Saturday brings holiday cheer with approximately 55 entries in the Hilo Christmas parade

Last year, Waiākea Water added a touch of holiday cheer to the Big Island by illuminating one of its semi-tractor trailer tanker trucks. This festive display made its debut at the 2022 Downtown Hilo Christmas Light Parade. The truck, adorned with colorful lights, brought joy and excitement to the parade attendees. The image above captures the beauty and vibrancy of Waiākea Water’s contribution to the holiday celebrations on the Big Island.

In a festive display of generosity, Waiākea Water of Hilo transformed one of their company water tankers into a dazzling spectacle. Through their Kokua Initiative, the semi-tractor trailer was adorned with over 10,000 twinkling Christmas lights, creating a mesmerizing sight that extended from the front to the back, and even underneath the vehicle. The predominantly blue and white string lights added a touch of magic to the holiday season.

The Big Island spread holiday cheer by driving around a lighted and decorated semi-tractor trailer, reminiscent of the ones seen in Coca-Cola holiday commercials.

Josh Delary, the Director of Production at the water bottling company, expressed his delight in witnessing the joy on people’s faces. He emphasized that it brings happiness to the team to be able to contribute to others’ well-being.

The truck made its debut during the Downtown Hilo Christmas Light Parade last year. This parade, which has been a tradition for 30 years, marks the beginning of the Christmas parade season on the island, taking place the weekend after Thanksgiving.

The highly anticipated Christmas Light Parade is set to commence at 6 p.m. this Saturday, drawing a massive crowd of approximately 5,000 to 7,000 people who will gather in Downtown Hilo.

Waiākea Water has promised to bring even more excitement to this year’s parade with their entry, which is expected to be bigger and brighter than ever before. With over 55 participants, the parade will truly embody the theme of “Lighting the Christmas Spirit.”

Several school marching bands, floats of all sizes, walking units from various community groups, motorcades, and custom cars, beauty queens, public officials, and the Grand Marshal, Hawai‘i Lions District Gov. CJ Kalopodes, will all be participating in the event.

Santa will also take a break from his hectic schedule at the North Pole to make a special appearance.

The Lions Clubs have taken charge of the parade for the second consecutive year. A team of approximately 20 volunteers from various clubs across East Hawai‘i have collaborated to meticulously plan the event. On the day of the parade, at least 70 volunteers and supporters of the clubs will lend their assistance.

The Lions Clubs in East Hawai‘i consist of the Akaka Falls Lions Club, Hilo Crescent City Lions Club, Hilo Lions Club, Hilo Hawai‘i Lions Unlimited Club, and the Waiākea Lions Club.

Ali Akamine, a member of the Akaka Falls Lions Club and the Downtown Hilo Christmas Light Parade committee, has fond memories of watching the parade during her childhood in the 1960s and ’70s. She recalls the parade as a truly enchanting and magical experience, especially when she would gather with her family in front of her mother’s office on Keawe Street.

“We bring our community together and spread holiday cheer for a few hours during this special event,” expressed Akamine. “Our aim is to create a sense of unity and give people the opportunity to enjoy this festive occasion while also receiving some candy. The parade is a delightful experience that brings happiness to individuals during the holiday season. The enchanting lights add to its charm, but what truly makes it rewarding is witnessing the countless smiles along the parade route.”

This year, due to the ongoing road construction, the parade will begin on Kamehameha Avenue at Pauahi Street. It will then make a left turn onto Waiānuenue Avenue and another left onto Kino‘ole Street, instead of the previous route along Keawe Street.

The march will follow the route along Ponahawai Street, with participants turning left and returning to Kamehameha. From there, they will make their way back to the starting point at Pauahi.

From 4:30 to 9 p.m., parking will be prohibited on both sides of the section of Waiānuenue that forms part of the parade route. The entire route will be closed to through traffic during this time, with the possibility of reopening earlier if the parade concludes ahead of schedule. Traffic on Kamehameha will be redirected onto Bayfront Highway.

Delary, the beloved member of the Waiākea Water team, embodies the spirit of Clark Griswold from the iconic 1989 film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Just like the character portrayed by Chevy Chase, Delary is known for his unwavering passion for all things Christmas.

However, he refused to provide any specifics regarding the water bottling company’s float for this year’s parade, as he wanted it to be a surprise.

“It’s truly heartwarming to connect with our community during the holiday season,” he expressed. “Knowing that we can make a difference brings immense joy to us.”

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