Top 20 things to do on Big Island for Jan. 18-24: Volcano Awareness Month events, ‘Art is Healing’ exhibit, ‘Riding the Tides of Music’ concert, Mrs. Roper Romp and much more

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It’s January and that means Volcano Awareness Month continues on the Big Island.

Join Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory staff for several special events this week to learn more about the volcanoes we live, work and play on, including a special coffee talk featuring kumu hula Keala Ching of Ka Pā Nā Wai Iwi Ola (The Ancient Waters of Life), a guided walk along the fissure that started the Maunaulu eruption on May 24, 1969, and get a brief history of Kīlauea’s Southwest Rift Zone during a special After Dark in the Park program.

If you’re looking for something more artsy or musical to do this week, check out the opening reception for the seventh annual “Art is Healing” exhibit in Kona, the Kamuela Philharmonic’s winter concert “Riding the Tides of Music” in Waimea, Fantuzzi and the Flexible Band in Hilo, among several other events.

There’s even the inaugural Mrs. Roper Romp being hosted by the Hilo Chapter of the International Order of Mrs. Ropers if you want to dust off your wigs, caftans and chunky baubles to celebrate the “Three’s Company” character.

Here are our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for the week of Jan. 18-24.

No. 1 — Coffee Talk: The Sacred Art of Hula (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Jan. 20)

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Join kumu hula Keala Ching of Ka Pā Nā Wai Iwi Ola (The Ancient Waters of Life) at 9:30 a.m. at the Kahuku Unit Visitor Contact Station in the park’s Kahuku Unit, located near the 70.5-mile marker on Highway 11 in Kaʻū, for a talk story about hula, its history, the dance, significance of the implements and the ornamentation (lei, paʻū etc.).

Kumu started Na Wai Iwi Ola in 2000 and he is a Hawaiian cultural educator, composer, songwriter and spiritual advisor to many Hawaiian organizations. He lives and breathes aloha into his Hawaiian heritage with his strong presence and great heart.

No. 2 — Seventh annual “Art is Healing” exhibit opening reception (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 20)

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Community members and supporters of health care access for all are invited to embrace the healing energy of local art as Hawai‘i Island Community Health Center again presents this juried exhibition, launching with a lively event filled with color, joy and the transformative healing power of art.

The opening reception starts at 6 p.m. under the Kealakehe Pavilion at Hawai‘i Island Community Health Center, located at 74-5214 Keanalehu Drive. Community art lovers, health ambassadors and health center supporters are invited to attend this vibrant celebration of wellness through art, featuring music, pupus and non-alcoholic beverages.


A suggested donation of $10 at the door will go toward the purchase of art. For more information about the exhibit and reception, click here.

No. 3 — “Riding the Tides of Music” (Waimea, Jan. 21)

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Embark on a captivating journey of orchestral beauty with the Kamuela Philharmonic at 2 p.m. on the stage at Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, during its winter concert that will also showcase the winners of the Philharmonic’s 2023/24 Madeline Schatz-Harris Youth Concerto Competition.

The Philharmonic will unveil the world premiere of Hawai‘i Island composer Paul Csige’s Symphony No. 1, titled “Surfing Symphony.” The program also includes a performance of Richard Wagner’s epic “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey” from the opera “Götterdämmerung” and more.

Tickets start at $22 and can be purchased online, by calling the Kahilu Theatre box office at 808-885-6868 or visiting the box office in person from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays.


No. 4 — Mrs. Roper Romp (Hilo, Jan. 20)

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The Hilo Chapter of the International Order of Mrs. Ropers, a community group dedicated to the cult figure and “Three’s Company” character played by Audra Lindley, is thrilled to announce its inaugural Roper Romp.

Dust off your wigs, caftans, and chunky baubles and shake your booty on down from 2 to 5 p.m. to the Regal Beagle, a.k.a. Hilo Town Tavern, located at 168 Keawe St., for 1970s music, drink specials and of course Helen contests. There might even be a special appearance from Stanley.

Those who plan to attend are asked to RSVP on the Facebook event page so the bar has an idea of how many Helens for whom they need to be ready.

No. 5 — Hike Back in Time to the 1969-74 Maunaulu Eruption (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Jan. 20)

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University of Hawai‘i at Hilo professor Lis Gallant leads this two-hour guided walk along the fissure that started the Maunaulu eruption on May 24, 1969. The five-year eruption ultimately built a lava shield, Maunaulu (“growing mountain”), a prominent landmark on Kīlauea volcano’s East Rift Zone. It also sent lava flows to the coast and allowed for detailed observations of eruption processes.

During the walk, which starts at 10 a.m. (meet at the Maunalulu parking lot before) and is part of the park’s special Volcano Awareness Month programs, Gallant describes how fissures form, how lava fountains erupt, how these eruptions create the environment you see and why some lava drained back into the ground.

No. 6 — Fantuzzi and the Flexible Band (Hilo, Jan. 20)

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He was there when conscious music was invented and now Fantuzzi is back with his amazing band for this show from 6 to 9 p.m. at Kukuau Studio, located at 43 Kukuau St. Join the danceable lovefest with the man, the myth, the legend as he weaves through the evening using his unique style of mystic Latin, reggae and Afro-funk music.

Cost to attend is $15 to $20 at the door. All ages are welcome to attend. For more information, click here.

No. 7 — Board Game Wednesday Night (Hilo, Jan. 24)

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It’s the beginning of a new year, which means it’s time to try new things … or rather new games. Every Wednesday in January, the staff of Slow Your Roll, located at 190 Keawe St., will be on hand to help you learn to play “Guillotine,” “Castles of Mad King Ludwig” and “Herstory & Stone Age” for free.

If you don’t like those options, there are more than 100 games available on the wall and you can use all of them for just $5.

Officially, Board Game Night starts at 5 p.m., but some people show up as early as 3 p.m. Ask around and find some time that works for your group. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase and there are other food options within die-rolling distance.

No. 8 — The Wall That Heals (Hilo, Jan. 24-28)

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The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is coming to Hilo. The Wall spreads the healing legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and is also a traveling educational exhibit that explains the history and impact of the war.

It will be on display, 24 hours a day, on Hilo Bayfront after opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. Jan. 24 until 2 p.m. Jan. 28. Admission and parking are free. Guided tours are also available. For more details, click here.

No. 9 — Free Spirit Film Festival (Hilo, Jan. 19-20)

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This special film festival at the historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St., is aimed at sharing beautiful stories, concerns, interests and creativity in all genres of independent films from all around the world.

Twelve incredible films will be showcased on the big screen in the heart of Hilo at various times. Tickets are $20 for a full festival pass, which grants you access to all film programs; $10 general admission and $9 for seniors, students and veterans.

Doors, box office and concessions open 30 minutes prior to each showing. For more information, including a film lineup, or to purchase tickets in advance, click here.

No. 10 — A Brief History of Kīlauea Volcano’s Southwest Rift Zone (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Jan. 23)

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Kīlauea’s Southwest Rift Zone has shown increased earthquake activity recently. What is known about this region and eruptions that have occurred there during the past 200 years or more?

William Ellis, an English missionary, provided the first written documentation of this area, including the “Great Crack” and the 1823 Keaīwa eruption. Older eruptions, such as those from the Kamakaiʻa Hills around 1815 have evolved chemistries not typical of Kīlauea. Other Southwest Rift Zone eruptions occurred in 1868, 1919-20 (Maunaiki), September 1971 and December 1974.

Join Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Drew Downs at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium as he discusses these topics and more during this special After Dark in the Park program in support of Volcano Awareness Month.

No. 11 — ʻĀina to Opu (Land to Belly) Dinner (Hōnaunau, Jan. 20)

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Join the Dragonfly Food Club for a wonderful organic vegetarian or pescatarian dining experience provided by master chef Rakesh Patel at the legendary beautiful Dragonfly Ranch Healing Arts Centre, located at 84-5146 Keala O Keawe Road.

Gather at 5 p.m. to walk the center’s famous visionary Labyrinth and get a site and garden tour of Dragonfly Ranch. Dinner starts at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a harp concert.

Cost is $50. To reserve your space, contact Barbara at 808-328-2159. For more information about the ranch, click here.

No. 12 — Color Your World (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 19)

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This hands-on experience from 4 to 6 p.m. at Keauhou Shopping Center, located at 78-6831 Ali’i Drive, will help kids see the color in the world around them and unlock their creativity. Kids will have the opportunity to experience color in new ways and learn how colors interact with each other, evolving their perception through fun and interactive experiences, activities and crafts.

No registration necessary. While supplies last.

No. 13 — January Chess Tournament (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 20)

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Come show off your chess skills from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hawai‘i Keiki Museum, located in Unit D of the Kaʻū Building at 74-5533 Luhia St., during this special event.

Last pre-lunch game pairing will be at 11:30 a.m., with a lunch break from noon to 1 p.m. featuring Costco pizza for paid competitors. The cost to enter is just $20. Sign up early; the tournament is limited to 25 players.

To pay your entry fee and for more details, click here.

No. 14 — Hilo Caregiver Respite Day (Hilo, Jan. 20)

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Enjoy free daycare for your loved one while you enjoy free caregiver training and stress relief activities combined with a complimentary breakfast and lunch every third Saturday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Hawai‘i Island Adult Care, located at 34 Rainbow Drive.

This month’s session focuses on mindful listening with a balanced food demonstration.

Reserve your spot today by emailing [email protected] or calling 808-480-3733.

No. 15 — Pato Banton and The Now Generation Concert and Ubuntu film (Honoka‘a, Jan. 23)

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Award-winning film director Kudzai Tinago teams up with Grammy-nominated reggae legend Pato Banton and world-renowned keyboard player Antoinette Rootsdawtah on an amazing journey to 10 countries across the continent of Africa to explore and document the ancient philosophy of Ubuntu.

Banton and his band are a force of nature. This is spiritual reggae in action, bringing the best of the SupraUniverse to the Big Island, live and direct. Tickets are $25 for the documentary and concert. Tickets for keiki and seniors are $5 for the movie and $10 for the concert, separately. Stop in at Rising Moon in Honoka‘a to purchase tickets today.

This is an all-ages family affair starting at 6 p.m. at Honoka‘a People’s Theatre, located at 45-3574 Māmane St., with music to get your feet moving and hearts connected, so come out and celebrate the launching of the film, which is soon to be on the International Film Festival circuit!

No. 16 — Midori, Violin (Hilo, Jan. 22)

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The Hawai‘i Concert Society is thrilled to present one of the greatest violinists of the era performing for the first time on the Big Island at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Performing Arts Center, located at 200 W. Kawili St. The event will also feature Ieva Jokubaviciute on piano.

The show will showcase music by J.S. Bach, Gabriel Faure, Maurice Ravel, Clara Schumann and Robert Schumann.

Tickets, which are $25 general admission, $20 for those 60 and older and $10 for students, are available now at The Most Irresistible Shop and Basically Books in Hilo and the UH-Hilo Performing Arts Center box office. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door.

No. 17 — Fairies, Bruised Banana and Laura Lackey’s Rhythm Review (Kawaihae, Jan. 21)

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Head to the Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, for a very special night of fairies and fun as these three visiting bands from California show off their brands of music, get your feet moving and help raise funds to help recovery efforts for the Maui wildfires. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Maui Strong Fund.

Come in your favorite fairy attire to receive special fairy treasures.

Doors at 5:30 p.m. and the show is from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door; fairies 12 and younger are free. You can purchase tickets now at the Blue Dragon Tavern website.

The bands also will be performing from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Jan. 19 at Kukuau Studio in Hilo. Cost is $10 to $20 on a sliding scale. All ages are welcome.

No. 18 — “Tiki Hut” Paint Party (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 20)

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Come be your creative self with excellent professional instruction to create an amazing tropical scene during this special party from 2 to 5 p.m. at Olivia Clare Boutique, located in Bay 5 at 74-5606 Pawai Place, while learning the brushstrokes and techniques to paint a hut and palm trees in the firelight.

Bring your own pupus and cocktails to share with your friends.

All levels are welcome. All supplies will be provided. Cost is $65 to attend. Register now at the Tia Starr Studios website or Olivia Clare Boutique website. Space is limited.

No. 19 — Kids’ DIY-U Workshop: My First DIY Toolbox (Kailua-Kona, Jan. 20)

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Time to get to work! This workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lowe’s Home Improvement, located at 75-5677 Hale Kapili St., will have your little helper eager to tag along on your next home improvement project.

The workshop is hosted by one of Lowe’s Red Vest experts. The store looks forward to building with you and your little ones. Walk-ins start at 1 p.m., but to reserve a time slot for you and your keiki, click here.

No. 20 — Edible Landscaping for Backyards and Beyond! (Volcano, Jan. 20)

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Transform your lanai and lawn, your field and fence, into an abundant oasis of edible and multifunctional plants. Join instructor Zach Mermel of Ola Design Group from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Volcano Art Center Ni‘aulani Campus, located at 19-4074 Old Volcano Road, for this workshop that will explore a range of edible plants that can be grown mauka (mountainside) to makai (oceanside).

A packet of practical readings and resources for further learning is included. Participants also will get to take home some edible plants after the workshop.

The cost to attend is $40, or $30 for Volcano Art Center members, plus a $15 supply fee. For more information or to register, click here.

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