STAR-BULLETIN / 2007
Donations have ensured that the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade will not be canceled this year, as had been feared. Here, the Hawaiian Airlines float carries the Royal Court (Gerard Counselor is to the right of the float) during last year's parade.
Aloha Festivals parade is saved
Private and city funds keep parade on route
STORY SUMMARY »
The Aloha Festivals Floral Parade is no longer in jeopardy.
Organizers say they have secured $50,000 in donations and have enough funds now for the Sept. 13 parade.
Contributions poured from local businesses and organizations after the Star-Bulletin reported last month that the parade was at risk of being suspended for the first time in 60 years.
"Let's hope everything goes off with a bang, but it's all about scrambling now," said Angeline Tripp, who says she will participate for the fourth time in the party through a pa'u unit representing the island of Kahoolawe.
FULL STORY »
The Aloha Festivals Floral Parade, which faced cancellation for the first time in 60 years because of a lack of money, will go on as scheduled thanks to at least $50,000 in donations.
The 62nd Annual Aloha Festivals Floral Parade
What: An equestrian procession of female and male pa'u riders, floats with Hawaiian flowers, hula halau and marching bands
When: 9 a.m.
Where: From Ala Moana Beach Park to Kapiolani Park, along Kalakaua Avenue through Waikiki
The amount was needed for the nonprofit to secure a $200,000 grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority for the Sept. 13 parade, which goes through Waikiki from Ala Moana Beach Park to Kapiolani Park starting at 9 a.m.
Contributions came from several local businesses and organizations, such as the Hawaii Jaycees, a service group that launched a "Save the Parade" campaign after the Star-Bulletin reported last month about the festivals' financial woes.
"The Hawaii Jaycees helped create the Aloha Festivals over 60 years ago, so the histories of our two organizations are connected," Hawaii Jaycees President Patrick Tomiyasu said in a statement. "It made sense for us to help continue this long-running tradition for future generations of kamaaina and visitors."
Other donors included the City and County of Honolulu, the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association, NCL America, Hilton Grand Vacations, Anthology Marketing Group and Milici Valenti Ng Pack Advertising, the festivals said. Victor Punua Sr., an emeritus festivals board member, also made a generous donation, organizers said.
Festivals officials could not say yesterday exactly how much was raised or give a breakdown by individual donors because they were still crunching numbers.
"We are extremely grateful for all the aloha we have received," said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, the festivals' executive board president.
Last month, Nakanelua-Richards said the festivals were running $50,000 short in funds for the annual parade. She said a three-year sponsorship contract with Hawaiian Airlines to run the event -- featuring lei-draped pa'u horse riders, marching bands, floats and hula halau -- had expired last year and that no major donors had been found.
Unlike the festivals' Waikiki Hoolaulea, which is backed by several hotels and also brings in revenue through food vendors, the floral parade "is a complete expense," she said at the time.
The suspension of the parade would have been a first for the festivals, which celebrated 60 years in 2006 and have happened every year except for after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
First conceived by Honolulu businessman Harry Nordmark in 1946, Aloha Festivals was created as Aloha Week to help preserve Hawaii's traditions. Originally held during the makahiki season in October, it grew in 1974 to a monthlong festival that spanned the islands. The name was changed to Aloha Festivals in 1991 to reflect further expansion that now includes hundreds of events, including pageantry, parades, street parties, concerts and family activities.
Although the floral parade will be held this year, officials said continued community support will be key to ensuring the party happens in the future. People can help the parade by buying $5 ribbons starting Aug. 1. The ribbons' design reflects the Aloha Festivals' theme this year, "Hula, the Art of Hawaiian Dance."
On Sept. 11, Aloha Festivals will present the Royal Court Investiture at the Hilton Hawaiian Village at 9:30 a.m., followed by the festivals' opening ceremony on the grounds of Iolani Palace at 4:30 p.m. The Hoolaulea in Waikiki is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 12.