Top 10 things to do on Big Island for June 13-19: Father’s Day Blues Jam, The Mākaha Sons live, O-Bon Fest 2024 and much more

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Whether it’s a Father’s Day filled with blues music with a special house band at Kukuau Studio in Hilo, the harmonies and banter of icons The Mākaha Sons live at the Palace Theater in Hilo, a new market experience in Waikōloa or donating blood in Kailua-Kona to help Special Olympics Hawaiʻi athletes, there’s plenty to do on the Big Island once again during the next week.

There’s also the chance to learn about traditional Hawaiian salt gatherers, meet June artist-in-residence writer and novelist Leah Newsom and watch a hula performance by Unulau all happening throughout the next several days at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

And don’t miss O-Bon Fest 2024 in Kailua-Kona or an opportunity to help clean up the tea house garden at the famous Liliʻuokalani Gardens in Hilo.

There’s even the Mini Gamers Swap Meet at Gam3Escape in Hilo, chock full of items including tabletop card games, anime-related merchandise, stuffed animals, toys, collectibles and more.

Here are our top 10 things to do on the Big Island for June 13-19.

No. 1 — Father’s Day Blues Jam (Hilo, June 16)

Image from Facebook

When: 6 to 9 p.m.

Location: Kukuau Studio, 43-D Kukuau St.

The community asked and Kukuau Studio listened. This Father’s Day, enjoy a classic blues jam with an all-star house band on your favorite Hilo stage.

The house band lineup includes Dr. Jeff on guitar, Dave Fricke playing harmonica, Dan Taylor and, Bill Heideman beating the drums and percussion, Gary Kort on keys and Perry Santoro strumming the bass, along with some special guests.

Everyone sings. Bring your axe and be ready to wail. Free for all ages, but donations are welcome. Only at Kukuau Studio.


No. 2 — The Mākaha Sons live in concert (Hilo, June 15)

Image from Facebook

When: 7 p.m. (doors, box office and concessions open at 6 p.m.)

Location: Palace Theater, 38 Haili St.

The Mākaha Sons, champions of the rich heritage of Hawaiian culture, bring their iconic award-winning harmonies and joyful banter back to the historic Palace Theater as part of the “Hawaiian Roots” concert series for benefit of the theater.

Tickets, which can be purchased online in advance, are $35 general admission and $45 priority seating to watch these icons whose commitment to keeping traditional Hawaiian music alive has resonated with audiences worldwide.


Cost for tickets is $5 more the day of the show. For more information, call the theater at 808-934-7010 or stop by from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

No. 3 — Queens’ Culinary Market (Waikōloa, June 13)

Screenshot of image from Queens’ Culinary Market website

When: 3:30 to 6 p.m.

Location: Queens’ Marketplace, 69-201 Waikōloa Beach Drive

Get ready for this new culinary market experience that showcases Big Island-grown and made products at Queens’ Marketplace in Waikōloa. The market makes its debut this week and will continue every second and fourth Thursday of every month throughout the shopping center.

Featuring 20 local farmers and businesses, with current vendors including Ancient Tea Leaf Farm, ʻAkaka Falls Farms, Big Island Smoked, Hāmākua Creations, Hawaiian Hotties, Kona Salt Farm, Spicy Ninja Sauce and more, the twice-a-month bazaar celebrates the rich culinary ingenuity of Hawai’i Island with a diverse selection of local products including fresh produce, flowers, meat, seafood and value-added treats such as coffee, honey and jams. Vendors, however, are subject to change.

There also will be live entertainment, a beer garden, talk story sessions so guests can interact with vendors or learn about and support the work of Big Island nonprofit organizations and Queens’ Marketplace merchants will participate with live art demonstrations and sidewalk sales.

For more information, click here. You can also follow Queens’ Marketplace on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news and updates.

No. 4 — “Give Blood. Empower Athletes” blood drive (Kailua-Kona, June 18-20)

Image from Blood Bank of Hawaiʻi website

When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 18, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 19 and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 20

Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Kona Stake, 75-230 Kalani St.

Blood Bank of Hawaiʻi is partnering with and giving back to Special Olympics Hawaiʻi this summer through this campaign in which each donor can double their impact as the blood bank will make a monetary donation to support the Special Olympics Hawaiʻi mission of helping island athletes reach their full potential.

The campaign also strives to address the 15% dip in blood donations that typically occurs during the summer. Furthermore, the initiative helps ensure Special Olympics Hawaiʻi athletes can compete at no cost.

To kick off the season, the blood bank is hosting a Kona blood to rally the Big Island community to meet the ongoing demand for blood donations statewide. For more information or to schedule a donation, click here or contact the blood bank at 808-848-4745.

No. 5 — Salt Gatherers of Hawaiʻi (Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, June 18)

Image from the National Park Service website

When: 7 p.m.

Location: Auditorium, Kīlauea Visitor Center, 1 Crater Rim Drive

Did you know the first major export from Hawaiʻi was not sugar, pineapples, or even sandalwood? By 1786, numerous ships stopped in Hawai‘i to provision and created a tremendous demand for paʻakai, Hawaiian sea salt.

Hawaiian paʻakai allowed for the preservation of fish and meat, and enabled Hawaiians to populate districts less suited for agriculture. Join archaeologist and manager of the parkʻs Cultural Resources program, Summer Roper Todd, as she leads those who attend in the footsteps of traditional Hawaiian salt gatherers.

This presentation is part of the park’s ongoing After Dark in the Park series. It is free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 6 — Volunteer Day at the tea house garden (Hilo, June 15)

Image from Facebook

When: 8 a.m. to noon

Location: Liliʻuokalani Gardens, 49 Banyan Drive

Join Friends of Liliʻuokalani Gardens for this event to help clean up the tea house garden.

Wear closed-toe shoes. Bring gloves and your favorite gardening tool. Some gloves and tools will be available. Be ready to clean and weed around the tea house.

Cold water and beverages will be provided. For more information, contact Friends of Liliʻuokalani Gardens by calling 808-895-8130 or email to

No. 7 — Mini Gamers Swap Meet (Hilo, June 15)

Image from Facebook

When: 1 to 5 p.m.

Location: Gam3Escape, 57 Shipman St.

Gam3Escape is excited to host the return of this special event.

Various vendors will participate, with items including tabletop card games, anime, stuffed animals, toys, collectibles and more. Pokémon, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Lorcana cards, including slabs, will be available. There also will be cookies, snacks and other items, too, if you happen to get a little hungry while you peruse everything.

Stop by, rain or shine, for this special indoor event. Free admission. For more information, contact the game store by calling 808-498-4095 or email to You can also visit the Gam3Escape website.

No. 8 — Meet June artist-in-residence writer and novelist Leah Newsom (Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, June 15)

Image from Facebook

When: 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Location: Kahuku Visitor Contact Station, south of the 70.5-mile marker on the mauka (mountainside) of Highway 11 in Kaʻū

Born and raised in Arizona, the award-winning Newsom brings her extensive literary background and passion for environmental storytelling to the national park.

Central to her residency will be the development of her forthcoming novel. She plans to explore the Maunaulu lava flows and experience the landscape as a living, breathing character.

Newsom will shed light on her literary journey, creative process and the discoveries she will make while developing her craft. Her talk is free to attend.

No. 9 — O-Bon Fest 2024 (Kailua-Kona, June 15)

Image from Facebook

When: 5 to 9 p.m.; bon dance starts at 6 p.m.

Location: Makaʻeo Pavilion, Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area, 75-5500 Kuakini Highway

Join the Kona Hongwanji Buddhist Temple and Daifukuji Soto Mission for this special festival during bon dance season on the Big Island.

This free community bon dance for West Hawai’i will also feature a craft fair and several food vendors. It’s an opportunity for the entire family to come out to celebrate summer with dancing, ‘ono food and a ton of fun.

For more information, contact Kona Hongwanji at 808-323-2993 or Daifukuji Soto Mission at 808-322-3524.

No. 10 — Hula performance by Unulau (Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, June 19)

Image from the National Park Service website

When: 7 to 8 p.m.

Location: Auditorium, Kīlauea Visitor Center, 1 Crater Rim Drive

The mission of Unulau hālau is to perpetuate Hawaiian knowledge and education through hula. The group is known for its ancient ʻaihaʻa style of hula, featuring low-postured and eruptive movements, evoking the elemental volcano force Pele and her sister Hiʻiaka.

The hālau prides itself on perpetuating this distinctive hula, rooted in traditions reaching back to a time before Western contact.

This event is part of the park’s Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices of Hawaiian Music” concerts and presentations. It is free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

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