Top 20 things to do on the Big Island for Jan. 11-17: Continue the New Year’s celebration in Pepe‘ekeo, join the Men of Pa‘a for a Makahiki cultural festival, attend Volcano Awareness Month events and much more

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The Big Island once again has no lack of activities, events, shows and entertainment happening during the next week.

If you’re looking to continue the celebration for the new year, join the Pepe‘ekeo Community Development Corporation for a New Year’s Gathering this weekend. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is hosting a couple of Volcano Awareness Month events, including a guided hike of the iconic Kīlauea Iki Crater and a discussion about past eruptions near the summit of the volcano.

The national park also will be free for everyone to access on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Men of Pa‘a are hosting their inaugural Makahiki cultural festival and Hawai‘i County’s spring 2024 classes, including drawing for keiki, beginner to advanced hula, qi gong, yoga and knitting, also are getting underway.

You can even experience opera at Kahilu Theatre in Waimea this week.

Here are the top 20 things to do on the Big Island for the week of Jan. 11-17.


No. 1 — Kīlauea Iki Crater guided hike (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Jan. 13)

National Park Service photo

The 4-mile Kīlauea Iki Trail is one of the park’s most iconic, where hikers emerge from the intersection of lush native rain forest and eruption onto a steaming crater floor.

Delve into the secrets of Kīlauea Iki with Ranger Mequette Gallegos from 10 a.m. to about noon. Discover how fountains of lava from the giant brick-red cone Puʻupuaʻi jetted up 1,900 feet in 1959 and left behind a giant bathtub ring of lava residue on the crater walls.

This is part of the special programs for Volcano Awareness Month. Meet Gallegos at the Kīlauea Iki parking lot. Wear sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes or boots, protective gear for sun and rain and bring water and a snack.

No. 2 — Men of Pa‘a Makahiki Cultural Festival (Pāhoa, Jan. 13)

Image from Facebook

This inaugural event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pāhoa Recreation Center, located behind Billy Kenoi District Park at 15-3022 Kauhale St., celebrates Hawaiian culture, community resilience and holistic wellness.

The festival is a testament to the commitment to cultural revival and community healing. Participants are invited to engage in a variety of activities including traditional Hawaiian games, educational workshops, cultural performances and the sharing of local cuisine.

Admission is free and all are welcome. For more information, call Iopa Maunakea at 808-960-3893.

No. 3 — Opera Aloha (Waimea, Jan. 14)

Courtesy image

This is a one-of-a-kind multi-cultural and multi-genre showcase of world-renowned opera artists, during which the universal language of music takes center stage at 3 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road.


The celebration of power and beauty of opera, where talent from diverse backgrounds harmonizes to create an unforgettable experience, will feature a lineup of rising stars including soprano Maria Valdes, mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz, tenor Sid Chand, bass-baritone Samson Setu and pianist/producer Ronny Michael Greensberg.

Tickets are available for purchase now online. The show is also part of the Kahilu Overture program, so children ages 8 to 18 are admitted free when accompanied by a ticket-holding parent. Use promo code OVERTURE at checkout (maximum of three children per adult).

No. 4 — East Hawai‘i spring 2024 classes (Hilo, various dates)

Image from Facebook

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is offering several classes during the spring in East Hawai‘i, beginning this week in Hilo. Presented by the department’s Culture and Education Division, the classes include drawing for keiki, beginner to advanced hula, qi gong, yoga and knitting.

Classes are hosted at the Hilo Armory, located at 28 Shipman St. For more information, including a schedule for classes, click here or call the Culture and Education Division at 808-961-8706.

No. 5 — Fee-free day for Martin Luther King Jr. Day (All fee-charging national parks, including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Jan. 15)

National Park Service photo

Are you off work or have some extra time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Maybe you just want to get out of the house and take in some fresh air and spectacular views. Then head to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. It won’t cost a penny.

All fee-charging national parks are free to enter for everyone Jan. 15 in honor of the legacy of the late civil rights leader.

No. 6 — Variety Society! (Kalapana, Jan. 13)

Image from Facebook

Immerse yourself in a night of circus, cabaret, dance, humor and fun with skilled ambient performers, a DJ ready to make your face melt and a chance to showcase your style in best-dressed costume contests for men and women costume, with a a chance to win $150.

Join the celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. at The Oasis, located at 12-4575 Pāhoa-Kalapana Road, and experience a night of pure enjoyment. Hosted by Big Island Entertainment. Must be 21 or older to attend. Cost is $25.

No. 7 — “Barbie” (Hilo, Jan. 12)

Image from Facebook

Wear your Barbie’s best and strut down the pink carpet at the historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St., for this special showing of “Barbie.” Rated PG-13, the movie directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and Issa Rae, follows Barbie as she suffers a crisis that leads her to question her world and her very existence.

Doors, box office and concessions open at 6:30 p.m. The movie starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission or $9 for seniors, students and veterans. You can purchase yours in advance online.

No. 8 — Groundation live (Hilo, Jan. 11)

Image from Facebook

More than two decades into a storied career, Groundation has helped define American roots reggae while building a large and loyal following in Europe, South America and the United States, where the group has been a consistent major headliner and festival attraction for the past 15 years.

The journey continues as the group spreads their words and music to the four corners of the world, including this concert from 8 to 11 p.m. at The Crown Room at the Grand Naniloa Hotel, located at 93 Banyan Drive. Doors open at 7 p.m.

All ages are welcome. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online.

If you can’t make it to the Hilo show, there will be another Groundation live performance Jan. 12 at Ola Brew in Kona. Click here for more details and to purchase tickets.

No. 9 — Discover Your Kuleana (Waimea, Jan. 14)

Courtesy image

You can’t know where you’re going without knowing where you came from. Guest presenter Pomai Bertelmann, a Waimea educator and a longtime leader of the Na Kalai Wa‘a wayfinding community, captained the Hōkūleʻa for the final leg of its Mālama Honua worldwide voyage and will speak about navigating kuleana (responsibility) through the names of places.

The entire community is invited to this free event from 3 to 5 p.m. at Anna Ranch, located at 65-1840 Kawaihae Road. The program will begin with sharing of an oli (chant) and include hearing from two Waimea nonprofits that welcome volunteers to support their programming.

Keiki activities and light snacks will be provided. For more information, click here.

No. 10 — Past Eruptions Near the Summit of Kīlauea (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Jan. 16)

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

Kīlauea has erupted five times within Kaluapele, the caldera at the summit, since 2020. Each eruption has been accompanied by a period of unrest in the form of earthquakes and ground deformation within and outside the summit caldera.

Join University of Hawai‘i at Hilo geology professor Steve Lundblad at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium as he explores past eruptions near the summit and structural features such as the Koa‘e fault zone. Learn what current monitoring observations and past eruptions can tell us about where we might expect to see future eruptions and where lava is less likely to erupt.

This After Dark in the Park program is part of Volcano Awareness Month.

No. 11 — Coffee & EV (Hilo, Jan. 13)

Image from Facebook

All electric vehicle owners are invited to share their vehicles, get questions addressed and collaborate on all things EV and EV charging from 9 to 11 a.m. at Just Cruisin’ Coffee, located at 835 Kīlauea Ave.

This is the Big Island EV Association’s first Coffee & EV meet-ups of the year. The public is invited in case anyone interested in EVs and looking to make the transition can get help.

No. 12 — New Year’s Gathering (Pepe‘ekeo, Jan. 14)

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Pepe‘ekeo’s New Year’s Gathering is coming soon. This fun-filled family evening from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Kula‘imano Community Center, located at 28-2891 Alia St., will be a time to not just ring in 2024 but for celebration and neighbors in this East Hawai‘i community.

Bring your favorite potluck main dish and a salad or dessert to share. Rice, and drinks (water and juice) will be provided. There also will be live entertainment, lucky number drawings, make-and-take activities and games.

For menu sign-up, call Debbie at 808-936-1477 or Junie at 808-854-5706. For questions, call Wanda at 808-895-2172 or Vicki at 808-557-9936

No. 13 — Art + Nature: Creating Paper, Inks, Pigments and Sketchbooks (Hōlualoa, Jan. 12-16)

Image from Facebook

This 5-day workshop at the Donkey Mill Art Center, located at 78-6670 Māmalahoa Highway, will focus on sustainable, land-based art practices informed by indigenous and contemporary approaches in papermaking, natural pigments, bookmaking and sketching.

The program for ages 16 and older, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and instructed by Angaea Cuna, Andrea Dezso and Avalon Paradea, will teach participants concrete skills they can adapt to materials and environments wherever they live.

For more information or to register, click here.

No. 14 — Chili Dinner and Bingo (Nānāwale, Jan. 12)

Image from Facebook

Come on down the second Friday of each month at 6 p.m. to VFW Post 3830, located at 899 Maluhia Road, to talk story, play bingo, enjoy ono grindz and support local veterans. Those who attend receive two free bingo cards with dinner.

Everyone is welcome. Suggested donation is $10 per person. Just follow the blue VFW signs once you turn into Nānāwale.

No. 15 — Horse Camp (Honoka‘a, Jan. 15)

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Looking for something for your kid to do on a 3-day weekend? Are they interested in learning about horses? Then this camp is for them.

Hosted by Woman of Horses and Tina Derby from 8:30 a.m. to noon at 44-2595 Kalopa Rd., the event will teach keiki about safety around horses, how to get them ready for a riding lesson, ride them and become friends with the horses.

Sign up soon. Space is limited to six participants. For more information or to ask about registration, call 929-525-8306.

No. 16 — Green Day “Saviors” Listening Party (Waimea, Jan. 13)

Image from Facebook

Uila Records, located at 65-1227 Opelo Rd., is hosting this special album release party at 1 p.m. Green Day’s 14th studio album will be released to the public Jan. 19, but the Waimea record store is among a select few independent stores around the world to have an exclusive first listen a week before it’s release.

There will also be drinks and snacks available for those who attend.

The store will have exclusive lyric books, pins, posters and shirts only available there. Space is limited, so once the store is full, no one else will be able to enter. People can begin lining up at 12:45 p.m. outside.

No. 17 — By and Beyond the Body with Holly Kostura (Kealakekua, Jan. 12-14)

Image from Facebook

The skillful practice of āsana and prānāyāma cultivates a balanced, tranquil state of mind. In this workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at Big Island Yoga Center, located at 81-6623 Hawai‘i Belt Rd., participants will learn how to use these two limbs of yoga to reach by and beyond the body-mind into the heart of all that yoga has to offer.

The afternoon sessions will be focused on practicing yoga as a means to alleviate depression, reduce anxiety and cultivate composure. The classes will be instructed by senior certified iyengar yoga teacher Holly Kostura.

For more information or to register, click here.

No. 18 — Unko Ponch and ‘Ukulele Music Under the Moon and Stars (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 13)

Image from Facebook

Come out from 7 to 10 p.m. on the front lawn at Oceans Sports Bar, located at 75-5811 Ali‘i Dr., on the second Saturday of each month to enjoy live music by Kona’s own Unko Ponch, who will be followed by another Kona legend DJ Bodie.

Don’t miss this chance to support local musicians and business. For more information, call 808-990-4589.

No. 19 — Blue Monday Blues with Colin John (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 15)

Image from Facebook

Willie’s Hot Chicken and Colin John in Kona? Yessah!

This special concert from 5 to 8 p.m. at Willie’s Hot Chicken, located at 74-5599 Pawai Place, features a musician who Michael Molenda of Guitar Player Magazine said would be what Jimi Hendrix might have sounded like had he “abandoned the rat race, moved to Hawai‘i, taken up surfing and let the sun and waves bestow their laid-back highs.”

To RSVP for the show, click here.

No. 20 — Feast and Fire Lūʻau (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 11)

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Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, located at 78-128 ‘Ehukai St., invites everyone from 5 to 8 p.m. for a spectacular cultural experience on Monday and Thursday evenings.

Sit under the stars and feast on a generous spread of mouth-watering island fare including kalua pork, taro rolls with lilikoi butter and more while Traditions Hawai’i’s award-winning cast of dancers, musicians and artists bring the stage to life through traditional dance, live theater and music.

Listen to the sound of the conch shell. See the torch-lighting ceremony. Enjoy Hawaiian arts and crafts and indulge in an extravagant lūʻau feast. For more information or to reserve your spot, click here.

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