58th annual Waimea Christmas Parade honors teachers, draws thousands of spectators

‘It’s really one of the best days of the year to be in Waimea.’

58th annual Waimea Christmas Parade honors teachers, draws thousands of spectators
Long-time Waimea Middle School teacher Patricia Rice served as the parade's Grand Marshal. (Image: Maunakea Observatories) (Source: Maunakea Observatories)

WAIMEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Around 12,000 spectators lined the streets of Waimea for the 58th annual Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade.

The theme of the parade was “Honoring Our Teachers — Our Guiding Stars at Christmas and Always" and participants went all out to celebrate their teachers.

Stephanie Donoho donned a sparkly star headpiece as she skated through the parade on her roller blades.

“We’re wearing stars to celebrate our stars today because teachers are our stars,” said Donoho, who represented the Waimea Wranglers Rough Rollers Derby League.

Joining the roller derby ladies in the holiday fun was Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim as well as more than 35 floats and around 50 trucks.

Katie Pawelski drove in from Kona to enjoy the festivities.

“My favorite part of the parade was seeing all the cars being lit up with a bunch of lights," Pawelski said. “I think it really adds to the joy of the season.”

Meanwhile, keiki decked out in Christmas pajamas and Santa hats showed off their best flossing dance moves much to the delight of the crowd.

One of the main attractions of the parade was its Grand Marshal Patricia Rice. Rice is a long-time teacher who has worked at Waimea Middle School for more than 43 years. She says serving as Grand Marshal in a parade celebrating teachers gives her chicken-skin and she feels honored.

“But it’s also very humbling because everywhere you look they are teachers, great teachers,” Rice said.

Following the parade, some spectators kept the holiday celebrations going by attending the Winter Star Party at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope headquarters.

Mary Beth Laychak, the outreach program manager at CFHT, helped to organize the free community event.

“We really just want to give the opportunity to open our doors, invite people inside, have a cup of cocoa, cook a hot dog, ask an astronomer a question and really just have a great holiday experience,” Laychak said.

Keiki could create their own ornaments by pouring paint into glass bulbs and shaking vigorously to create their unique design.

“It’s really one of the best days of the year to be in Waimea,” Laychak said.

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