Friday, April 11, 2003

Kailua fund-raising party
may be ending this year

By Pat Gee

The party may soon be over in Kailua.

The "I Love Kailua Town Party" has been a popular community fund-raising event for the last 10 years.

But it is getting harder and more expensive to put on, says Lyn Turner, president of the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle, who has organized the fund-raiser the past three years.

Turner said this year's party, to be held Sunday, will probably be the last.

Just to keep the tradition going this year, she had to draft her husband, Jim, and brother Steve Knox to coordinate a function that takes a year to plan.

The Outdoor Circle uses the proceeds to beautify the main roads into the town.

Local restaurants dish up "A Taste of Kailua," entertainers perform, residents sell their plants and crafts, and children take part in activities just for them. The Outdoor Circle sells admission buttons, T-shirts and bumper stickers that regularly run out and may become collector's items if this is their last party, she said.

The price of partying has climbed.

Things the Outdoor Circle never had to pay for before are now eating into profits, such as erecting temporary fencing to mark off the party grounds in the parking lot behind First Hawaiian Bank; providing large garbage containers and the paper goods; and putting up tents, according to Turner.

The Outdoor Circle grosses about $55,000 but makes an average of $18,000 in profits a year, all of which goes toward landscaping that is costing more and more to maintain, Turner said. Sprinkler systems are vandalized or break down, a landscape architect has to be hired and someone has to do the weeding and trimming. The group is hoping the city will take over the task, she said.

The organization was hoping to install more landscaping on a strip about a mile beyond Castle Hospital toward Kailua town, but that project must wait, Turner said.

"We're not sure how we are going to raise funds" once the party is over, but Turner is hoping organizations like the Kailua Chamber of Commerce and the Kailua Urban Design Task Force can "come together" with the Outdoor Circle to put on a joint fund-raiser.

"We're all doing something to benefit the town of Kailua, but we're all going our separate ways. We need to come together," she said.

Anyone who wants to take over the planning of next year's fund-raiser should call Turner at 254-5477.

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