The Christmas season in Waianae officially starts with the Waianae Coast Rotary Club’s annual Christmas Parade. On Saturday, December 14, 2013, the parade will begin at 10 A.M., departing from the Waianae Harbor and travelling to the Waianae shopping mall. Bob Sullivan, chairman of the parade committee, reports that eighteen floats will be participating. He commented that it was no small task planning the parade since the month of July.
Last year the parade attracted a crowd of 3,000 spectators and involved 107 marching groups and 1,400 participants. Sullivan expects those numbers to increase this year. Santa Claus will distribute 1,100 pounds of candy to the crowds as he rides on a 40-foot long float. Some of the participants joining the parade are: Mayor Kirk Caldwell, school marching bands, the Royal Hawaiian Band, the Army 25th Infantry Band with their Color Guard, and the police and firemen. Sullivan says there will be more people marching in the parade this year than last year. When the parade reaches the shopping mall, there will be a Ho`olaulea that will feature 60 booths and a Farmers Market. Sullivan is certain the Santa photo booth will be a hit with families who have children.
Aside from providing the community with holiday entertainment, the Waianae Rotary Club helps the community by operating a funding source, The Rotary Foundation (TRF). This foundation receives donations from business corporations and profits from fundraisers. The funds are used to give back to the community in many ways such as awarding scholarships and grants, providing aid during natural disasters, and assisting community organizations in need of renovation and development. Even the proceeds from the parade will go into this foundation. Sullivan, who also heads the foundation, listed other activities that the foundation supports:
- Donates dictionaries annually to all Waianae third grade classes in public, private, and charter schools.
- Provides vision screening to all Waianae elementary school students.
- Assists the Waianae Boys and Girls Club with gifts for the needy.
- Sponsors the Keiki Fest.
- Immunized African children with polio vaccine in the crusade to wipe out polio.
- Drilling wells to provide fresh water in remote Philippine villages.
- Promoting world peace.
- Uses grants to fight poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition.
Presently there are 29 members in the club, and the current officers are: President Frances Ah Nee, Vice President Rocky Naeole, President-elect Don Arakaki, Secretary Nalani Flynn, and Treasurer Bob Sullivan. For more information, log on to their webpage waianaecoastrotary.org.
Images re-printed with permission from Westside Stories.