Maui sweeps Pa‘u in Kam Day parade

Anela Wong, the princess of Maui, and her pa‘u unit swept the judging at the 91st Kamehameha Day parade yesterday.

Wong edged out U‘i Corr, the princess of Molokai, and Kapuanani Sugai, the princess of Kaho‘olawe, to be crowned the Outstanding Princess.

She also got help from her unit as the Maui pa‘u unit was also judged the Most Outstanding Pa‘u category for the group’s appearance, discipline, riding ability and adornment.

Second place in the Outstanding Pa‘u unit was presented to the Kaua‘i unit headed by Lori Wong as its princess. Third place honors went to the Lanai unit headed up by princess Apryl Soares.

To complete the full-service end of the Pa‘u unit, the Lanai crew topped the pooper scooper judging, its orange-shirted boys not hesitant to stop their quad and scoop up the trail left by the horses.

Moloka‘i and Maui pooper scooper squads rounded out the leaders for that class judging.

Hundreds of people lined Rice Street and Ho‘olako Street, to take in the parade and ho‘olaule‘a that had “Bridging the World through Music and Dance” as its theme this year.

The diversity of dancers garbed in ethnic costuming represented the various parts of the Pacific Basin, earned the Smith’s Tropical Paradise float top honors as its Pele icon rose from an erupting volcano while dancers performed beneath the fiery offering.

The 2006 Na Hoku O Kaua‘i pageant featuring an assortment of royalty around a picnic table finished second in the judging with the Lori Wong float rounding out that class leaders.

Island Princess Nevaeh Kau-Arruda rode atop the 2007 Miss Pacific decorated vehicle that earned top honors in that division.

Miz Tita and Mrs. Mokihana Hula, both representing Mokihana Foundation units, earned second the third in the judging, respectively.

Walkers in Na Hui O Kanakaokani with kumu hula Maka Herrod made sure lei went to as many people as possible. This earned them top honors in the Walking Unit judging.

Chants and ball handling that sometimes ruffle feathers earned second place honors for coach Cecil Gee and the 3 G’s Nation basketball walkers. Gee said the players who were not involved in yesterday morning games agreed to come out to be part of this parade.

John Kaneholani and the Hanalei Elementary School Ukulele Band took third place in the Walking Unit.

Cherie Vasconcelles started off the Kaua‘i All-Girl Rodeo Association private mounted unit with a quad.

“This is better than a horse,” she said, pulling a child-sized dragster with Alexis Vasconcelles at the wheel. The vehicle was followed by Kristyn Vasconcelles, the newly-crowned Miss Hawai‘i High School Rodeo Queen heading up a contingent of red-shirted cowgirls.

The pride in their diversity earned the KAGRA riders top honors in the Private Mounted Unit judging followed by the smart moves of the Aloha Riders who performed at the cue of whistles throughout the parade.

Kawika Cutcher represented King Kamehameha in the Royal Court that rode atop a low boy trailer pulled by the Ricky Rego Trucking rig. The court held its formal portion following the parade where representatives of the different pa‘u unit and community could offer the traditional ho‘okupu.

Following that, Herrod, labeling himself “Boom Shakalaka Maka,” offered up an afternoon of mele and dance while patrons had an opportunity to browse through craft fair offerings and dine on some Hawaiian cuisine in honor of King Kamehameha.

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