LIHUE — Ray Carpenter, a Rotary Club of Kapaa member, did not have on his Rotarian shirt Monday morning at the Lihue United Church.
“This is a very good breakfast,” Carpenter said. “This is the first time we’ve been here. You should try to eat, too.”
Carpenter, normally seen volunteering and working at community events, was enjoying the 38th annual Labor Day Breakfast with his wife Kathy and friend, Jan Rentz.
“This is my first time, too,” Rentz said. “I noticed that our good friend Joyce Irwin is involved with this so we had to come to show our support.”
A steady stream of people flowed through the breakfast line that was entertained with live entertainment.
“I don’t know how many tickets we’ve collected,” said Lois Ricciardi, who was getting help from Nina Saraos and Nina Magoun. “The crowd has been steady all morning. We must have served up the same as last year, and maybe more, because this year we have the tent on the lawn to accommodate the overflow.”
Kaleo Carvalho, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s protocol officer, was one of the “live entertainment,” filling in for the mayor at the annual event whose proceeds benefited The Bridge: Kauai to College, and Ho‘omalu Foster Care.
“They have me singing between acts,” Carvalho said. “The mayor comes home today, and in the meantime, I’m the fill-in act.”
John Lydgate flitted between the tables set up at the Parish Hall, greeting the swelling crowd who enjoyed their breakfast and the unique entertainment which included the Welch family and Tongan dance.
“I’ve been coming here because my grandfather, Rev. John Mortimer Lydgate, was the first pastor of this church in 1896,” Lydgate said. “This is my first year as a greeter, and this is so community. It’s nice to see people leaving with smiles on their faces.”
Rev. Phyllis Meighen, the interim pastor at the Lihue United Church, was pleased with not only the amount of people who took advantage of the holiday breakfast, but with the number of happy faces.
“This is so nice,” Meighen said. “A lot of the people haven’t seen each other for a while, and they tell me how nice it is to reconnect at this breakfast. This is also a way to introduce some new talent, like the Welch family doing Irish music. I also haven’t seen the Tongans dance until this morning.”
Marcia Welch, mother and homeschool teacher for Taylor, Daniel, Katherine and Annamarie Welch, said her students love doing the performance.
“They love it,” she said. “We gave them violin and piano lessons, and mom and dad get to enjoy this. But they like to hide it and just surprise mom.”
Ricciardi said the breakfast started 38 years ago by Lindy Mann as a fundraiser for the church.
“When we started doing this, it was pancakes or French toast,” Ricciardi said. “It was just a fundraiser for the church. Somewhere along the way, the breakfast became a way to raise funds for community missions.”