Denise Thomas-Murphy displayed flower lei for sale last night at the Radford High School graduation ceremony at Aloha Stadium.

Stadium sees
fewer lei sellers

New rules put a dent in the
flower power at school graduations

By Nelson Daranciang

People attending high school graduations at Aloha Stadium will see fewer lei vendors selling fewer items because of new rules.

Volume Services, the company handling lei sales for the Stadium Authority, barred sellers from offering lei made of coins or bottled or canned beverages. They also have to pay a $100 fee per graduation or $350 for all four scheduled at the stadium, provide their own liability insurance and submit a general excise tax number.

There will be seven to 12 vendors, compared with 35 last year, said Carolyn Tanaka, Aloha Stadium Authority spokeswoman.

Under the rule change, vendors are allowed to sell lei made of fresh flowers, ribbons and yarn, not ones made of bottled or canned beverages "for security reasons because they can cause injury if thrown," Tanaka said.

At Radford High School's graduation last night, vendors were still selling plastic lei, but none of the vendors sold lei made of bottled or canned beverages. Also, money lei that include coins are forbidden.

Tanaka attributes the drop in the number of vendors this year to the new rules. It is the first time such restrictions have been in place.

The Stadium Authority contracted Volume Services, the company that handles the food concession at the stadium, to handle the lei vending this year because the lei-vending service needed to be handled better, Tanaka said.

For the first time, the lei vendors are required to provide their own liability insurance, submit their general excise tax number and pay a $100 fee.

"For that they get security, a tent, electricity, lighting and signage," Tanaka said.

The vendors will be in Parking Lot B1, in front of Gate 4.

The same restriction on items allowed in the stadium for football games applies: no coolers, bags, purses, handbags, backpacks, outside food or beverages, air horns, noisemakers or umbrellas. Signs on sticks are prohibited.

Fanny packs, cameras and camcorders are OK but subject to inspection by stadium security.

Balloons are permitted unless made of mylar. Multiple balloons should be tied together and not block views of the stage or Jumbotron. People are not allowed to release balloons inside the stadium.

People can bring lei into the stadium but will not be able to give them to the graduates inside. As in all graduation ceremonies at the stadium, the graduates will be escorted out to areas designated by letters in the parking lot after the ceremony where family and friends can meet them.

Stadium officials recommend people park their cars near the area designated by the first letter of the graduate's last name and leave the items they intend to give to the graduates in their cars. They can then retrieve them after the ceremonies.

Graduation for Pearl City High School is at 5:15 p.m. today; for Mililani High School, 5 p.m. tomorrow; and Campbell High School, next Saturday.

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