Waimea aglow for Saturday parade

WAIMEA — The Annual Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade is not until tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 17, but long before that those in the town were buzzing with excitement, as lights on business and residential facades offer a spectacular show.

An overflow crowd waited outside J’s Diner & Catering across from Hofgaard Park, but there were the lighted displays to help with the wait as, out on the street, cars would drive slowly by to absorb some of the magical beauty that was unveiled with the descent of night.

On the sidewalks, pedestrians strolled through the park in admiration of the displays, while across the way, diners enjoyed their meals from one of the Ishihara Market benches canopied by holiday lights.

“We have the biggest light displays,” said Chris Fayé, one of the Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade organizers. “And, this year, we have more people decorating.”

Hofgaard Park itself offers a haven for people relishing the final moments of twilight, as a Norfolk pine twinkles with its offerings, dwarfed by the Ishihara Market display across one street, and overpowered by the combined displays of the Kanna Building, the Mane Event/Da Booze Shop, and J’s Diner & Catering/ Aloha ‘n Paradise.

Errands such as stopping for the mail at the Waimea Post Office, or filling gas at M&H Service, took a little longer, as motorists would pause to relish the illuminated displays before moving on.

“The post office did a marvelous job. Look, even the reindeer on the roof moves,” Fayé pointed out as a patron sat in his car to relish the atmosphere, afraid that his headlights would diminish the effect.

Owners and operators of Nukumoi Surf Shop, one of the newer businesses that recently opened on the west end of town, went all out, Fayé noted.

Their lighted building facade was enhanced by a surf scene featuring an elf surfing (aboard a Nukumoi surfboard) a wave created out of blue and white lights on a beach of sand.

But, owners and operators of businesses are not the only participants, as the home of Blanche Higashi, across the parking lot from Ishihara Market, formed the perfect bridge between the display at the market and their employee parking lot that was also decked out with a light treatment.

Fayé noted that, for many of the owners and operators of businesses, the decorations are not limited to nighttime displays, as she pointed out the paintings in the windows of M&H Service, as well as the colorfully-wrapped candy created by the staff of the post office. Kauai Community Federal Credit Union, obviously dark with no lights to offer, has a spectacular daytime offering.

The electric presentation is part of the Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade that will take place tomorrow, Fayé said.

Owners and operators of the businesses, and several of the residences, compete for certificates and bragging rights. However, she noted that only the light displays compete. Those on the floats are all winners just by participating, she added.

“They (government officials) said we couldn’t have a daytime parade, so this is the only parade we can have,” she said.

Traffic restrictions will be in effect for the parade that starts from the Waimea Canyon Park parking lot at dusk, and motorists are advised to use caution during the event.

“The police will start shutting down the traffic once the parade starts moving,” Fayé said. “It (the parade) should take about an hour.”

Traffic into and through the town will be restricted starting from about 5 p.m., she estimates.

Following the parade, people are still able to enjoy the town’s lighted displays, which go on at sunset throughout the holiday season.

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