Santa, parade cap busy weekend

LIHU’E — Hundreds of people took a break from their post-Thanksgiving bargain-hunting during the long weekend to enjoy the 12th annual Kukui Grove Center Christmas Parade Saturday.

For many, like members of some of the families from the Lihu’e Pop Warner Association, it was the culmination of a long weekend, as parents hurriedly rushed their daughters from the regional championship game at Hanapepe Stadium for a quick change of clothes before being part of the parade hosted by officials at Kukui Grove Center, Lihue Credit Union, and the Kauai Teachers Federal Credit Union.

The excitement of watching the Lihu’e Pop Warner pee-wees take a 20-0 win over the visiting ‘Aiea Eagles only served to stoke their energy, as they disbanded to participate in the various parade units.

Some of those girls were part of the Girl-Scouts Brownie Troop 812 that finished the parade by earning the Best Marching Unit award presented by host Jason Fujinaka of FM97.

Waimea High School JROTC advisor Maj. Victor Aguilar said he received a call from the Kapa’a advisor, Col. Jerald Knudsen, about the parade, and didn’t really know what to expect because they had never participated in this parade before.

As the parade wound its way back to the Sears starting point, Aguilar noted that it was bigger than he anticipated, indicating that he might bring a larger contingent next time.

The Waimea High School JROTC unit earned runnerup in the Marching Unit division, with the Kapa’a JROTC unit getting the bronze.

Kalaheo School’s Sunshine Express, accompanied by a host of parent chaperones and supporters, was named as the Best Vehicle, topping out fleets of classic cars as well as a contingent of Volkswagen bugs from the Kauai Volkswagen Club.

Their unit filled the air with strains of contemporary holiday carols played over car-audio systems.

Sparky the fire dog got help from fire inspector David Bukoski, who sounded the siren a couple of times as the Kaua’i Fire Department mascot greeted the holiday crowd from his vantage point atop one of the KPD Ocean Safety Bureau’s personal water craft.

The Kaua’i Fire Department entry was named runner-up in the Vehicles division, with the Lihue Baptist Church’s vehicle transporting a local-kine Santa and earning third place.

Following the parade that ran around the perimeter of the shopping center, it was off to check out the holiday offerings from the merchants, who used the event to launch their special holiday hours, which will run through Saturday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve.

Santa was even available to have photos taken with the keiki who took in the event.

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