‘Tis the season: Holiday parades return in full force

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    The HELCO Toys For Tots train rides in the 2019 Kailua-Kona Community Christmas Parade.


    Angels wave to the crowd at the 2019 Kailua-Kona Community Christmas Parade. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Angels wave to the crowd at the 2019 Kailua-Kona Community Christmas Parade. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to the crowd at the 2019 Kailua-Kona Community Christmas Parade. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today file photo)

‘Tis the season for a lighted parade in Kona.

The 36th annual Kailua-Kona Christmas Parade, “Na Mele o Kalikimaka” or “The songs of Christmas Island Style” returns to Kailua Village at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10.


This year marks the return to a traditional parade following last year’s walk through hybrid celebration because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions. No parade was held in 2020 as the pandemic raged.

Floats, lighted trucks, song and of course the jolly ol’ man, Santa himself, will make their way through the parade route, spreading joy and holiday cheer to all, organizers said. Grand Marshals for this year’s parade are a trio of organizations that helped to keep the community fed during the pandemic: La‘i‘opua 2020, The Food Basket and Ironman Foundation.

“We are thrilled to be able to have the Christmas parade, a regular Christmas parade,” said Kailua-Kona Community Parade Association co-chairperson Barbara Kossow. “This community loves parades, and the businesses love to participate and showcase the creative talent with all the lights on the trucks and vehicles. It’s just a joy. It’s all about giving and loving and seeing everybody back.”

Another highlight will be the Konawaena High School Wildcats football team, which recently brought home the school’s first-ever state Division I football title.

The parade will start at Kekuaokalani Gym, travel south on Kuakini Highway to Palani Road and continue down Alii Drive to the Coconut Grove Marketplace.

The Food Basket will be collecting rice and canned goods from their float along the parade route to supply their warehouse for the holidays, organizers said. Announcing stations will be set up at Tony Honda, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, YWAM Ships, Hulihee Palace, Hale Halawai and Island Lava Java.

A host of road closures will be in effect starting at 4:45 p.m. to accommodate the parade, which as of this week had over two dozen entries.

Businesses, nonprofit organizations and neighborhood groups are encouraged to still join in the festivities.

“We would love to have more participants,” said Kossow.

Visit paradesinkona.com for an application. Applications must be submitted by December 6.

Waimea’s 62nd annual Christmas Twilight Parade will take place this Saturday, Dec. 3, starting at 5:30 p.m. The theme of this year’s parade is “He Kalikimaka Ho‘oli Keiki” or “A Children’s Christmas Cheer.”

There will be dozens of lighted floats and trucks and of course Santa. The parade will honor Mel Paio and feature Grand Marshall Ku Kahakalau.

The parade will start at Waimea Park to Lindsey Road, then left on Mamalahoa Highway to Pukalani, then right on Ala Ohi‘a Road to the District Park. Fifteen narrator stations will be set up along the route. Candy throwing is not permitted.

Following the parade is Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope’s Winter Star Party from 7 to 9 p.m. at 65-1238 Mamalahoa Highway in Waimea. Attendees can check out telescopes, enjoy refreshments, partake in keiki activities and more.

For more information visit waimeatown.org/parade.

Also Dec. 10, the Waikoloa Village Association hosts the Waikoloa Village Christmas parade from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the South Kohala town. The parade will start at the Kamakoa Nui Skate Park and finish near Waikoloa School. Keiki Fest will fun from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school featuring photos with Santa, a canine parade and more.

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