai‘i, located at C302 at Pualani Terrace at 81-6587 Māmalahoa Highway, to learn about improv comedy.

Improv is all about creating memorable moments and spreading joy. If you’re ready to take the stage, make people laugh and be part of an incredible comedy community, this workshop hosted by Big Island Comedy Theater is for you.

Cost to attend is on a sliding scale of $10 to $25 and there will be discussion about placing people on a Kona iMprov team and ongoing classes in Kona. For more information, email to [email protected]. To register online, click here.

No. 15 — Tomi Isobe and the Blues Dogs live (Kawaihae, Jan. 4)

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Tomi Isobe is a dynamic blues guitarist and showman who has performed for more than 40 years on the mainland and internationally. Though the blues is his first love, he plays a wide variety of music, including rock, R&B and funk, covering artists such as Santana, Stevie Wonder and Stevie Ray Vaughn as well as blues artists such as BB King, Muddy Waters and T-Bone Walker.

Tomi will be joined at Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, by the Blues Dogs, featuring Ashley Harding on sax, Donovan Demecillo on bass and Tim Taylor on drums.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show is from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the door; children 12 and younger are free. Purchase tickets at the Blue Dragon Tavern website.

No. 16 — Teen Improv Comedy Workshop (Kainaliu, Jan. 6)

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This improv comedy basics workshop, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Aloha Theatre, located at 79-7384 Hawai‘i Belt Road, is meant to gauge the enthusiasm of teens ages 13 to 18 for an ongoing program.

Instructor Keli Semelsberger’s teaching style is high energy, low stress and inclusive. All exercises are done in groups, so no participant ever feels singled out. This a fun, safe place for teens to express themselves through the art of improv.

Cost to attend is $25 and you can register online.

No. 17 — Community Play and Potluck (Honoka‘a, Jan. 9)

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Join Open Hearts Community Congregation from 3 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday at 45-163 Kia Manu Road for this event. Everyone who attends is asked to bring a game to play, dish to share, performance to entertain with, crafts to create and ideas for growth.

Consider bringing food grown and/or produced on the island and keep in mind community members who are vegan and/or gluten-free. There will be a limited number of plates, cups, bowls and cutlery, so bring your own and also possibly donate some to the community congregation.

Open Hearts Community Congregation is a budding community and would love to have you be a part from the ground up.

No. 18 — Thursday Tours: Historic Hawaiian Church (Puakō, Jan. 4)

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Drop by from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays at Hokuloa United Church of Christ, located at 69-1600 Puakō Beach Drive, to tour of the historic Hawaiian church, talk story with the volunteers and offer silent prayers.

Located on the west coast of the Big Island, this active progressive church welcomes everyone. Bring your picnic lunch and enjoy the lawn and the view. Come back and worship with the congregation at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

No. 19 — PrankStars live (Kawaihae, Jan. 5)

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The band is performing the music of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band at Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, with an all-star collection of musicians featuring Scott Guberman (Phil Lesh, Gilmore Project) on keys, Troll Garcia (Maui Pranksters) on guitar, Mike Meagher (Stu Allen, Saints of Circumstance) on bass and Michael St. John (Cast of Clowns) on drums.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door; children 12 and younger are free. Purchase tickets at the Blue Dragon Tavern website.

No. 20 — “Priscilla” (Hilo, Jan. 4 and 6)

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Directed by Sophia Coppola and starring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, this movie tells the story of a teenage Priscilla Beaulieu meeting Elvis Presley. The man, who was already a meteoric rock-and-roll superstar, becomes someone entirely unexpected in private moments: a thrilling crush, an ally in loneliness, and a vulnerable best friend.

The movie, rated R, will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St. Doors, box office and concessions open 30 minutes before each showing.

Tickets are $10 general admission or $9 for seniors, students and veterans. They can be purchased in advance at the Palace Theater website.

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