Reluctant grand marshal

LIHUE — When Franklin Manoiki Contrades Jr. was chosen to be this year’s grand marshal of The King’s Parade and Celebration, his family was overjoyed.

He wasn’t.

“Everyone tells me that I should be happy and that everyone is excited to go down there and see me,” he said.

But Contrades wasn’t wild about being in Saturday’s spotlight.

“I didn’t really care for it at first. I wanted to go with the rest of the kupuna on the tram,” Contrades said. “But someone told me that I should represent. I’m the first guy from Anahola (to be grand marshal). Getting closer to it, I’ll be feeling better about it but right now, not too happy. I don’t want to be in the parade. But I’ll do it to please everyone. I don’t want to lie to you, but I’m kind of nervous.”

It’s not his first experience being a part of the festivities.

“I was the King for Aloha Week back a long time ago, in the early 70s, I think,” he said. “We represented Kauai and we went to Oahu to meet the king and queen over there also. All the other islands merged there on Oahu.”

Nowadays, Contrades prefers sitting on the tram with the kupuna: talking, singing and waving behind the scenes. He’s also helping make lei for people in the parade and a large lei that will wrap around the side of the tram.

“When we’re through, I want to get going,” Contrades said. “I want to make sure that my house is all painted. This will take some time off from that. All in all, I will just enjoy it. It is something to be in a parade like this.”

Born on Kauai and raised in Honolulu, Contrades has always considered the Garden Isle home. His son, Raymond, lives on the mainland and is trying to fly back to Kauai to see his father in the parade.

“I told him that if he can’t get anything by tomorrow, I told him to just forget about it,” Contrades said.

He’s hoping for a cool parade day.

“I’m not ready for it really, but I’ll know I have to get ready for it,” he said. “I said that everyone else can do the waving and I’ll just (nod my head).”

Contrades said his cousin was in the parade last year and has encouraged him to enjoy the moment so when he looks back on his experience, he’ll have fond memories.

When asked if he would consider being the grand marshal again if he does enjoy Saturday’s parade, Contrades shook his head.

“Just this time only,” he said. “There’s other people. A lot of people out there that can contribute a lot to the community and they have every right to do the same thing that I’m doing now.”

The King’s Parade and Celebration starts on Ho‘olako Street at 9 a.m. and follows Rice Street to the Historic County Building.

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