Battling Christmas trees come to Poipu

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Monique Golden of SoHa Living is another Battle Royale participant who brought her tree outside their store at The Shops at Kukuiula.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Salt + Sea owner Maile Taylor squeezes her Battle Royale Christmas Tree into her store at The Shops at Kukuiula.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kristen Kaohelauli‘i of Deja Vu Surf Hawaii brings their Battle Royale Christmas Tree outdoors at The Shops at Kukuiula.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Drake Elvenia, Aaron Andersland, Tryston Dela Cruz, Nobleen Garcia, Christian Garcia and John Stoker of Roy’s Eating House 1849 show off their Christmas Tree Battle Royale entry at The Shops at Kukuiula.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Leimomi Keoho and Jocyelynn Vasconcelles of Coldwell Banker Island Properties put finishing touches on their “First Foot Forward” tree during the Christmas Tree Battle Royale at The Shops at Kukuiula.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Tita Vargas of Poipu Sole needs votes for their Christmas Tree Battle Royale that was decorated by Kai Motooka at The Shops at Kukuiula.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kai Motooka and Kiana Pagador of Poipu Surf show off one of two trees decorated by Motooka for the Christmas Tree Battle Royale at the Shops at Kukuiula.

Kai Motooka used his breaks to decorate two Christmas trees — one at Poipu Sole and the other at Poipu Surf — for The Shops at Kukuiula Christmas Tree Battle Royale that started Wednesday.

“He’s on break right now,” said Kiana Pagador of Poipu Surf. “We can do a photo when he gets back.”

The two trees are part of the decorated-tree contest taking place at 17 participating vendors at The Shops at Kukuiula, where voters cast their ballots for their favorite tree by donating two canned goods for each vote. The contest runs until Friday, Dec. 13, with the winners being selected and contacted on Monday, Dec. 16.

Contributing voters will also be entered to win a holiday prize package from The Shops at Kukuiula.

The canned-goods votes will be turned over to the Kauai Independent Food Bank as part of its Holiday Healthy Food and Fund drive that runs through Dec. 31. Cash and can-good donations go to the mission of helping feed Kauai’s hungry during the holiday season and beyond.

“We are grateful for Alexander &Baldwin and The Shops at Kukuiula for their continuous support, especially for this year’s Holiday Food Drive,” said Kelvin Moniz, KIFB executive director. “Donations raised at the holiday celebrations at The Shops will help to serve many Kauai families in need through our various programs.”

The Battle Royale Christmas Tree contest marks the start of a trio of holiday-themed events for The Shops at Kukuiula, where special, hand-painted gift bags from Koloa School students are also available for a minimal donation as a fundraiser for the school.

“We are excited to welcome our guests for the holidays while giving back to our community, especially through our partnership with the Kauai Independent Food Bank,” said Stacie Chiba-Miguel, general manager at The Shops at Kukuiula.

On Dec. 13, the final day of the Battle Royale voting, The Shops at Kukuiula welcomes Santa and a “snowy surprise” during the Third Annual Holiday Bash that takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. centered around The Palm Court area.

A holiday hula offering with kumu hula Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin and Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina‘ala will grace the area, along with entertainment from the John Rivera Collective amidst the culinary delights and refreshments from participating restaurants.

The seasonal merriment continues on Wednesday, Dec. 18 with “A Very Merry Kauai Culinary Market,” featuring delicious treats, live holiday music, and a visit from Santa before Christmas. Shannon Hiramoto of MachineMachine will return to host the popular holiday bag-printing station using her hand-carved printing blocks.

Mary Lardizabal and the Kapaa Middle School Choir and Ukulele Band wrap up the year with a holiday caroling performance on Saturday, Dec. 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or


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