Lighting the Way for Christmas

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Photo by Laura Pilz

As darkness fell over Kaunakakai last Saturday, the town transformed into a festive wonderland of lights.  Moving to the beat of seasonal tunes and decked with colorful costumes and light displays, a parade of 22 community groups and organizations announced the arrival of Christmas, Molokai-style.

Kaunakakai’s main street closed for a few hours as the community crowded the streets for the seventh annual Parade of Lights.
“I’ve watched the parade almost every year and this year was the most beautiful I’ve seen,” said resident Sally Trinidad.

The parade began by Rawlins Chevron and travelled to Mitchell Pauole Center. Spectators of all ages smiled and waved at their favorite holiday-themed floats, with this year’s standouts including Friendly Market’s ohana-themed float complete with a pig cooking on a rotating spit, Monsanto’s gift-wrapped tractor and the Church of Latter Day Saints’ Nightmare Before Christmas float.

“I liked watching the floats,” said Jordyn Magdirila, age 7. “I liked Friendly Market’s the best because my dad works there.”

Last but not least, Santa Claus rolled through Kaunakakai in style in his lit-up convertible, waving and throwing the shaka to keiki.


Photo by Jessica Ahles

Sponsored by the Maui County Office of Economic Development, Barbara Haliniak, Lynn DeCoit and Gayla Haliniak-Lloyd organized the event assisted by 100 volunteers.

Cash prizes went to first through fourth best parade floats and marching groups. Kualapu`u Public Conversion Charter School won first place for their song performance of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” while the Nightmare Before Christmas float topped its category.

“We worked on the float since Halloween and all church volunteers and friends helped us. ” said Kelvin Keanini, from the Church of Latter-day Saints. “We’re just trying to share the gospel, share Christmas and make everyone feel good about it. It was all worth it.”

The night’s festivities continued at the Mitchell Pauole Center, where the community enjoyed food, live music from groups including the Molokai Community Choir, free books for keiki, and a visit with Santa. There were also Christmas contests for best decorated tree, wreath and stocking.

Parade and Christmas Contest Results:

1st The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
2nd Friendly Market Center
3rd Halau Na Mamo
4th Molokai Filipino Club

1st Kualapu`u Public Conversion Charter School
2nd The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
3rd Pali-Pahupu Ohana
4th Molokai Game and Fowl Association

Christmas Tree:
1st Dawn Cuelho
2nd Raina Colipano
3rd Seanalle Luafalemana
4th Alvin Kamakaaina

1st Logan Demello
2nd Milton Haliniak
3rd Kayla Clemens
4th Ryan Cuelho

1st Shaliyah English Uahinui
2nd Hopie Hawkins
3rd Tyra Cuelho
4th Kamalani Kanawaliwali


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