LIHU‘E — Hundreds of people lined Rice Street on Saturday morning for Kaua‘i’s King Kamehameha parade and Ho‘olaule‘a, which was packed with attendees, participants, live entertainment and vendors.
The annual King Kamehameha Day, which officially falls on June 11, celebrates Kamehameha the Great, who is credited with uniting the Hawaiian Islands in 1810.
“This is the pinnacle of the Hawaiian nation, the Hawaiian culture here. So everybody should be at this parade, I think,” said Greg Sadora in an interview with The Garden Island just before the event kicked off.
“Enjoy the culture. That’s what we’re here for,” he added.
Sadora, who was born and raised on Kaua‘i, joined several of his family members on Rice Street to watch the parade. He said he participated in the event back in high school.
“Now the kids, the grandkids are doing it,” he said.
Sisters Calyssa and Nicole Ludington-Braun, who are also from Kaua‘i, were sitting in the back of a pickup truck to watch the event. The siblings had come out to support their mom, Joan Ludington, who marched in the parade as part of the Hale O Na Ali‘i, a Hawaiian Civic Club.
“We’re excited to see all the flowers, and the horses, and the different clubs that came out today to participate,” said Calyssa Ludington-Braun, adding that there was an extensive amount of work that went into putting on the event. “It’s a lot of prep. They prep from like a year in advance.”
She added that they helped gather leaves and flowers, and decorate golf carts for their mom’s organization.
Her sister noted the event’s importance for continuing the Hawaiian culture for younger generations.
“It’s also good because we get together as ‘ohana … The kupuna kind of taught us how to do things that they did back in the day to try to carry on the traditions,” said Nicole Ludington-Braun.
Lyah Kama-Drake, the former commissioner of the state King Kamehameha Celebration Commission and event co-chair, said the event was the first full parade and Ho‘olaule‘a since 2018. She was excited to see the high turnout of attendees and participants. “It’s just an amazing time to see everybody again,” she said.
Kama-Drake stated that a total of 21 different vendors were at the Ho‘olaule‘a and 33 different organizations marched in the parade — noting that it was well-represented with princesses reflecting all of the Hawaiian Islands. She also emphasized the event’s cultural importance. “Because we are in Kauai, it’s so valuable that we teach our culture. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re on Kauai or on another island. We have to perpetuate our culture, you know, and we have to teach our young children. Do you see all these keiki that are here?” she said.
David Hosking, the founder of the motorcycle group 808 Brotherhood, helped organize the 48 bikes and nine different groups that came together to ride in the parade.
“We call ourselves that Kaua‘i Bikers ‘Ohana,” he said of his coalition. “We do a lot of things in the community to promote brotherhood and getting along with everybody.”
Hosking, who has lived on Kaua‘i for 13 years and spent most of his life in Texas, pointed to a flag on the back of his vest — designed to represent the Kanaka Maoli, Hawai‘i, and the U.S. flags.
“I believe that we can all coexist together. That’s what 808 Brotherhood’s all about. And the Kaua‘i Bikers ‘Ohana is about that as well. We can be different and have different views and still respect each other,” he said.
The celebrations continued into the afternoon on Saturday with the Ho‘olaule‘a ending around 3 p.m.
Emma Grunwald, reporter, can be reached 808-652-0638 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island