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Parade Day in Waimea

<p>A young boy with the keiki pau riders unit present a ho’okupu, or gift, to the Royal Court during the the 38th Annual Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

A young boy with the keiki pau riders unit present a ho’okupu, or gift, to the Royal Court during the the 38th Annual Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>Pau riders representing Maui ride in the 38th Annual Waimea Paniolo parade on Saturday. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

Pau riders representing Maui ride in the 38th Annual Waimea Paniolo parade on Saturday. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>Pa’u king Danny Akaka plays his ukulele as he rides in the 38th Annual Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

Pa’u king Danny Akaka plays his ukulele as he rides in the 38th Annual Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>Pa’u king Danny Akaka plays his ukulele as he rides in the 38th Annual Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

Pa’u king Danny Akaka plays his ukulele as he rides in the 38th Annual Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>A boy scout carries a ho’okupu, or gift, to present to the Royal Court during the Waimea Paniolo Parade. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

A boy scout carries a ho’okupu, or gift, to present to the Royal Court during the Waimea Paniolo Parade. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>The Royal Court leads the Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday morning. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

The Royal Court leads the Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday morning. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>Ho’okupu are offered to the Royal Court at the Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday. The parade is one of Hawaii Island Festival’s “30 Days of Aloha” annual events. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

Ho’okupu are offered to the Royal Court at the Waimea Paniolo Parade on Saturday. The parade is one of Hawaii Island Festival’s “30 Days of Aloha” annual events. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)

Although it rained early Saturday morning, by 10 a.m., it was a gorgeous day for a parade. People lined both sides of the street from Church Row to Waimea Park, and waited for the 30th Annual Paniolo Parade and Ho‘olaule‘a, part of the Hawaii Island Festivals.

Chadd Paishon and Pomai Bertelmann were announcers together, offering facts and tidbits about the parade units, Hawaiian culture and Waimea’s history.

“This is a good opportunity to care for our ‘aina, to malama our keiki and enjoy the day with family and community,” Paishon said.

Midway throughout the parade, a piece of rubbish blown down the road by the wind was caught by parade goers.

“Kokua everybody!” called Bertelmann into the mic. “That’s how we malama da ‘aina!”

It takes a lot of work and effort, time and money, to put together the costumes and leis for the pa‘u riders and their horses. Pa‘u Marshal was Kaniela Akaka, and his beautiful wife Anna was Pa‘u Queen.

Representing all of the islands, Na Meheu o Na Po‘e Paniolo, are keiki pa‘u riders who have been riding in the parade for nine years. All come from families who are current ranchers, and some of the children have been riding since they were 3 years old. As they have grown, their kuleana with the unit has grown, too.

Their name, which translates “The footsteps of the paniolo people,” represents how important it is that this tradition is passed on within families.

As the “pooper scoopers” did their job, plopping horse manure into monstera-decorated quads, Paishon joked, “This is what grandchildren are for. That’s why we have plenty kids.”

The Waimea Cowboys football team marched down the street, followed by their cheerleaders. Holding the banner though, were two girls, who are part of the team.

Several schools were represented, including Punana Leo O Waimea, Waimea Middle, HPA, Kanu O Ka ‘Aina, Waimea Country School and Hawaii Montessori School.

The Hawaii County Band, which has been around for 129 years, wore their red and white palaka shirts in honor of the Paniolo tradition. And Kekoa Kane, winner of the 2013 Clyde Kindy Sproat Falsetto contest, sang with his sweet voice ringing out with only his ukulele to accompany him.

Kim Epley, a new teacher at Waimea Middle School, just moved here from Arizona and has been on the Big Island for only a month. As she walked toward the Ho‘olaule‘a after the parade was over, Epley said she was amazed at the diversity of people.

“So many people in the parade were multi-cultural,” said Epley. “I feel so blessed to be here, and I hope I can blend in.”

Queenie Dowsett, a judge for the pa‘u riders, said they all were wonderful, and that she was honored to be at the parade.

“I’m from the archives,” Dowsett laughed. “I’m happy that they still call me.”

The Ho‘olaule‘a attracted a large crowd, with music provided by Darlene Ahuna, Mokuleo and Na Hoku Hano Hano Award winner Kuana Torres Kahele. Local food, island crafts and the aloha spirit was abundant at the 30th Annual Paniolo Parade and Ho‘olaule‘a.