LIHUE — On any given day, it’s not hard to find Robert Kubota cooking or serving up some of this family’s daily specials at Pono Market in Kapaa, where he works with his parents, Bob and Lynn Kubota.
But, on Thursday, Kubota and his wife, Erica, brought their own “Pono Market special” to Wilcox Memorial Hospital’s annual Halloween Babies Parade: their first child, 4-month-old Liloa Hitoshi Kubota, who was dressed as a lobster and placed inside a black cooking pot.
“This is awesome,” Kubota said about his son’s first place in the contest parade. “We just saw a picture on the Internet, so we ordered it online — $20 special. Because (Erica) is a school teacher, she had to do one teacher parade … so we did that and decided that we might as well come here.”
In all, about 200 children and their families joined the Kubota family on Halloween as Wilcox Memorial Hospital employees shared their thanks with their youngest patients.
Jaeda Elvenia, a Wilcox Memorial Hospital manager, said the parade in its seventh year began as an idea from one of the hospital’s childbirth educators as a way to thank the mothers who gave birth at the hospital and their families.
About 30 children and their families attended the celebration during its first year, but that number, Elvenia said, has increased over the years to now accomodate up to 600 or 700 people.
To stem that growth, Elvenia and other organizers changed the time of the event and lowered the age limit to those children four years old or younger.
But even those changes couldn’t keep children and parents, away.
“As you can see, from today’s crowd, it’s just a smashing success — a lot of folks,” Elvenia said.
Koloa resident Van Nguyen, who brought her 10-month-old son Kron-Nhan Sakimae to this year’s celebration, intends to return next year.
“This was our first time and there was definitely a lot more people than I expected,” Nguyen said. “We both had a lot of fun.”
• Darin Moriki, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0428 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @darinmoriki.