Coordinated by Kaua‘i Care Center Administrator Brandi Hori-Moises and her ‘ohana at the Waimea care facility, the 38-resident population was wheeled into the spacious parking lot Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the Sunset Cruise.
“This is a lot better than the first one,” a waiting parade driver said. “They held the first one at 10 in the morning. It got pretty hot for the residents. Late afternoon is a lot better because it’s already cooling down.”
Over a dozen vehicles lined the road leading to the Kaua‘i Care Center parking lot for the Sunset Cruise, a cruise-by visit by family members and friends with music, and a flash mob dance that in total peeled nearly 60 minutes off the clock.
“I know you,” said Frank Ruiz, a Kaua‘i Care Center resident who donned a cowboy hat to keep company with Paniolo Hall of Famer Eddie Taniguchi. “I live here now. This is my new home.”
Taniguchi, who also was featured as a grand marshal of a previous Koloa Plantation Days Parade, was one of the star attractions, as his residency drew a caravan of vehicles, and even a horseback rider.
Taniguchi’s ‘ohana brought the ranch to visit, including a mo‘opuna guiding a steed between the ranks of residents that lined the spacious parking lot, face-masked and socially distant in the afternoon sun.
His attention perked and his eyes widened as a command whistle from one of the trucks carrying a load of pig-hunting dogs turned the corner.
“This (no-visitors policy) has been really hard,” said Marissa Purcel, whose grandmother is staying at Kaua‘i Care Center. “She’s been here after falling at home and breaking a leg. My grandfather is 91 years old, and for them not to see each other for this long is just really hard.”
Grandma strained to keep herself in control as the caravan containing her husband, daughters, grandchild and great-grandchildren passed, pausing only briefly before leaving the parking lot.
A flash mob dance with the residents dancing to the lead of a staff member closed the afternoon of excitement before everyone was wheeled back inside before the last rays of daylight faded.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.