For residents and visitors, Kaua‘i is a treasure chest of things to see and do for the three-day Memorial Day celebration.
While some kicked off the weekend perusing garage sales, going fishing, sipping coffee and juice with loved ones at local eateries, others lay in the sand while family members barbecued.
While taking in sun at several of the island’s out-of-the-way beaches, residents like Douglas Nobriga of Puhi remembered why Memorial Day is important.
“It is honoring the soldiers who fight for our freedom, so that we can have the chance do to what we do this weekend,” he said. “I think a lot of people forget about this thing.”
Norbriga’s wife, Melissa, had their children finish making their lei so that they could take them to their classes at Chiefess Kamakaheli School in Puhi and Wilcox Elementary School in Lihu‘e by Thursday morning.
County workers were scheduled to pick them up so that the lei could be deposited at grave sites at the Kauai Veteran’s Cemetery in Hanapepe, in time for Memorial Day services on Monday honoring veterans.
Through a proclamation signed Thursday, Gov. Linda Lingle ordered the state flag be flown at half-staff at all state and county buildings with the flag of the United States from sunrise to noon on Memorial Day.
East Kaua‘i resident Diane Lee and her nine-year-old son, Mason Gadd, piled camping equipment into the back of a truck to get ready for a big party at ‘Anini Beach in Kilauea, where her husband, Mitch, had set up camp Friday night.
Mason Gadd said he honors Memorial Day because it is “to remember the people who died during a war.”
The Nobrigas had a yard sale a their home, and once that was done, Douglas Nobriga said he was going to focus his attention on something that will make Memorial Day special for him: “I am going to ride my Harley motorcycle.”
Next, he said he was going to watch “ultimate fight championship” contests on television.
Later on Saturday, the family planned to attend a Kaua‘i High School varsity and junior varsity football game scheduled at Vidinha Stadium in Lihu‘e.
Ray Ho of the New Hope Christian Fellowship Kaua‘i Church in Kapa‘a said the best way for him to start the Memorial Day weekend was to help lead a car wash at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center to raise funds for youth ministry activities.
As many as 20 people — including several teens — washed and dried cars. While many of them could have gone to the beach yesterday, “they chose to come here, because this is important,” Ho said.
Lihu‘e resident Patrick Ibbs said the best way he could start the three-day weekend was to take his wife, Stephanie, and their two children for a fast bite to eat at McDonald’s in Lihu‘e, stop by Jamba Juice at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center for fruit drinks for his children and then take them all to Kalapaki Beach.
While Nalani York and Navy Lt. Jim Hornef, who is assigned to the USS Columbia, a submarine based at Pearl Harbor, could have stayed on O‘ahu this weekend, they chose to come to Kaua‘i for their own special reasons.
York was part of Maota O Ali‘i, an O‘ahu-based halau that was to perform at the Kaua‘i Polynesian Festival near the Vidinha Stadium.
Hornef, his wife and three children couldn’t pass up their chance to visit the island.
Instead of checking into their hotel after landing at the Lihu‘e Airport yesterday morning, the Hornefs decided to paddle rented kayaks up the Wailua River in east Kaua’i.
“We are a military family, and we are trying to hit all the islands,” said Hornef’s wife, Mimma, who videotaped her children preparing to launch from a river ramp.
“We heard that Kaua‘i was one of the islands not to miss,” she said.
Warren Bray of Wailua Homesteads could have done anything yesterday, but he chose to sit in his vehicle under a hot sun near the same ramp the Hornef’s launched from.
Bray wanted to help friends unload their kayaks by the river, but they hadn’t come as of mid-morning.
And he was in a rush of shorts.
Bray was to attend a funeral service at the First Hawaiian Church in Kapa‘a for Marie Annette Mundon, who died from two heart attacks after she was kicked in the chest.
“I was going to show a slide presentation that included pictures of her,” Bray said.
Bray said he didn’t mind doing either chore, because he was helping people out.
Brian Meatoga and Bill Kinney, both of Kapa‘a, were happy to be fixtures at Wailua Beach, where they placed fishing poles in the sand in hopes of catching the largest fish for the island-wide Pu Nana Leo fishing contest, benefiting Native Hawaiian children.
The men and six others rested comfortably under a large tent on the beach that had all the essentials for a nighttime cookout — stoves, chairs and beverages.
“This was the way local families enjoyed the Memorial Day weekends in the past,” Meatoga said. “We are following a long tradition.”
Most people wouldn’t want to sit under a tarp by fast-moving cars off Kuhio Highway in Wailua on any day, but that was what Geri Gallagher of the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a did yesterday for a good cause.
For three hours, she had on sale $75 tickets for the Taste of Hawaii event, which will be scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Smith’s Tropical Paradise complex by the Wailua River.
“I am doing everything I can to support the sales,” she said. “It is a primary event that funds all the donations we make to Kaua‘i.”
The event, expected to draw more than 2,000 persons, will be sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a.
• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or firstname.lastname@example.org.