Hawaii Kai sets July 4 bash
Henry Kapono will join area residents for fun and a fireworks show on Independence Day
Hawaii Kai residents might not have to drive to Ala Moana or Kailua to watch Fourth of July fireworks this summer.
A nonprofit group is partnering with the city to put on the East Oahu neighborhood's first major Independence Day event, with food and music from 2 to 9 p.m. at Maunalua Bay across from Roy's Restaurant, organizers say.
Confirmed entertainers include Henry Kapono, John Cruz, the Kaiser High School and Niu Valley Middle School bands, hula groups and Waikiki impressionist Jonathan Von Brana, who is scheduled to take the stage at 8 p.m., when a 15-minute fireworks display will erupt from an offshore barge, said Cha Thompson, chairwoman of the Independence Day at Maunalua Bay Foundation.
Area residents, who have been planning the inaugural show for about eight months and hope to have it annually, drew support from various businesses and groups who will contribute to its $100,000 estimated tab, said Thompson, co-owner of Tihati Productions Ltd.
"The reason (for having it) is to simply bring the community together and not having to fight the traffic to Ala Moana or to Kailua, which is what people from our district do," she said.
Noble Turner, president of the Hawaii Kai Chamber of Commerce, said the festivities will give people a chance to meet their neighbors.
"Everybody is kind of disjointed, disconnected in Hawaii Kai. This is a way for all of us to come together one day a year and celebrate," he said.
The Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board voted unanimously in November to pass a resolution backing the project, board Chairman Greg Knudsen said.
"We anticipate there will be some parking issues, but overall it's worthwhile for the community to put that on," he said.
New Hope Church will offer free shuttle rides for motorists parking at Kaiser High and the city's Park and Ride lot, said foundation Vice Chairman Noah Parker. The Hawaii Kai Towne Center also will have stalls available, he said. The city has approved the event, and the foundation expects to get a fireworks permit soon, Parker said.