Organizers Say City Council Has "Rained" On Honolulu's Parades

Charles Djou
Charles Djou
Nelson Fujio
Nelson Fujio

By Paul Drewes

(KHNL) - The Honolulu City Council moved to strike a balance between a love for parades and the need to keep the peace, as well as keep the traffic moving, in Waikiki.

Council members voted to reduce the amount of parades down the world famous strip each year.

Thanks to parades sporting events and block parties this year, Waikiki will be shut down nearly 60 times.

But next year - that will change.

The City Council has set a limit of 39 times Waikiki will come to a standstill.

The new limit is music to the ears of those tired of all the time streets are closed off in Waikiki.

"Waikiki is subject to more road closures than any other part of hawaii," said Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou.

But groups affected by the new limits say people and businesses knew that Waikiki was a busy spot before they moved in.

'It's like living next to the airport - and saying its too noisy," said Parade Coordinator Nelson Fujio. "It's understood that Kalakaua is a designated parade route."

The 14 parades and events that have been around for 15 years or more will automatically be allowed in.

But the remaining dozens who want in will be put in a lottery - with only 15 getting picked.

The mayor can add in another ten exemptions to the list and that equals that 39 number.

But another number parade and party organizers are looking at is the amount of money made by actually having these events.

"They generate 100s of millions of dollars and if we don't have guaranteed dates then we're going to end up losing all this revenue," explained Fujio.

But some who live nearby, feel Waikiki won't be losing out with fewer parades and a little more peace and quiet.

"I don't think people come to Hawaii for the parades," said Nicole Fleck, a Waikiki resident.

And now with new limits in place, some are worried the parades won't come to Hawaii at all.

'"The guys who are putting up the money are saying 'why are we doing this if we don't have a guaranteed spot - why are we doing this?'" said Fujio.

The new rules for the parades, block parties and sporting events take effect January 1, 2007.