Hooray! Aloha Fest parade will go on
A shortage of funds threatened to cancel a colorful island tradition.
PEOPLE do love a parade. Some so much that they opened their pocketbooks to save one from a shameful demise.
Come September, the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade will grace Ala Moana Boulevard and Kalakaua Avenue, marking the 61st time the vibrant procession of blossom-adorned floats and pa'u riders resplendent in greenery and colors of each of Hawaii's islands will entertain locals and visitors.
But for the generosity and efforts of individuals, businesses and organizations, most notably the Hawaii Jaycees, the parade would have been canceled.
The organizers were short of the $50,000 needed to qualify for a $200,000 grant to put on the cavalcade through Waikiki and officials feared it would have to be called off. Since its inception in 1946, that has happened only once - in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
After publicity in the Star-Bulletin last month, the Hawaii Jaycees, which helped create the festival's predecessor, the Aloha Week, way back when, launched a "Save the Parade" drive. It organized fund-raising with various Jaycees chapters, held weekend collections and set up a Web site with a link to accept contributions. Once again, Hawaii displayed its giving spirit.
The parade has been the focal point of the festivals, which also includes street parties, concerts and other events. This year's theme is hula, a vital expression of the Hawaiian culture that the original Aloha Week was designed to preserve. Community support will be needed for future festivals and parades.
Kudos go to all who made continuing this lovely island tradition possible.
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