HONOLULU (KHON2) — Live events are back and have returned in full force. Friday and Saturday, local music takes the stage at the Aloha Tower Marketplace for Birthday Bash.

Another big promotion has returned to Hawaii as well. Bellator 279 is going down Friday and Saturday at the Blaisdell Arena.

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“Nearly two years of being locked in our home and now being able to go out and do normal stuff and it’s really great,” said Eric Cepeda a Mililani resident.

Right next door at the Blaisdell Concert Hall, Broadway continues. Then there’s Spam Jam in Waikiki and the Big West Tournaments at UH Manoa. Plus, Hawaii’s largest anime event is back at the Hawaii Convention Center.

“I never let go of the inner child so coming out here is always awesome and seeing people dressing up in cosplay, seeing the little kids get involved in this culture,” said Pomai Dela Cruz a Kaneohe resident.

With so many events, be prepared for traffic delays, people are encouraged to arrive early and utilize carpooling if possible.

Meanwhile, the Hawaii Department of Health said to keep in mind that COVID is still around.

“We encourage people to please be vigilant,” said Brooks Baehr, spokesperson for the DOH. “This pandemic is not over. COVID is still in the community. Case counts are up, positivity rates are going up now, and hospitalizations are inching up. If there’s one thing you can do to help out that would be to stay home if you’re not feeling well.”

Industry experts expect the return of festivities to attract more visitors.

“We have such a high repeat visitor,” said Jerry Agrusa, a UH Travel Industry Management professor. “Before COVID we had almost 50% of repeat visitors. So we need to have more activities for them to come.”

Local businesses are looking forward to the future. More events means a boost in business and something for everyone to enjoy.

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“It’s important for us to showcase our products here,” said Ken Komoto of From the Heart Hawaii. “We’ve been closed for about two years due to COVID and we have to support local for sure to keep the small mom and pop shops alive.”