It seems there is a parade every other weekend in Waikiki but until now, there has not been one to celebrate America’s July 4 birthday. The city’s inaugural Celebration Parade will be the evening of Sunday, July 3, 2011. Mayor Peter Carlisle invites everyone to attend the event that also commemorates the 175th anniversary of the Royal Hawaiian Band and honors service men and women.
Like me, the mayor was surprised that the city of Honolulu did not have an Independence Day Parade. There is a large July 4 parade in Kailua that Carlisle ran in last year (seriously, he jogged the length of the parade route while running for the post of mayor). City spokesman Louise Kim McCoy says Carlisle will again attend the Kailua parade this year, and scheduled the new parade so that it does not conflict with that or other community celebrations. McCoy says the motivation for adding the Waikiki parade is to show patriotism, love of country and to honor the men and women of the armed services. The news release adds “Mayor Carlisle wants to especially honor and welcome home the many service men and women who have returned from tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere abroad.”
Hawaii does know how to throw a good parade, and this one will be no exception. According to the news release, the parade will include more than 60 entries, including: the Honolulu Police and Fire departments, Hawaii Air National Guard “Royal Guard,” Hawaii Maoli, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Girl Scouts of Hawaii, the 111th Army Band, the Hanayagi Dance Academy, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and Hawaiian Heat All-Star Chearleading. Special guests will include Kantorei, the Singing Boys of Rockford, Illinois. The parade will begin at Fort DeRussy at 6:00 pm on Sunday and will proceed down Kalakaua Avenue to Kapiolani Park
Following the parade, the film “Soul Surfer” will be shown at Sunset on the Beach. The film is the story of Hawaii teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm in a shark attack in 2003 when she was 13. Hamilton will participate in the parade along with actress AnnaSophia Robb, who portrays Hamilton in the film. The parade and movie are sponsored by the City, the Waikiki Improvement Association, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Royal Hawaiian Center, and Aston Hotels and Resorts.
If you prefer fireworks to movies on the beach, the Aloha Tower fireworks display is at about the same time, beginning at 8:45 pm on July 3. There are children’s activities and musical performances throughout the afternoon.