Top 10 things to do this July 4th on the Big Island: These holiday events are sure to be a blast

Listen to this Article
5 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

A recent report from personal finance website WalletHub found that Hawai‘i is the 10th most patriotic state in the union overall.

Courtesy file photo

Yep. That’s right. The residents of the islands are some of the most red, white and blue Americans you can find based on 13 indicators the website used to compare the 50 states, including military enlistees and veterans, the share of adults who voted in the 2020 presidential election, AmeriCorps volunteers per capita and others.

Hawai‘i was No. 1 when it comes to active duty military personnel per 100,000 civilian adults and No. 1 for U.S. history and civics education requirements for students.

The state did rank 28th in civic engagement, just below average, but a far cry from its No. 2 ranking in military engagement.

Hawai‘i scored an overall 56.53 out of 100 to grab the 10th-place patriotic position.

“There are many different ways to express patriotism, from hanging up a flag or attending a parade to voting, joining the military or actively working to improve conditions for your fellow Americans,” writes Adam McCann, a WalletHub financial writer in the June 17 story about the 2024 Most Patriotic States in America. “Being a patriot means loving your country and its people while also recognizing its flaws and striving to make it the best it can be. And there’s no better time to get into the spirit of patriotism than July 4th, the most patriotic day of the year.”


So we decided to bring you our weekly top 10 things to do on the island a day early so you can plan ahead for your Independence Day ventures.

There’s plenty to do, from rubber duckie races, the release of honu into the Pacific and a classic car show to, of course, everyone’s favorite, the fireworks displays.

So whether you’re hanging at the beach, grilling at home or heading out on the town, have fun and be safe. No matter what, we know you’ll have a blast.

Here’s our top 10 things to do on this July 4th on the Big Island.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all events take place on Thursday.


No. 1 — Turtle Independence Day (Kohala Coast)

Screenshot of an image from the Mauna Lani website

When: 1 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. Thursday

Location: Mauna Lani, 68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive

Come join the festivities as green sea turtle hatchlings, after 2 to 3 years of growth that are deemed large enough, journey into the Pacific are released from Mauna Lani’s Honu Lagoon during this July 4 event in its 36th year. Mauna Lani has reared and released more than 200 green sea turtles to date.

Gather along the resort’s oceanfront to cheer on the hatchlings while witnessing their homecoming to the ocean. Plus, be part of the year-round tradition of the Mālama Honu, Mālama Honua program, aimed at preserving this beloved marine species through education, conservation and community and made possible through a partnership with O’ahu-based Sea Life Park.


To date, Mauna Lani has released more than 200 green sea turtles.

The hatchlings receive their final exams and you can talk story with experts at 1 p.m. today. Thursday’s activities kick off at 9 a.m. with a keiki tent activity at the Milo Tree lawn and Surf Shack cookout. The hatchlings are loaded in at 9:30 a.m. at the lagoon before the release ceremony and beach parade at 10 a.m.

The event is free, open to everyone and suitable for all ages. No RSVP required. Limited parking available. For more information, click here.

No. 2 — Genki Ball Toss on the Fourth of July (Hilo)

Portion of an image from Facebook

When: 7 to 9:30 a.m.

Location: Lili‘uokalani Gardens, Banyan Drive

During the annual A Salute to Our Veterans Hilo Bay 5K Run/Walk, hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3830, Friends of Lili‘uokalani Gardens and volunteers will toss more than 850 genki balls into Waihonu Pond, the traditional fish pond at the heart of the gardens.

Genki balls are mudballs that contain efficient microorganisms that help digest sludge accumulated at the bottom of waterways. The essential microorganisms eat sludge and toxins.

A small pop-up tent will be set up between the Prince Hitachi pine tree and the pond. Come enjoy the VFW salute to the men and women who served their nation and help clean the pond at the same time. No equipment necessary.

For more information, call 808-895-8130 or email

No. 3 — July 4 Hilo Bay Blast (Hilo)

Portion of an image from Facebook

When: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Various venues throughout downtown Hilo and around Bayfront

Have a blast this Independence Day with several events throughout the day.

The A Salute to Our Veterans Hilo Bay 5K Run/Walk 2024, hosted by VFW Post 3830, starts at 7 a.m. at Liliʻuokalani Gardens on Banyan Drive. For more information or to register, click here or email

The Hot Rides Expo, featuring vintage, classic and futuristic vehicles, is planned for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the mauka (mountainside) Hilo Bayfront Soccer Fields. Live music, food trucks and children’s activities, including water slides and bounce houses, will also be available during the car show.

The celebration ends with a bright and banging professional pyrotechnics fireworks display at 8 p.m. set off from a barge moored in Hilo Bay. The Hawai‘i County Band will accompany the show live, with a performance beginning at 7 p.m. at the Mo‘oheau Park bandstand. The fireworks display will also be synchronized to patriotic music aired on KWXX.

For more information, call the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation’s Culture and Education Division at 808-961-8706.

No. 4 — Cooper Center & Volcano Community Association annual 4th of July Festival (Volcano)

Image from the Cooper Center WiX website

When: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Location: Cooper Center, 19-4030 Wright Road

Come celebrate the Fourth of July in Volcano Village. Bring the family for a fun day that will feature more than 35 food and craft vendors, live music performances, keiki games and a bouncy house and a silent auction.

Keiki games run the whole day. The silent auction is from 9 to 11 a.m. Music starts at 10 a.m. Vendors will be located in Carlson Court, with Auntie Frances’ Artisan Items in the main building. There will be no public parking at Cooper Center; however, a free shuttle bus will pick up and drop off at Volcano Store and the fire station entrance at the center every hour.

The parade starts at the Volcano Post Office, heads down Old Volcano Road, turns left at Wright Road and ends at Cooper Center. It starts at 9 a.m., and there will be some road closures from 8:15 a.m. until about 10:30 a.m. or until the parade is finished.

For more information, visit the Cooper Center website.

No. 5 — Great Waikōloa Rubber Duckie Race (Waikōloa)

Portion of a screenshot from the Big Island Events calendar

When: Events from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; race at 3 p.m.

Location: Kings’ Shops, 250 Waikōloa Beach Drive

This annual event features 10,000 bright yellow rubber duckies bobbling, waddling and drifting toward the finish line lakeside all to benefit the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawai‘i, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year.

More than $20,000 in prizes — from resort stays, golf rounds, boat cruises, dolphin experiences, gift baskets, shopping and dining certificates and more — are donated by many Big Island businesses and distributed to the top 50 duckie racers.

Race day is also a full day of Fourth of July fun, with music; contests, including a watermelon eating contest at A-Bay’s Island Grill and a shave ice eating contest at the Original Big Island Shave Ice Company; entertainment; keiki activities; food; and more.

Duckies can be adopted online in advance, which is strongly encouraged, for $5 each or in a Quack Pack of 5 duck adoption certificates and a free rubber duckie T-shirt. For $100, duck adopters make the Hall of Fame and receive 40 adoption certificates and a free rubber duckie T-shirt.

To adopt your lucky duckies, click here. For more information, click here.

No. 6 — 4th of July Extravaganza (Waikōloa)

Portion of an image from the Queen’s Marketplace website

When: Noon to 4 p.m.

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

This annual free celebration will feature live music with local bands, keiki carnival games, face painting, a magic show and more.

Kids — and adults, too (you won’t be left out) — can enjoy games such as Tin Can Slam, tic-tac-toe and bank-a-ball. There are also balloon sculptures, corn hole, ring toss, Jenga and Connect 4. Stop by the information booth to enter to win gift cards and merchandise from Queens’ Marketplace merchants, which will also have special deals as well as featured and clearance items available for purchase spilling out of their shops.

KWXX will even be broadcasting live from the event.

Events and the schedule are subject to change. Also note: Because of the lack of security personnel to provide a safe environment for attendees, Waikōloa Beach Resort will not host the fireworks show in the Waikōloa Bowl. For more information, click here.

No. 7 — Fourth of July Parade and Independence Day Extravaganza (Kailua-Kona)

Image from the Parades in Kona website

When: Beginning at 6 p.m.

Location: Downtown Kailua-Kona

The Kailua-Kona Community Parade Association and Fireworks Committee and Hawai‘i County are partnering once again to present the Fourth of July parade, which kicks off the evening’s festivities as it marches along Kuakini Highway and Ali‘i Drive.

The annual fireworks display follows, beginning at 8 p.m. with professional pyrotechnics set off from a barge moored in Kailua Bay.

For more information, including the complete parade route and list of road closures that will be in effect from 5:45 to 8:15 p.m., click here.

No. 8 — Green Machine live (Kawaihae)

Portion of an image from Facebook

When: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Location: Blue Dragon Tavern, 61-3616 Kawaihae Road

Celebrate the 4th of July with this ultimate party band based out of Kona.

Green Machine blends classic rock, funk, soul, pop and country, covering artists such as Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, War and more. The band features the always rippin’ David Lawrence on guitar/vocals, who said in a June 30 post on the Green Machine Facebook page about the upcoming Independence Day show: “Gonna be explosive!!”

Tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the door. Children 12 and younger are free. You can purchase tickets online at the Blue Dragon Tavern website.

No. 9 — Astronomy on Tap (Hilo)

Portion of an image from Facebook

When: 7 to 9 p.m.

Location: Hilo Town Tavern, 168 Keawe St.

Jennifer Andrews from Gemini Observatory will talk about cosmic fireworks just in time for the Fourth of July and include them in your festivities. She will be followed by Alexis Acohido with the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope, who will speak about Helu Pō, the Hawaiian lunar calendar.

These short talks, with entertainment in between, give the community an opportunity to learn more about Hawaiʻi astronomy casually with a drink or two on the first Thursday of each month. All perspectives on the night sky are welcome, and the event is free to attend.

For more information, email

No. 10 — Summer of Psytrance (Kalapana)

Portion of an image from Facebook

When: 7 to 11 p.m.

Location: Garden Temple, 12-114 Kaimu-Makena Homestead Road

Come spend the waning hours of your Fourth of July celebrations with three talented DJs to work out your body, mind and soul on the dance floor or an ultra-chic, chill-out lounge.

Voodoo runner will open the night from 7 to 8:15 p.m. with techno into progressive psytrance. Tyler Gibson of Birds of Paradise will bring the progressive and full on from 8:15 to 9:30 p.m. before Spctr delighting everyone with bush progressive into high-tech from 9:30 to 11 p.m. (The temple will also be celebrating his birthday, which is that day.)

No alcohol, photography or talking. No cellphones. Seeking three volunteers and six fire spinners; will give free admission. Suggested donation at the door of $10 to $20. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments