The King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade on Saturday in Lihue was many things.
It was beautiful.
It was colorful.
It was delightful.
It was gift.
Princesses came from neighbor islands. Horses were decorated with brilliant foliage and colors of each island. Representing King Kamehameha was William Kaauwai II of Wailua, while the parade’s Grand Marshal was Dora Swain of Anahola. Wade Tsuneo Nakamoto was the Pa‘u Marshal. Betty Jean Perreira-Nakamoto was the Pa‘u Queen.
What is this day about? Kamehameha Day, a county and state holiday, was established by royal decree in 1871 by King Kamehameha V as a national holiday, created to honor the memory of Kamehameha, the king’s great-grandfather, who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 and ruled as Hawaii’s first king.
The parade is described as a “Hawaiian tradition of pa’u riding, celebrates the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) traditions introduced in the 1820s. Resplendent in the foliage and colors of each island, beautiful women and handsome men make their way along the parade route.”
It is that, and more.
Swain put it well: “I’ve always enjoyed sharing my Hawaii with other people. It was always, ‘This is what I love; this is what I have; this is what I hope you enjoy, also.’”
For Swain, the distinction of Grand Marshal is another outlet to spread her love of the island and Hawaiian culture with others.
“It’s nice how it came about. I love my island, my people, and I love to share it with others. I try to help people to learn. If you cannot say anything good, which includes my island, don’t say anything.”
Entrants traveled far and at some expense to be here. The parade was an hour-long celebration that put the island’s culture and history on display. The few hundred spectators did not go home disappointed.
If there was disappointment, it was that there weren’t more people watching this very special annual parade that stretched from Vidinha Stadium to the Historic County Building. It would have been nice to see the curbs and sidewalks filled with people looking on, cheering and taking pictures. But the crowd, really, was sparse, especially early in the parade route. There were too many vacant sections along Rice Street, which was surprising. With so much effort that goes into preparing for the King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade, with the time and effort entrants put into the floral arrangements, they deserve applause from start to finish.
All who came to the parade know just how wonderful it was.
Those who didn’t, well, you missed out. But the good news is, you’ll have another chance to witness it, to be part of it, next year.
See you then.