Tradition, beauty and lots of fun

KOLOA – When it came to deciding who would be the grand marshals for this year’s Koloa Plantation Days Parade, Arryl Kaneshiro had no doubts. He knew just the right people: Kimo Burgess and Keolu Burgess.

They needed a little convincing.

“I was not taking no for an answer,” said Kaneshiro, parade coordinator.

Kimo is the husband of Stella Burgess, who passed away in February at the age of 61. Keolu is her son. Aunty Stella was a longtime South Shore resident, community leader and director of Hawaiian culture for the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. She organized the parade before turning over those duties to Kaneshiro, but still took on a variety of volunteer roles during Plantation Days.

“She did stuff that people took for granted. Everybody is working hard to fill in all the gaps,” Kaneshiro said. “It’s definitely hard without Aunty Stella.”

The parade will go on, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Koloa Elementary School and ending at Anne Knudsen Park, where a celebration with food, crafts, games and music will continue until 5 p.m.

Thousands are expected for the 29th annual parade, with the theme “Lessons of Aloha.”

There will be about 65 entries, including floats, decorated vehicles, walking and equestrian units, Color Guard and the locomotive, Paulo.

Miss Hawaii Stephanie Steuri of Kauai is expected to be in the parade, as is Topaz Fernandez, Miss Garden Isle.

Kaneshiro said there was one drawback to having Kimo and Keolu Burgess as the grand marshals.

“They’re usually helping me during the parade, so I have to go find other people to help,” he said, laughing.

Streets along the parade route will be closed at 9 a.m. Closures will include: Poipu Road, from Lawai Road, near the Koloa Fire Station, to Koloa Road; Koloa Road, from Ala Kalanikaumaka to Weliweli Road; and Maluhia Road, from Kōloa Road to Ala Kinoiki.

Those wishing to access Poipu and Koloa town during that time may do so via Ala Kinoiki, also known as the Koloa Bypass Road, and Ala Kalanikaumaka.

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