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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, January 2, 2010

Obamas chill out with shave ice

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The president enjoys shave ice with daughter Malia, 11, second from right, and some family friends.

ALEX BRANDON | Associated Press

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At least 100 people crowded around barricades yesterday afternoon outside the Kailua Island Snow shop to catch a glimpse of a casual President Obama, wearing sunglasses and dressed in shorts and a white T-shirt, enjoying shave ice with his daughters and about 16 friends.

Obama ordered shave ice for the group, going up to the counter with a long list of orders on lined notebook paper folded in half.

For himself, he ordered the shave ice named after him at the Kailua Road store the Snowbama which is a combination of lemon-lime, cherry and passion-guava.

"I like my shave ice straight, no frills," Obama explained.

The president's daughters, Malia and Sasha, were in shorts, sleeveless shirts and rubber slippers.

During the outing, Obama joked with children and friends, pool reports said.

Island Snow store manager Free Arndt said he got word that Obama would be stopping by about 3:45 p.m., when Secret Service started clearing people from the area. They also did a security sweep of the store.

The Obama posse rolled up about 4 p.m., he said. The first lady did not go on the outing.

Arndt said Obama was talkative and was joking with his friends and with employees. Arndt got to shake Obama's hand and wish him "Happy New Year."

"He made small talk, and we kind of just asked him about how his vacation was going," Arndt said. "They came and stood in line like everybody else."

Arndt and another Island Snow employee filled the group's orders.

Arndt said though he was happy about the visit, he didn't get too starstruck. "He's just another guy on vacation with his kids," he said.

The orders took about 15 minutes to fill, and then the group headed to benches outside to eat.

Secret Service fanned out across the parking lot until the group motored away.

Obama visited Island Snow during his Christmas vacation last year, but yesterday was his first trip to the store this holiday season.

Since arriving on Christmas Eve, Obama has gone to the movies, to Hanauma Bay, to visit friends on the North Shore and has played golf.

The Obamas are scheduled to return to Washington on Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.