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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, November 12, 2001

Kane'ohe parade 'struggling'

By Eloise Aguiar
Windward O‘ahu Writer

KANE'OHE — A 35-year Christmas parade tradition here has suffered from the aftershock of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States as donations trickle in and participation drops, but the organizers of the event said the show will go on as planned Dec. 1.

Some $7,000 is needed to operate the parade, including costs for insurance and candy. The parade has $1,500 in the bank and owes $3,000 for its T-shirt sale, which is a fund-raiser for the event, said Shannon Wood, a member of the parade committee.

"We're just struggling," Wood said, adding that the Sept. 11 attack and its fallout are contributing to reduced donations.

To add to their concerns, the committee learned that the city was considering charging parade organizers for overtime costs for placing cones on the streets to block off the parade route.

But city spokeswoman Carol Costa said the city will absorb the cost, even though it is also facing a financial burden because of the attack and overtime it is paying for increased security and investigations.

The committee is hoping the T-shirts, which are available throughout Kane'ohe, will cover a portion of the cost. This year, for the first time, the committee held a poster contest. Wood said it raised interest in the parade among children in kindergarten to sixth-grade who were eligible to compete.

Elizabeth Napua Elburn, a fifth-grader at Kane'ohe Elementary School, won the grand prize of the contest and her entry is being used as the poster. Windward Mall will display all poster winners at the shopping center.

The Kane'ohe Business Group, which is sponsoring the parade, relies on donations and the T-shirt sale to pay for the parade, said Art Machado, parade chairman. This year is slow, he admitted, and having the parade early in the month means less time to solicit help.

The parade cost just for the candy and insurance is about $5,000, he said. The organizers need about 1,300 pounds of candy, which is distributed along the route. The rest of the money is spent for printing the parade poster and incidental items. Machado said he would like to see the donations increase.

"I've been with the parade for 20 years," he said. "It's always a little bit of a challenge. But where there's a will there's a way to do it."

In fact, Machado expects this year's Christmas parade to be great because 11 bands will march, despite the fact that the number of parade entries has dropped by one-quarter, from 100 last year to 73 this year.

The attack on the United States, the faltering economy and loss of jobs may have contributed to the low contributions and fewer participants, he said.

"But we should be all right because we have more bands than we ever had," Machado said.

To donate, send contributions to Kane'ohe Business Group, P.O. Box 927, Kane'ohe, HI 96744.

T-shirts are available at Bay View Golf Park pro shop, American Savings Bank, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, Kane'ohe Bakery and Kane'ohe Shell.