Waimea Town Celebration benefits nonprofits

WAIMEA — The Waimea Town Celebration was started to support several nonprofits on the Westside of Kaua‘i.

“There (are) a lot of nonprofits and organizations asking businesses for help, but the nonprofits outnumber the number of businesses that we have,” said organizer Sherri Patrick of Leadership Kaua‘i.

She said the requests put the businesses in a difficult spot, because they couldn’t say yes to everybody, so the West Kaua‘i Business and Professional Association decided to help local nonprofit organizations by putting on an annual event and allowing the groups to fundraise annually at the Old Waimea Sugar Mill site provided by Kikiaola Land Company.

The festival offers free entertainment, food booths, craft and game booths, a beer garden and several sporting events such as a fun run, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, a mountain ball tournament, and a rodeo. Other events include an ice cream eating contest, hat lei competition and ‘ukulele competition.

Entertainment Friday night includes Hoaikane, Waipuna, Kamaiana’s and Neil Diamond tribute band, Cherry Cherry.

Performances Saturday include Micah G, Fusion, Papaa Bay Boys, Russel and Joe, and Tiare a Nani o Kaua‘i.

“Their whole goal is how to grow economic development while creating community unity,” Patrick said of the West Kaua‘i Business and Professional Association.

Patrick said that the initial event was the Captain Cook Caper Run.

Chris Faye of the Kaua‘i Museum said the WTC developed from 1978 with a carbo-loading party the night before the fun run.

“It’s grown and grown over the years,” she said of the event. The WTC is now the second oldest continuous festival on the island, second only to the Kaua‘i County Fair.

This year, there are 24 nonprofits fundraising during the celebration. Some of the groups include Kekaha Pop Warner, Kilohana Canoe Club, Menehune Boosters Club, Relay For Life, Kaua‘i Ho‘ohui o Recreation and Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina‘ala, among others.

With more than 10,000 people expected to participate and support the event, Patrick said nonprofit groups are able to raise enough money to help them throughout the year.

“They definitely count on Waimea Town Celebration to earn the money they need to be self sustainable,” Patrick said.

The Waimea Town Celebration launched with the Kilohana Long Distance Canoe Race on Saturday. The race started at 9 a.m. for women and at 10:30 a.m. for men. The first event of the Garden Island Canoe Racing Association season, the race finished right in Waimea near the pier. The race was sponsored by American Savings Bank and hosted by the Kilohana Canoe Club of Waimea.

New this year are the One-man Canoe Races, held Saturday morning. Registration opens at 9 a.m. at Salt Pond Park and races start at noon and feature a long course from Port Allen to Waimea Landing and a short course from Salt Pond Park to Waimea Landing. Entry fee is $25 per paddler. Contact Race Event Coordinator Eddie Pratt at 482-1972 for more details.

Running in conjunction with the Waimea Town Celebration is the 13th annual Waimea Round-Up Rodeo from Friday through Sunday behind the old Waimea Dairy. Events include steer roping and po‘owaiu to barrel racing. Admission is $3, with children under 12 free to benefit the Kaua‘i Keiki & High School Rodeo Association.

The run that launched the Waimea Town Celebration, the 36th annual Captain Cook Caper Fun Run includes a 10K, 5K and 2K run, starting at 7 a.m. Saturday.

Pre-registration is available at information booth near the stage area between 4:30 and 10 p.m. Friday with late registration at 5:30 a.m. Saturday at the Waimea Plantation Cottages. Entry fees include a shirt. The run is hosted by the Waimea High School track team.

“It’s very ‘ohana oriented,” Faye said of the Waimea Town Celebration, “There’s so many volunteers at every level, it’s really amazing.”

For more information on the Waimea Town Celebration, visit http://www.wkbpa.org/town%20celebration.html online.


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