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Kailua-Kona to celebrate 4th of July

MEDIA RELEASE

The County of Hawaii is once again taking part in sponsoring the Kailua-Kona Independence Day Parade and Fireworks.

Kona’s Independence Day Parade is Sunday, July 4, starting at 5:30 p.m., with primary sponsors the Rotary and Lions Clubs of Kona. It will begin at Kona’s Kekuaokalani Gym next to Kona Pool, go south on Kuakini, down Palani, and along Alii Drive to Walua Road, just past Coconut Grove
Marketplace.

There will be announcing stations in front of West Hawaii Today at the corner of Kuakini and Kaiwi Street, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Kokonutz Bar and Grill above Shave Ice, Pancho & Lefty’s, Kimo’s/Uncle Billy’s, Waterfront Row, Island Lava Java, and Rosa’s Cantina in Coconut Grove Marketplace.

Several of the announcing stations will feature special attractions before the parade: the Target Shave Ice Truck will be at West Hawaii Today offering free shave ice; Arneleo the Great will perform magic at Kimo’s/Uncle Billy’s; Waterfront Row will feature noted jazz singer Olga Salvatore with her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner; and announcer Lyman Medeiros will have patriotic music for the crowd in front of Coconut Grove Marketplace.

The Grand Marshal is Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. While a member of the all Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II, this true American hero was wounded in the abdomen and thigh and had his right arm destroyed by a German-thrown hand grenade. He spent more than a year in military hospitals before returning home to Hawaii after the war.

Inouye is now the longest-serving Senator in the United States Senate. He has served as a member of Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation since Hawaii became a state in 1959. He and his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, will be in a classic Mercedes driven by kamaaina and Hawaiian Civic Club representative Bucky Leslie.

There will be 65 entries in the parade, including community groups and over a dozen military and veterans units. Some of those veterans and active duty service members in the parade include those who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan and Iraq.

One especially notable entry will be members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd became the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the United States Armed Forced, with 21 Medal of Honor recipients. Several of its members live on Hawaii Island.

Other entries include the County of Hawaii with Mayor Billy Kenoi and dozens of County employees, Hawaii Invitational Air Show (featuring Grammy-nominated slack key artist L. T. Smooth), Kealakehe High ROTC, the Boy Scouts, Hawaii County Police and Hawaii County Fire Departments, Captain Jack Sparrow, West Hawaii County Band, Solar Wind Band, Kai Opua Canoe Club, Full House Band, and 4-time Big Island Interscholastic Foundation and 2010 State Girls Tennis Champ, Sayo Tsukamoto from Kealakehe High School.

Kona’s July 4th festivities will conclude around 8:30 p.m. with fireworks over Kailua Bay, provided by Hawaii Pyrotechnics and Explosives. The fireworks are possible because of generous support from several local businesses, especially major sponsors Big Island Honda and its sales team, and Kona Commons. Hawaii County provided primary funding from its fireworks sales fees, and many other generous local businesses and individuals provided funding for both the parade and the fireworks.

Road closures along the parade route, and on streets entering into the parade route, will begin at 4:45 p.m. More information is online, www.konaparades.com

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