Children of Punana Leo o Waimea, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the Hawaiian language, approach the Royal Court with a hu’kupu, or gift last year. (FILE PHOTO)
A pa’u princess rides in last year’s Paniolo Parade. (FILE PHOTO)
Ladies of the Ahahui Ka’humanu society wave to the crowd as they ride on a float through the parade last year. (FILE PHOTO)
Halau Hula Ka No’au students perform as they walk through the Paniolo Parade last year. (FILE PHOTO)
Cinch up your saddle and shine up your boots for this year’s 38th Annual Paniolo Parade on Saturday, Sept. 21, in Waimea. The event is part of Hawaii Island Festival’s “30 Days of Aloha, ” a monthlong celebration that of Hawaiian culture that perpetuates the aloha spirit of Hawaii Island through a line-up of signature events and activities.
“This years Paniolo Parade features stunning pa’u mounted units with princes and their escorts representing each of the Hawaiian Islands, a signature of Paniolo Parade,” said Nelson Ray Parker, marketing director for the Hawaii Island Festival. “The Ho’olaule’a features craft vendors from all over Hawaii filling the large tent while some of Hawaii’s best artist perform live on stage including Darlene Ahuna, Mokuleo and this past year’s big Na Hoku Hano Hano Award winner Kuana Torres Kahele. Also you will still be able to get your ‘Keepsake Ribbon,’ which will give you a chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas from Vacations Hawaii.”
The Annual Paniolo Parade honors the accomplishments of the early paniolo, and celebrates the on-going legacy of cowboy heritage. Cattle were introduced to Hawaii as early as 1798. Then in 1832, Mexican vaqueros were invited from California to Hawaii to teach the Hawaiian people how to rope, ride, and tend cattle. This Spanish-vaquero heritage is still evident today and is carried on in the surnames of many Hawaiian ranching families. It can also be found in the traditional Hawaiian saddle, the noho lio, and some styles of Hawaiian formal wear. The word “paniolo” is thought to have originated from the word “español,” which means “Spanish.”
Other vaquero contributions to the local culture include the ukulele and guitar, and the hardworking, cowboy lifestyle. In 1908, Ikua Purdy, great-grandson of John Palmer Parker and Kipikane, along with fellow paniolo, Archid Kaapua and Eben Low, competed in the Frontier Days World Championship Rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Their rodeo skills earned them top honors and the nickname “Hawaii Roughriders.”
The parade begins promptly at 10 a.m. from historic Church Row Park and runs through town to Waimea Park. Parade participants include regal mounted pa’u riders adorned with the flowers and colors of the island, as well as numerous keiki and kupuna groups. Immediately following the parade the Ho’olaule’a festivities begin at Waimea Ball Park.
This all day celebration heralds the importance of ohana, traditions, horsemanship, cultural kuleana, the arts, and delicious food and music.
“We’ll have some of everything this year, including fried fish plates, barbecue pork and lau lau, musubi, Guava chicken, stir fried noodles, hot dogs, chicken-papaya bowls, Korean barbecue, kalua pig and cabbage, tropical drinks, shave ice, poi balls, and lots more,” Ho’olaule’a food booth chairwoman, Linda Pokipala. “We’ll start serving at 9 a.m. and go until 4 or 4:30 p.m.”
The public is invited to spend the day. There is no charge to enjoy the parade and Ho’olaule’a, however there is a suggested purchase of a $5 festival ribbon to help support and perpetuate the festival. For information or to participate in parade, call Moani Akana at 885-3110. Food and craft vendors are still wanted. For more information, call Ho’olaule’a food booth chairwoman Linda Pokipala at 937-4896 and Ho’olaule’a craft vendor chairwoman Lorna Akima at 960-2841, or visit www.hawaiiislandfestival.org.