Boat Parades Add to the Festive Spirit of the Holidays

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (12/19/98)
By Ray Pendleton

Honolulu Christmas Boat Parade
Photos by HoloHolo Hawai`i Ocean Sports News
"Blue Diamond"

"Free Spirit"

Looking for a way to put a little Christmas spirit back into your over-hyped and under-funded holidays?

Perhaps attending one of tonight's two big Christmas boat parades on Oahu just might do the trick.

In the Hawaii Kai Marina, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., its community association will sponsor its second annual Festival of Lights Boat Parade and Marina-front Home Lighting Show.

"The event will feature 40 decorated boats parading through the marina," association representative Anne Murata said. "And, Hawaii Kai Towne Center, Koko Marina Center and Hawaii Kai Shopping Center - all co-sponsors of the parade - will have special, free, holiday entertainment for the parade viewers."

Judging of the colorful parade entrants will be at 6 p.m. at the Hawaii Kai Towne Center, with KITV 4's Kathy Moneno as master of ceremonies. The Honolulu Symphony's Brass Quintet will provide holiday music throughout the evening.

At the Koko Marina Center, the Islanders musical group, featuring legendary Sonny Kamahele, will move from restaurant to restaurant singing holiday songs.

KRATER Radio's Chris Reiser will hosting trivia games and awarding prizes, and Santa Claus will be strolling the center, giving away candy canes and taking Christmas wishes from kids of all ages.

Free boat rides around the marina will be offered by Snuba of Oahu from the Koko Marina Center, for a spectacular, up-close view of the lights and parade.

The Hawaii Kai Shopping Center will feature Kaiser High School's Brass Ensemble playing seasonal selections that will add to the parade's visual enjoyment.

The Honolulu Christmas Boat Parade, the other waterfront light show, is scheduled tonight from 6 to 8, and it will run from the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor to Honolulu Harbor, and back.

This will be the fourth year in a row for this parade, and it will coincide with the finish of downtown Honolulu's annual Jingle Bell Run at the Aloha Tower Marketplace.

The marketplace's many waterfront establishments will, of course, offer prime viewing. But, with as many as 50 brightly decorated sail and power boats taking part, the parade will also be easily seen from Magic Island and the Ala Moana and Kakaako Beach parks.

Not surprisingly, many condo owners with oceanfront vistas throughout Honolulu often schedule their Christmas open house parties for tonight.

In keeping with the season of giving, this year's Honolulu Christmas Boat Parade is being held in conjunction with a charity fund drive for Harbor House, which provides food to the homeless, the Marine Corps' Toys For Tots program, and the Junior Sailing Foundation.

For the past week, as a way to raise funds for these projects, the parade's organizers have asked people wishing to vote for their favorite decorated boats in the Ala Wai to pay for the privilege by donating a toy or $5. The donation allowed voters to take a short evening cruise through the marina and mark their ballots for the "in slip" competition. (Boats taking part in tonight's parade will be judged separately.)

There are many parades in Honolulu each year, but I think none can match the unique nature and brilliance of these two Christmas-lighted boat parades.

Mele Kalikimaka!

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