Home for the Holidays: Kalakoa contest replaces Kailua-Kona Christmas Parade in 2020

  • The Kailua-Kona Community Parade Association is running a virtual kalakoa contest in place of the 2020 Christmas Parade. Contestants can submit their art online at paradesinkona.com or drop off submissions in person at the West Hawaii Civic Center. (Courtesy photo/West Hawaii Today)

Christmas in Kona is going to look a little different in 2020.

Gone is the annual Christmas Parade. Though it was originally scheduled for Sunday, organizers at the Kailua-Kona Community Parade Association ultimately made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s parade due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“We followed along with the Waimea parade; I think Waimea came out first to say that they would not be having a parade,” said co-chair of the Kailua-Kona Community Parade Association Barbara Kossow. “We went along with the other groups around the island. We didn’t do the Fourth of July parade, there was no Ironman parade, there was no Veterans Day parade — pretty much, we’ve taken a pause this year.”

For the first time in 36 years, floats will not traverse the roads of Kailua Village for the annual Christmas Parade. The association has instead organized a virtual kalakoa contest, where contestants of all ages can submit a photo, drawing or coloring. The categories range from pre-K to kupuna, with special ohana photo categories including best Christmas tree lights, furry family members and funny Christmas photos.

“We all met and tossed around different ideas,” said Kossow. “This is what the committee came up with. They thought to open it up to everyone for this coloring and drawing contest. We have monies that we can offer; what we were thinking of doing was gift cards from businesses in town for the winners. That would support the businesses.”

All entries in the contest can either be submitted online at paradesinkona.com or dropped off in person at the West Hawaii Civic Center. All submissions must be received by Wednesday, Dec. 16. Winners will be announced on the Parades in Kona’s Facebook Live at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec.19, with prizes being awarded from local restaurants and stores.

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Kossow and the Kailua-Kona Community Parade Association are eager to see what artistic flair will come from Big Island residents.

“I’m excited to see what we get back,” said Kossow. “There’s a lot of talented people out there.”

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