Saturday, May 28, 2022 |
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WAIPOULI — Sarah McClurg of Clearwater, Utah was beyond happy when she found out she won a vacation to Kauai.
“She started jumping and screaming in front of everyone,” said her husband, Ben McClurg.
The McClurgs arrived Monday at the Courtyard by Marriott to redeem their vacation package and were waiting to embark on a ziplining experience in Koloa Wednesday morning.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Ben said. “I actually called the hotel and asked who was playing this joke because this was too good to be true. We have never won anything before. The hotel called Sarah to let her know that it was not a joke. This is for real.”
Annette Vanstory, regional sales manager for Davidson Hotels, said they hosted the contest for social media followers which included three days and three nights at the Courtyard by Marriott, a helicopter ride, a zipline experience, and a sunset cruise.
The winner was based on responses by followers on why they thought they deserved the Jurassic-sized vacation.
“As a mother of five children, the youngest being 18 months, this is a once in a lifetime trip,” Sarah said. “This is something we never thought we could experience. This has been amazing from the time we got here, I’ve said it a thousand times, amazing!’
Tuesday night, the couple went on a sunset cruise with Holoholo Charters.
“We saw so much marine life,” said Ben, a firefighter. “I have never seen water as blue and clear like this. We saw flying fish, turtles, porpoises, and even a mother whale and her calf cavorting near the boat. It was truly amazing.”
He said they came from a heat wave where the high temperature was 50 degrees. They had never been to Hawaii.
“This is our first time here, and everything is so green,” Sarah said. “In Utah, things are brown because we are in a desert. The people everywhere are so friendly, and at the hotel, they keep asking us if we’re the prize winners.”
Ben visited the Kapaa fire station and was greeted with a list of recommendations of places to eat and visit.
Vanstory said the couple will be staying through the weekend, and although the vacation called for just three days and three nights, they will throw in the extra.
“Our partners have been so accommodating and are just showing the aloha spirit,” Vanstory said.
“People have gone out of their way to make this a ‘once in a lifetime’ vacation for them,” she added.
Sarah said everywhere they’ve been, they are reminded of their children back home.
“We are taking a lot of pictures so we can share this with them when we get back,” she said. “The kids would really love it here — there is a little bit of everything from farmlands to waterfalls, mountains, and the ocean. We’ll just have to work at trying to get everyone here.”
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