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Thousands experience historic Koloa Plantation Days parade and celebration

Several thousand people braved the misting rains on Saturday morning to enjoy the historic Koloa Plantation Days parade and adjacent park celebration that effectively wrapped up the 10-day celebration of history and festivities celebrating Koloa and Po‘ipu.

“Did you get stuck in the traffic?” Pillare Mukai of The Shops at Kuku‘iula wanted to know. “There was an accident near the Tree Tunnel.”

The accident only served to detract from the parade, as the Kaua‘i Fire Department pulled its units from parade participation to respond to the situation with sirens blaring and red lights flashing, adding excitement for the scores of people waiting on the sidewalks lining the “main drag” along the parade route.

“The craft vendors, including two dozen participating from the Kaua‘i Made program, reported good activity,” said Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, the event coordinator. “I even found a perfect model for my roast pork plate from the Joe Grace ‘ohana, who received a special proclamation from Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami.”

“I really miss him,” said Paulette Grace, the widow of Joe Grace who anchored the KJ Lunchwagon. “But, I know he’s looking down on all this and telling us, ‘We gotta do this.’”

Kawakami, astride a horse (along with Kaua‘i County Council member Billy DeCosta) from the CJM Country Stables, visited the parade spectators and parade participants alike because he announced that he would have to leave early.

“The University of Hawai‘i basketball team was on our flight,” said Drum Major, Musician Second Class Jaclyn Skeweris of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band that provided not only music for the parade, but overflowed to take the stage at the accompanying park celebration.

The total of more than 40 parade units, a lot of them being “Walking Units” unleashed their finery along the route that started under the shadow of the dragon anchoring the recent Kaua‘i Pride Parade across the Koloa Elementary School and Koloa Public Library, and wound its way along crowd-filled streets to Anne Knudsen Park for the park celebration.

“I knew we should’ve entered,” said Edwin Vea, the coordinator of the monthly Beach House Craft Fair, who was conveniently parked next to a vocal station near the newly-opened pickleball courts. “No more plumeria sticks. Maybe next year.”

Greg Askew, enjoying his new-found status as a “spectator” instead of a vendor, tooled the parade route atop a bicycle, taking advantage to promote the upcoming two-day Heiva I Kaua‘i Tahitian Dance Competition and festival that will grace Kapa‘a Beach Park on Saturday and Sunday.

The 2023 Koloa Plantation Days with a theme of “Uniting Cultures As One ‘Ohana,” is made possible through the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Community Enrichment program, the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, the County of Kaua‘i and a host of community sponsors.
Source: The Garden Island

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