|Turtle Release Ceremony|
If you are lucky enough to be on the Big Island for Independence Day, you may find it difficult to choose between all the amazing things to do on the fourth of July.
If you are in the Hilo area, the town is having a huge celebration on the bayfront called the Hilo Bay Blast on Independence Day. The day’s finale will be a fireworks display provided by the Lehua Jaycee’s at 8 p.m. from Coconut Island. You can start early on Saturday, July 4th by participating in "A Salute to Our Veterans" Hilo Bay 5K Run/Walk at Liliuokalani Gardens at 7 a.m.. There will be prizes for age groups for runners and walkers and special prizes for Fastest Male and Female, Most Patriotically Dressed, Best Decorated Wheelchair, Largest Group, Youngest/Oldest, and From Farthest Away. A donation of $25 includes a T-shirt, bag, bib, a chance to win one of 128 prizes and have lots of fun. Proceeds go to the building fund to build a commercial kitchen for VFW Post 3830. After the run, a “Hot Rides Expo” will start at 9 a.m. in the parking lots and soccer field makai of Kamehameha Avenue and will feature hundreds of vintage and modified classic cars. Games, cook-offs, and music will be happening along Hilo's bayfront throughout the day. The Hawaii County Band will perform in the Mo’oheau bandstand at 7 p.m right before the fireworks. Lihiwai Street will be closed throughout the day and Bayfront Highway will be closed from 6 to 10 p.m. Parking will be available at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium and a free shuttle service will take you to and from the bayfront area from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can call 961-8706 for more information.
If you are on the west side of the Big Island and want to see fireworks, there are two choices.
Waikoloa Beach Resort is having a day-long family-friendly celebration with fireworks. The event starts at Queen’s marketplace at 11 a.m. with live entertainment. During the day there will be carnival games, face painting, balloon sculpting, and Zoo Choo train rides. At 3 p.m. the 24th Annual Waikoloa Rubber Duckie Race will take place at the Kings’ Shops, which is a fund raiser for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii. Adoption certificates for the rubber duckie race will be on sale until 3 p.m. on race day and offer a chance to win over $27,000 in prizes. Individual duckie adoptions are $5 each and Quack Packs are $25 each and include four duckie adoption certificates and one event T-shirt (while supplies last). There will be other festivities at the Kings’ Shops which start at 11 a.m. with a sidewalk sale, entertainment, and activities into the evening. At 4:30 p.m. the gates will open to Waikoloa Bowl at Queens' Gardens for the 4th of July Extravaganza. The free event will include live entertainment by Beyond Paradise and Johnny Shots. Bring a beach chair or blanket and enjoy a fun evening of music under the stars. Fireworks begin at 8 p.m.. This is a non-alcohol, non-smoking, and drug free event.
In Kona, the 20th Annual Kailua-Kona Independence Day Parade will start at 6 p.m. at the Kekuaokalani Gym/Pool Complex. The parade will proceed along Kuakini Highway to Palani Road, Alii Drive and end near Walua Road, just past Coconut Grove Marketplace. A fireworks show over Kailua Bay will start at 8 p.m..
Volcano Village will have a fourth of July parade and celebration starting a 9 a.m. at the Volcano Post Office and proceed along Old Volcano Road to Cooper Community Center on Wright Road. The parade will feature the Hawaii County Band, floats, antique cars, fire engines, bicycles, horses, and animals in costume. A Silent Auction Benefit will be held at Cooper Center from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.. There is something for everyone at this event and the proceeds benefit the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Music, games, food booths, a craft fair, and prizes will take place during the day in Volcano Village. You can call 967-7800 for more information.
If you are looking for something more unique, you may find Turtle Independence Day at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel a perfect activity for the day. Every year on July 4th, three and four year old turtles raised at the hotel are released into the ocean with big fanfare. The beach in front of the hotel is gorgeous and everything is a celebration of the turtle. The event will start at 10:30 a.m. and go until noon.
A different sort of celebration takes place every year at Parker Ranch in Waimea at the Annual 4th Rodeo and Horse Races from 9 a.m. to noon. Big Island ranchers will participate in races and rodeo events with Parker Ranch cowboys. You will see ribbon mugging, ranch mugging, dally team roping, Po'o Wai U and more. Keiki activities including roping practice and pony rides. There will be lots of food and mementos for sale at the Parker Ranch Store booth. The events will take place at the Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena in Waimea. Tickets are $10 at the gate or available in advance at the Parker Ranch Store in Waimea (at Parker Ranch Square).
If you want to extend the fun into Sunday, you can take the family to the 2nd Annual Sumerfest at the Shops at MaunaLani. On Sunday, July 5th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the shops will host a 100 foot waterslide, games, and activities such as mini Kendama, carnival game booths, and Go Fish for kids. There will be free Billabong flash tattoos, free popcorn, and cotton candy, a balloon artist, a photo booth and more. You can visit specialty food booths such as Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Under the Bodhi Tree Restaurant, Sweet Eatz Gelato Truck, Kona Ice Truck and Cupcakes N Things. There will be music with DJ Ed Geer and fun games with great prizes from the Shops at Mauna Lani! The event is free to the public.
Even with so many events to choose from, our favorite activity is to go to the beach and enjoy the sun and surf. Happy Independence Day!!