Saturday | June 24, 2017
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Time to Celebrate

Residents of the Big Island should have no fear about finding something to do this Fourth of July. The biggest challenge will be choosing which events to attend.

As we celebrate our nations 237th birthday with hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon and fireworks it’s important to stay safe.

The Hawaii Fire Department has asked everyone to do their part to prevent fires and injuries this Independence Day by taking the following precautions: Always have a water source or fire extinguisher readily available and wet down surrounding areas when lighting fireworks; make sure children playing with fireworks are always supervised because even the smallest of firework can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries; and soak fireworks in water before disposing them.’

The fire department will collect any usused or unwanted fireworks on July 10. For more information, including drop-off locations, call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 932-2912.

Here is a guide to West Hawaii’s Fourth of July events to make the decision of where to spend the holiday a little easier.

c The 18th annual Kailua-Kona Independence Day Parade goes from Kona’s Kekuaokalani Gym, south on Kuakini Highway, down Palani Road and along Alii Drive to Coconut Grove Marketplace. It starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and is followed by a 10-minute fireworks show over Kailua Bay at 8 p.m.

Announcing stations will be at West Hawaii Today, Remixx at King Kamehameha Mall, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, the former Boston Basil’s, Pancho and Lefty’s, Kimo’s, Waterfront Row, Island Lava Java and Humpy’s at Coconut Grove.

For more information, visit

c Parker Ranch will celebrate its 51st annual July 4th Rodeo and Horse Races at the Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena in Waimea.

In keeping with tradition, Parker Ranch will honor someone who embodies the core mission of the Parker Ranch Trust thru their continuing contributions to our island community. This year Alex Akau will receive the honor. One of Akau’s most notable achievements is co-founder of the Aloha Festivals Paniolo Parade and Poke Contest.

Fast-paced rodeo action begins shortly after the 9 a.m. grand entry parade and continues until noon. Spectators can enjoy thrilling horse races, ribbon mugging, ranch mugging, team roping, poo wai u and more.

There will also be a petting zoo and pony rides for the children.

Tickets for the Thursday event are $5 per person in advance or $6 at the gate. Presale tickets are available at the Parker Ranch Store. Children 10 and under are free.

For more information, call 885-7311 or visit

c The Queen’s MarketPlace in Waikoloa offers food and great music all afternoon and evening capped off by a spectacular fireworks show over Waikoloa Bowl.

Cotton candy, popcorn, face painting, balloon sculpting and other festivities will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday. For the keiki and the young at heart, there will be carnival games and Zoo Choo train rides, with all proceeds benefitting Special Olympics West Hawaii.

When the sun starts to set, Vizion 20/20 and Bump City will perform. The fireworks begin at 8 p.m.

Admission is free. Beach mats or chairs are welcome for open lawn seating, however coolers, alcoholic beverages and smoking are not permitted.

For more information visit or call 886-8822.

c The 22nd annual Waikoloa Beach Resort’s Rubber Duckie Race takes place from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Kings’ Shops.

Adopt a duckie for a chance to win one of the many fantastic prizes. The Duckie Race starts at 3 p.m. The event is free except for a donation to adopt a duck. Proceeds benefit United Cerebral Palsy of Hawaii.

Kings’ Shops and UCPA will also honor Hawaii Island’s first responders.

Those to be honored for their exemplary service to our Island community include Hawaii Fire Department captains Sean Sommers, Brett Matsuda and Gifford Matsuoka, of the South Kohala Fire Station; Hawaii Police Department officer Kyle Hirayama, of the South Kohala patrol, and Sgt. James Correa, of the South Hilo Patrol; and Rita Hirai, director of safety for Ocean Sports.

Other events include: Merriman’s watermelon eating contest at 1 p.m., chef Ippy Aiona’s cook-off at 1:30 p.m., duck waddling and duck calling contests at 5 p.m., and multiple musical performances throughout the day.

For more information, call 886-8811.

c Mauna Lani Resort welcomes the public to the free Turtle Independence Day event from 10 a.m. until noon, where honu will be released into the open ocean.

Since 1989, the resort has received three- to five-month old juvenile Honu from Oahu’s Sea Life Park and raised them in the saltwater ponds of the resort. The honu are raised for two to three years until they grow to a size and weight that is classified as healthy for release into the ocean.

More than 200 honu have been released into the pristine waters in front of the resort since the program’s inception.

Festivities help raise awareness of the need to preserve and protect honu. Guests also enjoy an educational display about the honu.

For more information visit

c The Hawaii County Democrats will sponsor the 12th annual Community Picnic at 2 p.m. at Old Kona Airport Park’s Makaeo Events Pavilion. The theme of this year’s picnic is “…liberty and justice for all.” The free and open-to-the-public picnic is organized by West Hawaii Democrats.

In addition to the usual Independence Day picnic fare of hot dogs, a variety of salads, watermelon, cakes and beverages will be avaiable. Elected officials are contributing door prizes valued at over $1,000. Musical entertainment and children’s activities are also planned.

Confirmed special guests include Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, U.S. Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard, State Sens. Josh Green and Malama Solomon, and Hawaii County Council members Karen Eoff, Margaret Wille and Dru Kanuha.

For more information or to volunteer, contact John Buckstead at 326-9779 or, or call David Tarnas at 885-6354.

Note: There may events in addition to those listed in this story.