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Santa comes to Hanalei

Ching Young Village Shopping Center in Hanalei was festively decorated with Christmas lights, snowmen, reindeer and a giant, huggable teddy bear at Sunday night’s Hanalei Jingle and Mingle.

A crowd of nearly 300 hundred people gathered to enjoy stores and booths featuring items from gifts, jewelry, and clothes to a variety of food and treats from restaurants at the shopping center. Many of the businesses featured special sales just for the event. People flocked to meet Santa Claus, who took pictures with children in front of a Christmas light adorned vintage Volkswagen bus.

Sommer Riehn, a mother from Princeville brought her baby Ocean Riehn to meet Santa. Her daughter had a bright smile and was dressed for the occasion in an elf costume.

“It’s great being able to see your friends and get together here during the holidays,” Riehn said.

Geoff Culverhouse, manager of Ching Young Village, said that the main purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity to boost business, as many shops at the center are still recovering from the April flood.

Cas Schwabe owns Akamai Juice in Hanalei and helped to organize the Hanalei Jingle and Mingle and was happy with how the event turned out, which she thought drew a decently sized crowd.

“Hanalei businesses came together to lift up and celebrate the community,” she said. “It’s so important that the community came together, it’s a good time for the community to celebrate each other after the flood.”

Organic farmers John and Nandanie Wooten gave out healthy snacks to kids waiting in line to meet Santa Claus.

“The spirit of Kauai is aloha spirit, and (they’re showing it) through the spirit of Christmas, too,” John Wooten said.

Movies were played at the event including the popular and well known film “Elf” starring Will Ferrell, who in the film was raised by one of Santa Claus’s elves in the North Pole and goes to meet his father in New York city.

Raffle ticket winners were announced during the event and included a vast assortment of gifts from businesses at the shopping center from jewelry, gift and restaurant certificates to massage coupons for at least one hundred dollars in value.

Christmas carolers sang merrily for all to hear as they traveled around town on a flat bed style truck adorned with Christmas lights. Both the carolers and Santa Claus were brought to the event as part of the efforts contributed by the Kilauea Neighborhood Center.

Culverhouse said that the Hanalei Jingle and Mingle is the first annual Christmas event of it’s kind in Hanalei.

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Monique Rowan is a lifelong North Shore resident who writes occasionally for The Garden Island.
Source: The Garden Island

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