Everyone is invited from communities all around the island to the twilight parade. There is no charge, but all are asked to please contribute to the "Big Island Giving Tree" - a grassroots, all-volunteer community project to help perpetuate the legacy of late Parker Ranch owner Richard Smart, who personally made sure no one was forgotten for the holidays.
The "Big Island Giving Tree" (BIGT) helps individuals and families in need, makes sure everyone is remembered and targets those not served by others. Applicants and recommendations are welcome, now through. All recipients will be screened, and all donations will stay on this island and are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law, thanks to a partnership with the Christopher Nance Children's Foundation, a local not-for-profit that supports this program at no cost. Applications for assistance are available here.
To fulfill the "Big Island Giving Tree" mission, this year's parade is themed, "Lucky 7!," to encourage all to donate seven necessities - anything from baby diapers and personal hygiene products (toothpaste, toothbrushes, bath soap, laundry detergent, shampoos, even toilet paper, etc.) to rice and non-perishable foods, especially proteins such as Spam and tuna. Also most welcome are gift cards and Save-a-Tape receipts from KTA and Foodland and gift certificates redeemable at local farmers markets, gas stations and other local businesses, including Costco.
There are many opportunities to contribute, beginning with the opening of a "Big Island Giving Tree" pop-up store in Parker Ranch Center (next to Village Burger) from, through . Also, there are many other ways to help, including adopting a family, holding a food, toy or gifts drive at a work place, school, church or neighborhood. For more information about the "Big Island Giving Tree," call Rhonda Bell (880-1984) or Nancy Carr Smith (896-2239). For parade applications, rules, etc., click here or call Lani Olsen-Chong (936-0670).
MORE THAN A DOZEN WAYS TO CELEBRATE & CONTRIBUTE
With the focus on caring for others, there are more than a dozen events planned over the next two weeks in Waimea to welcome the holidays and celebrate with family and friends, including:
- 4th Annual "Big Island Giving Tree" Tree Lighting: on Parker School grounds. Festivities begin under a beautiful new tent with entertainment by Brandon Gomez and Laulima with emcee Darde Gamayo, followed by Allen "Uku" Lindsey talking-story about Waimea Christmases Past, then Christmas caroling with Melissa Samura and Ginger Bertelmann. It's free and family-friendly, and hot saimin, chili 'n rice, cocoa, coffee and desserts will be available. This gathering officially launches the annual collection of BIGT donations and will conclude with lighting of the giant Norfolk Pine next to Parker School's historic Barbara Hall. It's an outdoor event so participants should dress warmly. Seating will be provided.
- Collectibles Show in Waimea's Historic Spencer House: and , will feature 30+ vendors of collectibles, antique and vintage jewelry, Hawaiiana, Oriental finds including a Korean tonsu, traditional Hawaiian weaponry and contemporary carvings of native hardwoods by Mel Hewitt, and more.
- Parker Ranch's Annual Giant Cooke Pine Tree Lighting at Historic Pu'uopelu: . It's free, but non-perishable food donations are suggested to contribute to the Boy Scout's food drive.
- 1st Annual Kahilu Theatre Masquerade Ball: www.kahilutheatre.org or call 885-6868. at Hilton Waikoloa Village's Grand Ballroom. Featuring Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed "The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook." Feinstein has performed at Carnegie Hall, the White House and Buckingham Palace. While costumes are optional, "Gatsby Glam" is suggested, and proceeds from the affair will helping sustain Kahilu Theatre including youth arts. For tickets and details, go to
- First Flea Market, Arts & Collectibles: , at New Hope Gym. A free indoor market that schools, P&R teams, groups, organizations and individuals utilize to raise funds for themselves and also to contribute to the Gymnasium Improvement Fund. Great treasure hunting and all are welcome.
- Waimea Seniors' Christmas Bazaar: at Waimea Senior Center, next to Firehouse Gallery. Will feature handcrafted Christmas gifts, baked goods, jams/jellies, baked goods, plants, sushi and a second hand store.
- Firehouse Gallery's 5th Annual Affordable Art Exhibit & Sale: . Featuring local artists' pieces priced under $250.
- 40+ Christmas Crafters At Parker Ranch Center & Visits With Santa: Crafters all day , 8, 14 & 21. Santa visits and photos from Photos are free, but a donation is encouraged to Waimea Lions Club and North Hawai'i Hospice to thank the volunteers who coordinate this. Info: Frank Zablan (960-2548). "Big Island Giving Tree" store (next to Village Burger) open -6 to accept donations from .
- 'Waimea Rocks!" - An Upcountry Christmas Fair With All-Day Entertainment, Gifts & Foods: . KTA's Waimea Center. 30+ crafters and food choices, plus continuous entertainment hosted by Waimea's own Penny Keli'i Vredenburg. Will begin with award-winning haumana and kupuna of the Beamer-Solomon Halau O Po'ohala at , followed at by Nino Ka'ai, with Kahula o Nawahine, with Darlene Ahuna and Duane Yamada, with Kevin Haleamau and will conclude at with the foot-stomping culturally stunning Taishoji Taiko - Hilo Ensemble with 10 drummers. No charge and everyone invited though donations to the "Big Island Giving Tree" are the reason for this all. Volunteers will be on hand to accept contributions.
- 'Crafty Hands & Gifts, Too!' . Thelma Parker Gym. Featuring locally made items by dozens of island artisans. Free and includes plate lunches and other food, plus lucky number drawing throughout the day. Food donations suggested for Annunciation Pantry.
- Halau Waiau 'Christmas Calabash' at Kahilu Theatre: . This halau, under the direction of Liana L. Aviero and Keikilani Curnan, is an offshoot of Halau Hula Ka No'eau, and these two kumu studied under Master Kumu Hula Michael Pili Pang. They will present a calabash filled with hula, fun and "favorite things" by 80 haumana (students). Tickets $15/adults; $8/child or student.
- 53rd Annual Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade:
- 8 Narrator Stations: For a second year, the parade begins on the east (Hamakua) end of historic Church Row Park - not the west end as in the past. A narrator station will be located this year mid-way on the south (soccer field) side of the highway facing Church Row Park - a great new addition for enjoying the parade, especially for those who are noise sensitive. As always, there will also be narrator stations fronting Keck, Ace, Radio Shack, Waimea Community Education, Bank of Hawaii and on Lindsey Road - at Shell Gas Station and Parker School.
TRAFFIC ADVISORY - Road Closure: Expect delays as only emergency vehicles will be able to pass through town center during the parade.
Public Safety & Respecting the 'Aina: Please watch keiki and stay on the curb; emergency vehicles may need to pass. No candy throwing. Please do not park on landscaped areas at the hospital & shopping centers, pick up rubbish and no tents on private property except for permitted food booths.
Lighted Trucks & Santa Float: These are "signatures" of our Waimea parade. This year's brigade honors the memory of most generous and respected community contributor, the late Kurt Okada. If noise is difficult for you or for infants, find a spot near the Church Row or Keck narrator stations; trucks are asked not to blow horns until they have passed the hospital.
Ono Foods Along Parade Route will benefit Waimea educational programs and support the Giving Tree! (Prior permission a must and all spaces booked.)
- HOT SAIMIN & HOT COCOA at Historic Spencer House, served by Kamehameha School's West Hawai'i Association of Teachers and Parents.
- FRIED BEEF TACOS & WATER at Bank of Hawaii corner, served by Waimea Middle School Leadership Students.
- STEAK 'N CHEESE SANDWICHES & CORN CHOWDER at Waimea Community Education, served by Hamakua Cougars Pop Warner Team.
- KANA'E'S ONO BOX LUNCHES at Shell Station corner.
- BURGERS, HOT DOGS, BEVERAGES & TREATS, served by Parker School 'ohana on front lawn.
"Giving Tree" Bucket Brigade: Volunteers to walk from both ends of the parade route for BIGT donations beginning at No other organizations permitted to do this. Please kokua!
Luas: Portaluas will be placed along the parade route. On parade day, North Hawai'i Community Hospital is unable to provide public restrooms.
SPONSORS & EVENT PARTNERS: Waimea Community Association, Waimea Center, Puna Plantation Hawai'i, Ltd., KTA SuperStores, Rotary Club of North Hawai'i, Rotary International, Parker Ranch Center, Waimea's beloved truckers, Around The Clock, North Hawai'i Community Hospital, Big Island Portables, W.M. Keck Observatory, Waimea Instant Printing, Securitas, Waimea Outdoor Circle, S&R Trucking, Waimea Middle School, Parker School, Parker School Trust Corp. DBA Waimea Community Education, American Savings Bank, New Hope Christian Fellowship, Ace Hardware, ATV Outfitters/Kohala Ditch Adventures, John Allen Sign Co. and the County of Hawai'i (Department of Parks & Recreation & South Kohala Community Policing).
Winter Stargazing Party After Parade: at Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope's Waimea headquarters. CFHT astronomers and members of the West Hawai'i Astronomy Club to host Open House and "Ask An Astronomer" tours. Free including coffee, hot chocolate & marshmallow roasting. Info: 885-7944.
Parker Ranch Center's "Big Island Giving Tree" Celebration: . PRC's Fireside Food Court. Emcee Penny Keli'i Vredenburg will welcome community to enjoy entertainment including the HPA Hand Bell Choir ( ), Waikoloa Dance Company with keiki hip hop at ; Aulani's Hula Halau at Throughout the program, donations to the "Giving Tree" will be accepted. There will also be visits and pictures with Santa, taken by the Waimea Lions and North Hawai'i Hospice.
"Big Island Giving Tree" pop-up store (next to Village Burger): to accept donations. Info: Rhonda Bell (880-1984) or Nancy Carr Smith (896-2239).
*See the original article and others like it, here on the Waimea Community Association website.