WAIMEA — We’re talking 227 years of tradition.
It’s been going on nearly as long as the United States has been a country.
Waimea, Kauai’s most historic town, has been hosting Christmas events since 1786 and the tradition continues Saturday during the annual Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade.
The festive procession begins at 6:15 p.m. and ushers through Waimea Town that will be covered with lights and serve as a brilliant backdrop. The parade ends with a celebration at Hofgaard Park featuring live music, free beverages, baked goods and treats provided by local businesses.
The parade’s been held since 1994, but the tradition of Christmas events in the historic town goes back much farther than that.
History books tell the story of British Cpt. George Dixon anchored off Waimea aboard the boat “Charlotte” during Christmas late in the 18th century, where he ordered a Christmas dinner and a bowl of punch prepared in honor of the occasion. A pig was brought from shore and roasted. The day’s ration of grog was mixed with coconut milk and the crew toasted friends and family at home in England.
Nearly 230 years later, the festivities continue.
The parade begins at Waimea Canyon Park and goes down Kaumualii Highway to Ala Wai Road, it then turns towards the mountains to Waimea Road, then heads west to the end at Hofgaard Park in the center of town.
No parking will be allowed along the parade route and traffic into Waimea around that time could be extremely slow. Organizers suggest finding a spot for parade viewing by 4 p.m. Parking is easier on the Kekaha side of town, so arrive early, relax and enjoy the fun. Many businesses and organizations offer food items for purchase along the parade route.
The event is sponsored by the West Kauai Professional and Business Association along with area merchants and businesses.