Waimea welcomes all at big bash

WAIMEA — Nikki and Aaron Vea of Kekaha were big winners at the Waimea Town Celebration.

Nikki and Aaron won the First Hawaiian Lei Contest as part of this year’s 29th Annual Waimea Town Celebration that opened Friday afternoon. The Waimea High School Jazz Band provided the music during the opening honors.

Nikki took home the Grand Prize in the grades three through five division in the “Beautiful” category. She also captured first and third places in that same division. She went on to sweep the top three places of the “Unique” category as well for a total of six awards.

Brother Aaron swept the grades nine through twelve division in the “Beautiful” category as well as taking second and third place in the “Unique” class.

Skye Olores took the Grand Prize in the grades kindergarten through second division. Kaulana Kahalekomo took the Grand Prize in the grades six to eight division with Chelise Kahalekomo walking off with the Grand Prize in the grades nine through twelve division. Manny Rapozo was the Grand Prize winner in the Adult Division.

First place in the “Beautiful” kindergarten through second grade division was awarded to Niry Anne Santiago, second place to Kalena Kahalekomo, and third place to Kustom Vea Wise.

“Unique” awards in the kindergarten through second grade division went to Vea Wise taking first followed by Kalena Kahalekomo, and Maile Sanut-Baniaga.

Following Nikki Vea in the “Beautiful” grades three through five division was Kayla Kimokeo with Nikki rounding out the leaders.

Kaulana Kahalekomo added first place to her Grand Prize in the “Beautiful” grades six through eight division followed by Anuhea Anakalea taking second and third in the class.

Anakalea topped the “Unique” competition with first and second followed by Kaulana Kahalekomo rounding out the leaders.

Following Aaron Vea’s sweep of the top three places in the “Beautiful” grades nine through 12 division, Jon-E Olores snagged first place in the “Unique” division with Aaron Vea taking second and third.

Kauai Iki Olores took first place in the “Beautiful” Adult division followed by Unpa Naholoholo and Mary Lou DeGarzia. Lu Koerte took first and third place honors in the “Unique” Adult with Kauai Iki Olores filling in second.

The First Hawaiian Lei Contest was just one part of the two-day celebration that featured numerous community events under the shadow of the old sugar mill in Waimea town.

Chris Faye, one of the event leaders, noted that Scotty Shapiro of Scotty’s Music in Kalaheo provided three ukuleles for children wanting to enter the Ukulele contest but not able to afford instruments.

Faye noted that Shapiro’s offer came after he saw some of the performers working with instruments that fell short of their abilities.

Additionally, the rodeo opened Friday to a new arena that Faye said volunteers had been working on for the past two years “on a pau hana basis.”

The new arena provides the Keiki and High School Rodeo Association members a place where they can practice after school, Faye said. It also provides a better facility to have rodeo events during the celebration.

One of the unique attractions to the array of food offerings, entertainment, and craft and activity stations is a 10-minute video produced by Katie Beer showing actual footage of the construction of the Waimea Pool by veterans and community volunteers.

The video was hosted by Glenn Kagawa, whose dad was featured in the piece, and the showings were free.

Some of the main features of the community celebration included the Captain Cook 5 and 10 kilometer runs, a rodeo, softball tournaments, and the long distance canoe races.

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