Waimea lighting welcomes holidays to Westside

WAIMEA — Santa took advantage of the vog to swiftly drop in on Waimea, one of the westernmost towns in the country Saturday.

Visitors thrilled to the early arrival of the familiar figure symbolizing Christmas, Santa digging into his bag of tricks to greet youngsters with shakas, knuckles and even an ET finger.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. arrived to direct Santa to strike the lights in Waimea town, marking the start of the holiday season.

Starting at the Waimea fire station and working through shops circling the Hofgaard Park, lights flickered on in the waning daylight, culminating with the lighting of Ishihara Market and the Kaohi residence.

Penny Young, the Waimea Mainstreet coordinator, said this year’s celebration was a little better than last year’s program and next year’s celebration should be a blast as Nick Castillo, working through the audio of Thomas Nizo, welcomed the night with an assortment of Hawaiian mele, bringing the ceremony to a climax with “Mele Kalikimaka.”

Young said the lighting of the town is a prelude to the annual Waimea Lighted Christmas parade, which takes place on Dec. 22, traditionally the Saturday ahead of Christmas.

This year, the Rainbow Road Crew will present a reading of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens starting at 2 p.m. Dec. 22 at the historic Waimea Theater.

“Mayor Carvalho will be playing a part in the reading,” Vivian Rose, the program director, said. “Admission is free and gets people in the mood for the parade.”

For those who bring a can of food to the reading, they become eligible to win the prize turkey which will be given away.

The Rainbow Road Crew reading is funded in part by the Kekaha Host Community Benefits in collaboration with the Storybook Theatre.

Call 639-7673 for more information.

The lights in Waimea town, growing as Christmas draws near, will be available for viewing nightly through the holidays.

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