Tree lighting ceremony kicks off holiday season

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Dawson Franco keeps an eye on the free books being distributed by Keiki to Career Saturday during the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival at Hofgaard Park in Waimea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Penny Young gets help from Brandie Aguinaldo in dispensing dollops of icing for cookie-decorating fans Saturday during the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival at Hofgaard Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Diners waiting on their orders from Da Booze Shop enjoy the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival from the sidewalk of businesses lit up for the annual event at Hofgaard Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kay Koike checks with Cade Tanaka of Waimea High School Project Grad on a snack tub Saturday during the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival at Hofgaard Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The Big Save store in Waimea is framed by lights of Hofgaard Park Saturday during the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival presented by the West Kauai Business & Professional Association.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai Fire Department Chief Robert Westerman has a large audience listening to him read one of the free books presented by Keiki to Career Saturday during the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival at Hofgaard Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Lights go on to the holiday decorations at Ishihara Market Saturday during the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival presented by the West Kauai Business & Professional Association.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kikue Yamamoto, 101, is among the throng of people enjoying the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival presented by the West Kauai Business & Professional Association Saturday at Hofgaard Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster sing of a furry Christmas at the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival at Hofgaard Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The sidewalks fronting Ishihara Market burst into bloom with lights following the countdown to the Waimea Annual Tree Lighting Festival presented by the West Kauai Business & Professional Association Saturday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Hofgaard Park in Waimea is lit up with holiday lights following the countdown that turned on the street decoration lighting Saturday evening.

Kikue Yamamoto is 101 years young, and read about Naoko Ogata’s birthday last week, Eric Nordmeier said Saturday at Hofgaard Park in Waimea.

“They’re good friends,” Nordmeier said. “She said she’s older, too!”

Yamamoto was among the Kauai Care Home guests who mingled with more than 700 people who bundled up against the Waimea chill for the tree lighting ceremony that welcomed the holidays to the Westside town.

“Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. was supposed to come,” said Penny Young, one of the leaders for the ceremony. “But he didn’t want to share the cold germs so he has Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman representing him, and reading to the children.”

Westerman had little problem collecting a crowd of listeners as he read one of the many books being distributed free by the Keiki to Career volunteers. The young recipients had the opportunity to create bookmarks as well as take a turn decorating holiday cookies.

The event also triggered the start of the Waimea Street Decorating that enhances the annual Waimea Christmas Lighted Parade that will take place on Dec. 15.

Across the street at Ishihara Market, a perennial winner of the decorating contest, store manager Darren Curameng waited for the sun to dip into the Pacific Ocean, anxious to turn on this year’s edition of holiday lights under the new Sullivan Corp. ownership.

“We’re missing some things,” Curameng said. “We don’t have Ray and Guy (Ishihara), and we lost a couple of trees. But we’re ready!”

The lighting was delayed as David Leong led the Waimea High School band to not just one, but several hana hou performances prompted by the crowd that surged beyond the boundaries of Hofgaard Park as darkness teased the streets and cooled the Westside heat. They were fueled by a sugar rush from the variety of handmade treats offered by the Waimea High School Project Grad.

Westerman led the countdown before the lights that also triggered the tent and stage lighting, where a trio of Sesame Street characters met with eager, stage-surging young people squealing in delight.

The displays are on nightly from sunset through the holidays and will be especially bright on Dec. 15 when the lighted Christmas parade goes through town starting at 6:15 p.m.

“Remember, the streets close down before that time,” said Esther Estes, the parade chair. “Come early, get your parking space, and enjoy some of the many treats being offered by community nonprofits like the Waimea High School Project Grad.”

•••

Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

1 Comments
  1. I saw a Vampire once December 3, 2018 11:01 am Reply

    I just thought the mayor would show up. After all, he is the representative for your culture. Football. They voted for him. I wonder if they paid him a lot for playing football at UH and being a mayor. And some thing else. Paperwork.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.