‘Only in Hanapepe Town’

HANAPEPE — Mauliola Cook came to the Westside to be the emcee of the 11th annual Princess Ka‘iulanio Celebration. She did that, and more.

“Yeah, we paraded,” she said to the crowd shortly after the 20-minute children’s parade that went back and forth on Hanapepe Road. “It’s not often you get to twirl and swirl down a main street.”

“I saw him twirl, too,” she said, pointing toward Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., who did indeed join the spirited march on Saturday.

About 75 costumed kids and adults joined the parade on a hot, sunny afternoon that filled this small, normally quiet town with music, laughter and smiles. The highlight came as Princess Ka‘iulanio, played by a beautiful Malina Wai‘ale]ale-Batad, arrived with her colorful escorts. Cook gave them a grand introduction as the crowd cheered.

“Only in Hanapepe Town this happens,” the mayor said.

A handful of parents and photographers followed the group and captured the moments that honored the life of Princess Ka‘iulani. She was born in 1875, was educated in England before returning to Hawaii where she was destined to be queen, but died at 23 after becoming ill.

Mark Jeffers — owner of Storybook Theatre, which puts on the celebration — said the idea is to look into the past and see the good things that were there.

Princess Ka‘iulani, he said, was a great model and “shero,” someone who persevered through tough times. She showed great courage, he said, and spoke out for her people.

By having children in the parade to honor Princess Ka‘iulani’s life, he hopes they gain a sense that her spirit is still alive.

“Her life wasn’t tragic,” he said. “Her life was filled with learning and being brave.”

Ken and Angie Moore of North Carolina are on Kauai for vacation and happened to stop by Hanapepe when they saw the parade. They pulled over, found a place to park and watched.

They were glad they did.

“It looks pretty cool,” Ken Moore said. “The best part is how so many of the kids are wearing costumes. They looked like they’re having a great time.”

Inspiring fun and imagination is what Storybook Theatre is about.

“Like Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge,” Jeffers said.

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