KOLOA — Sale Potts of the Koloa Hui Vaa, also known as the Koloa Outrigger Canoe Club, said the club has been participating in the Koloa Plantation Days parade and town celebration for a long time.
Saturday was no different as Potts accompanied a group of keiki to the parade starting point, passing a tent sporting the latest teamwear.
“This is not about us,” Potts said. “We’ve been here for a long time and doing this for a long time. This is for the young people — for them to learn so ‘the legacy lives on.’”
The theme was interpreted by more than 70 units taking part in the annual parade which unfolded before several thousand people sprawled out over the streets of Old Koloa Town and in the Anne Knudsen Park, wrapping up nearly 10 days of events celebrating and paying tribute to the plantation lifestyle and history which is the base of Koloa.
The crew from the Lawai Beach Resort, host to the Koloa Plantation Days Mini Golf Tournament last Sunday, was voted tops in both the walking units as well as securing Best of Parade accolades. Their presentation featured walkers carrying enlarged photos of historic Koloa places and buildings, to ignite memories in longtime residents and raise awareness for those new to the event.
“It took me seven years,” said Beau Acoba of Tsunami Taiko, an ensemble entertaining at the park celebration which followed the parade. “I’ve been in this parade for seven years before finally, this year, Ron Wiley gave me a banana. It wasn’t the best toss, but I got a banana!”
Following the Lawai Beach Resort, Malama Mahaulepu, with its special tribute to members gone on, secured second place. The Rotary Club of Poipu Beach, featuring representatives of its numerous community beneficiaries as well as its Exchange Students, rounded out the walking unit leaderboard.
Janessa Grady, Miss Aloha Kauai, used the intertwining of different plants and flowers to depict the importance of living the fun and family-oriented plantation lifestyle. The presentation earned her top honors in the decorated vehicle.
Sarah Manuel, the first runner-up in the recent Miss Hawaii pageant, earned runner-up honors as Miss Paradise Kauai, being joined by Savannah Miranda, the Supreme Miss Spring, in the vehicle driven by her father and laden with fragrant plumeria.
The Koloa Union Church vehicle, laden with the more senior of its members, rounded out the decorated vehicle judging.
The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa pulled out all of its stops to field a full offering of pau princesses and escorts to earn top honors in the Mounted Unit judging. The field of equestrian riders elicited many comments on the exquisite hairpieces donned by the different pau princesses.
Kim Medeiros, the Kauai All Girl Rodeo Association secretary as well as a leading cowgirl, led the KAGRA unit which finished second in the mounted unit judging. The all-girl unit garbed in red made a strong presentation past the judges’ stations.
But not all of the KAGRA girls were suited in red — Christy Castillo donned the colors of CJM Country Stables, which finished third in the judging.
“Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do,” Castillo said, being the American flag bearer for the CJM unit who hosted Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., his granddaughter, and Rep. Derek Kawakami among dignitaries. “Look at Kaui Jaramillo who is riding her first parade. Not only that, this is the first time she gets to carry the flag in the parade.”
A tribute to the Hokulea through song and dance led by Troy Lazaro and Linda Kainani Viado was the Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club presentation which topped the float judging.
The colorful unit was put forth a strong challenge by The Club at Kukuiula, whose depiction of the Kukuiula General Store served as the servicing depot for walkers distributing welcome samples of old style ice cakes using Carnation milk, vanilla and Malolo syrup.
The Kauai Robotics Alliance, walking under the Rotary Club of Poipu during last year’s parade, broke off on their own to finish third in the float judging with their robot which jolted its trash can cargo.
Two more events set for today — the Fun Walk/Run hosted by the Kukuiula Outrigger Canoe Club, and the Keoki’s Paradise Ukes in Paradise for Keiki — will round out the 2015 Plantation Days celebration.
The Fun Run starts with registration starting at 6 a.m. at the Poipu Beach Park, and the Ukes in Paradise starts with registration from 10:30 a.m. in the Poipu Shopping Village.