Top 20 things to do on Big Island for Feb. 8-14: Chinese New Year, Valentine’s events abound, but don’t miss annual Wiliwili Festival and more

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!

This Saturday is Lunar New Year, also called Chinese New Year, and several events are happening around the Big Island to celebrate, all of which include the traditional lion dances and activities to help welcome 2024 as the Year of the Dragon.

Valentine’s Day also is just around the corner.

From sipping on some mocktails and shopping with your gal pals to making your own beautiful flower bouquet to give your sweetie, if you’re looking for ways to impress your loved ones and friends, check out some of the activities around the island that would make Cupid himself jealous.

There’s plenty more to do during the next week, too, including the annual Wiliwili Festival in Waikōloa, the bi-annual Plant People Road Show in Kona and several activities at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

Here are our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for Feb. 8-14.


No. 1 — Chihsuan Yang in concert (Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Feb. 8)

Image from Facebook

Experience a transcendent musical experience with violinist, pianist and erhuist Chihsuan Yang, a returning artist-in-residence at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

Yang’s connection with the Hawaiian landscape is profound, and she drew inspiration from the park for her last composition. Despite a recent tragic car accident that tested her resilience, Yang is set to captivate the audience once again with her remarkable musical prowess.

This special free program is from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Kahuku Visitor Contact Station at the park’s Kahuku Unit, located near mile marker 70.5 on Highway 11 in Kaʻū.

No. 2 — Plant People Road Show (Kailua-Kona, Feb. 10)

Courtesy photo

Featuring Big Island mom-and-pop nurseries, this bi-annual sale offers the chance to talk directly to members of the nursery community from around the island. The show will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Makaʻeo Pavilion at Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area, located at 75-5560 Kuakini Highway.

The direct nursery-customer setting also enables growers to meet the public and get feedback while providing expert growing guidance. Growers at this year’s show also will offer fresh-cut orchid and anthurium stems that are the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.

Admission is free. For more information, call 808-987-3231 and follow the show on Facebook.

No. 3 — Bonsai Exhibition (Hilo, Feb. 10)

Image from Facebook

Come see the art and science of bonsai, trees planted in a tray, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the old sumo ring pavilion in Liliʻuokalani Gardens on Banyan Drive.


The exhibition of the authentic Japanese garden is presented by the Hawaiʻi Island Bonsai Association. There is no entrance fee; however, donations are appreciated.

No. 4 — Year of the Dragon Chinese New Year Celebration (Honokaʻa, Feb. 10)

Image from Facebook

Welcome the Year of the Dragon with your favorite Honokaʻa businesses and several special activities throughout the community from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Yau Gong Lion Dance Hawaiʻi dancers will perform at 1 p.m. and there will be dragon dances every hour during the event up and down Māmane Street. The Honokaʻa Heritage Center, located in Suite C at 45-3490 Māmane St., will host taiko drumming at noon and a Chinese calligraphy station throughout the day so you can practice your artistry and calligraphy skills on complimentary scrolls.

The celebration put on by the Honokaʻa Business Association will also include I Ching readings throughout the day, paper lantern making, pop-up vendors, a Chinese New Year selfie wall and tarot readings along with Chinese, Thai and Japanese food trucks and much more.

For more information, email [email protected].

No. 5 — Chinese New Year 2024 Carnival Celebration (Honokaʻa, Feb. 10)

Dance, express and be in celebration of Chinese New Year and Carnival with three special performances from 5 to 10 p.m. at Honokaʻa People’s Theatre.

From 5 to 6 p.m., Senegalese kora, or African harp, player Youssoupha Sidibe will make you throw out all your ideas about what a harpist is, breaking out of tradition to create a new kora style never heard before that blends aspects of reggae and Western music. Cost to attend the show is $10.

Stay for a double-header after that will feature Organic Ecstatic from 6 to 8 p.m., as Grammy winner Chris Berry joins the Bana Kuma Band to bring the polyrhythmic harmonies of South Africa to the People’s Theatre stage. Then, from 8 to 10 p.m., Fanye Afro Euphoric led by Gabriel Fara Toln, one of the most influential African artists of this generation, will perform. The cost for the double-header is $20.

For more information, stop by the theater located at 45-3574 Māmane St., call 808-775-0000, email [email protected] or visit the theater’s website.

No. 6 — Woodturning in Hawaiʻi: A Rich Hawaiian Tradition (Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Feb. 13)

Image from the Friends of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park website

Native Hawaiians have carved wooden bowls for centuries. Originally, these skilled artisans shaped the wood using tools made from coral, lava or pumice stone and they sometimes used shark or stingray skins to finish the surface. The result was the highly prized ʻumeke lāʻau (wooden bowl).

Today, the tradition is carried on by local woodturners who use modern lathes and metal tools. Their skillful work can be seen in galleries, hotels and museums throughout Hawaiʻi. Mark Stebbins of the Big Island Woodturners shares his knowledge and examples of ʻumeke during this After Dark in the Park program at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium.

The event is free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 7 — Galentine’s Sip ‘N Shop (Kailua-Kona, Feb. 9)

Image from Keauhou Shopping Center website.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many in Kailua-Kona are looking for experiences to share with their loved ones. If you are one of them, this event at Keauhou Shopping Center, located at 78-6831 Aliʻi Drive, is right up your alley.

Bring your gal pals or loved ones to the courtyard from 3 to 6 p.m. Feb. 9 for a fun afternoon of shopping and giveaways, all while sipping your favorite mocktails and having a few treats. The first 100 guests will get a free swag bag.

No registration is required to attend. The Friday hula show will follow. For more information, call the shopping center at 808-322-3000 or click here.

No. 8 — Lover’s Day Soiree (Hilo, Feb. 14)

Image from Facebook

After a long 3-year hiatus, this legendary event returns, so gather your loved ones and join The Booch Bar, located at 110 Keawe St., from 6 to 8:30 p.m. for an ʻāina-inspired, three-course prix-fixe menu of heart-crafted cuisine designed and prepared by executive chef and founder Brendan Roberts and chef de cuisine and general manager Hoku Ah Yo.

The event will include a seriously sensuous serenade by Hilo’s own Asha Azama and mouth-watering special beverages from master mixologists.

This will be a full-service and reservation-only dinner. Cost is $50 per person. Seating is limited, so don’t hesitate to reserve your space today by calling 808-498-4779.

No. 9 — Yoga at the Park (Hilo, Feb. 12)

Image from Facebook

Are you looking for a way to stretch your flexibility, improve your sleep, reduce your anxiety and stress, and get stronger? Do you want to do it with beautiful Hilo Bay and Hilo town in the background, surrounded by the lush green space at Liliʻuokalani Gardens on Banyan Drive?

Then come out at 9 a.m. for a yoga class taught by instructor Mariana Keramidas. Cost is $10. For more information about the class and instructor or to sign up, call or text her at 865-409-9135.

No. 10 — 13th annual Wiliwili Festival (Waikōloa, Feb. 10)

Image from Facebook

Wiliwili are keystone species in the lowland dry forest. This year’s festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Waikōloa Dry Forest Preserve, just off Quarry Road, will give those who attend the opportunity to see these beautiful trees in their natural environment and feature exhibitors presenting activities and educational materials.

There will also be a native plant giveaway and opportunities to ask the experts about plant propagation, growing and care. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, as well as Waikōloa Dry Forest merchandise. Guided tours of the forest will be offered throughout the day and a self-guided hike is always an option.

Come prepared with a refillable water bottle, sun protection and solid footwear. There also will be golf cart shuttles between the parking area and the preserve’s front gate throughout the day.

For more information, click here.

No. 11 — Kiʻi: Hawaiian Carving Demonstration (Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Feb. 14)

Acclaimed artist James Kanani Kaulukukui Jr. will share his expertise and the essential role kiʻi played in Hawaiian society during an upcoming event at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. (File photo courtesy of the National Park Service)

Hawaiians carved kiʻi, or images, statues and drawings, to represent forces of nature, guardians and the spirit world. Acclaimed artist James Kaulukukui Jr. will share his expertise and the essential role kiʻi plays in Hawaiian society.

This event, which is part of the park’s ongoing ‘Ike Hana Noʻeau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural programs, will be from 10 a.m to noon in the ʻŌhiʻa Wing, across Crater Rim Drive from Kīlauea Visitor Center.

The event is free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 12 — Waiākea Center Lunar New Year (Hilo, Feb. 10)

Image from Facebook

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon from 4 to 6 p.m. at Waiākea Center, located at 315 Maka’ala St.

Be mesmerized by the lions of Saam Fu Chinese Cultural Arts as they dance around the center, blessing everyone with a prosperous new year. Don’t miss out on this incredible event.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

No. 13 — Build Your Own Flower Bouquet (Hilo, Feb. 10)

Image from Facebook

Create a custom flower bouquet for your sweetheart, just in time for Valentine’s Day, during this workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Big Island Coffee Roasters, located at 76 Kalanianaʻole St.

Learn the art of floral preparation and maintenance, including different flower stems and preparation, and how to wrap your bouquet with floral market paper. Choose from an array of different colors, shapes and sizes.

All flowers, supplies and instruction provided by Puakea Flower Farm. Cost to attend is $45. To register, click here.

No. 14 — Love Party (Hilo, Feb. 10)

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Find a new friend and your next great love during this animal adoption event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Petco in Prince Kūhiō Plaza, located at 111 E. Puainako St. Cats and dogs will be available; all are spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

The event is hosted by Action4Animals Hawaiʻi and partners Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary and Hawaiʻi County Animal Control. For more information, email to [email protected], follow Action4Animals on social media @Action4AnimalsHawaii or visit the organization’s website.

No. 15 — “The Notebook” (Hilo, Feb. 14)

Image from Facebook

The historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St., is offering a special Valentine’s Day presentation of this classic love story about an elderly man who reads to a woman with dementia the tale of two young lovers whose romance is threatened by the difference in their respective social classes.

The movie stars Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. It’s directed by Nick Cassavetes and rated PG-13. The show starts at 7 p.m., with doors, box office and concessions open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $9 for seniors, students and veterans. For more information or to purchase your tickets in advance, click here.

No. 16 — Chinese New Year Celebration (Waikōloa, Feb. 10)

Image from Facebook

Join the Kings’ Shops, located at 69-250 Waikōloa Beach Drive, at 5 p.m. as the shopping center commemorates the Chinese New Year with live entertainment and a traditional Chinese lion dance blessing by Yau Gong Lion Dance Hawaiʻi.

Experience the energy of the lion dance, a symbolic and dynamic display believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. The festive atmosphere and live entertainment will surely create a memorable and joyful celebration.

No. 17 — Flaming Heart Valentine’s Paint Party (Kailua-Kona, Feb. 10)

Image from Facebook

Paint with your loved ones or gift the painting of this beautiful heart, a classic religious and cultural iconic image representing love, you create for someone special. You can use stencil to get the perfect shape and learn to blend color and paint leaf and flame shapes.

Join host Tia Starr Studios to enjoy the Valentine’s spirit with your ʻohana during this special workshop from 2 to 5 p.m. at Da Taste by ʻOhana Q, located in Suite 104 at 75-5742 Kuakini Highway. All experience levels welcome. Materials included. Cost to attend is $55.

You can also enjoy some ono grindz and cocktails. Register now online to reserve your spot.

No. 18 —- Lyrical Lust (Kalapana, Feb. 14)

Image from Facebook

Come out to Sundari Farm and Gardens, located at 12-1092 Kaimu-Makena Homestead Road, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for this special WeDance Valentine’s Day edition.

Curated and mixed by Gratitone, all the groovy dance beats will be sexy songs about relationships, breakups, love and lust. Parental guidance is suggested. Sound healing to be announced.

Email to [email protected] for additional information. Click here to learn more about Sundari Farm and Gardens.

No. 19 — Valentine’s Wine Down Wednesday (Waikōloa, Feb. 14)

Image from Facebook

This event from 5 to 8 p.m. at Johnny’s Restaurant in the Waikoloa Village Golf Club, located at 68-1790 Melia St., will feature an unbeatable combination of food, drinks and music.

Chef Keith Pajinag has crafted a special Valentine’s Day menu that will delight your taste buds. Pair your meal with a fantastic selection of specialty wines and handcrafted cocktails and enjoy live music by Sebrina Barron from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Make this Valentine’s Day unforgettable for you and your sweetheart. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 808-238-0004 or texting to 206-604-1544.

No. 20 — 21st annual Luck of the Irish Golf Tournament (Waikōloa; registration now open, tournament March 16)

Image from Facebook

Whether you’re a seasoned or beginner golfer, join Hawaiʻi Island United Way for an unforgettable day filled with excitement, fun and challenging holes at the stunning Mauna Lani Golf in Waikōloa while helping raise funds to support and strengthen the health, financial stability and education of the Big Island.

Registration is open until Feb. 23. Participants receive breakfast, golfer swag, on-course refreshments, marketing acknowledgment and an awards lunch following the tournament. There also will be opportunities to win prizes and games to make everyone laugh out loud.

For more information about the tournament, click here; call 808-935-6393, extension 6; or email [email protected].

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