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Waimea Christmas Parade coming up Saturday (Dec 3)

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Waimea’s Christmas ‘Giving Season’ parade and festivities to ‘Embrace the Children’ and be sure no one is forgotten

Christmases Past in Waimea are fondly remembered for their extremely chilly nights and the incredible generosity of Parker Ranch’s owner, Richard Smart, who made sure no one in the upcountry ranch town was forgotten.

Taking a page out of Mr. Smart’s legacy of generosity, the town of Waimea is stepping up its 51st Annual Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade and All-Day Giving Celebration to keep alive the legacy that no one gets left behind.

To do this, the 51st Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade – themed “Embracing Our Children” – is being expanded to literally embrace this wider vision by gathering donations of “absolute necessities” to gift individuals and families struggling through tough economic times.

In keeping with Mr. Smart’s tradition of choosing gifts that were practical treasures, suggested donations this year are the “absolute necessities” being requested by families — including baby diapers, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bath soap, laundry detergent, feminine hygiene products and – or course — rice. Donations of gift cards from KTA, Foodland, gas cards, or any local outlet including Costco, WalMart or Target are also most appreciated and all donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

This year’s parade will be – as always – the first Saturday of the month — Dec. 3, 2011, but will begin a half hour earlier than ever before – at 5:30 p.m. — to encourage youth groups and other walking units to participate. Waimea’s Christmas parade “signature” of a convoy of festively trucks from all over the island will again join the fun, as will HELCO’s Toys For Tots Train, Hawai’i County Police and Fire Departments and most important of all to keiki – North Hawai’i Community Hospital’s Santa Float.

But the community celebration of the holidays will actually begin two days earlier – at 6:30 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 1, 2011 – at the foot of the giant Norfolk Pine tree fronting Parker School’s historic Barbara Hall for a tree lighting, caroling and sharing of stories – all to launch Waimea’s “Giving Season” with the in-gathering of donations. Everyone is invited to the tree lighting, which will be emceed by Waimea’s own Darde Gamayo, and include caroling with Ginger Bertelmann and Melissa Samura, music by “Makeshift Heroes,” which includes several members of the Honoka’a Jazz Band, and storytelling.

The Dec. 1 tree lighting will immediately follow Waimea Community Association’s December Town Meeting, which is being relocated to Parker School Theatre for the night and which will start a half hour earlier – promptly at 5 p.m. Topping the WCA Town Meeting agenda will be special guest and Hilo attorney Brian DeLima, who is Hawai’i Island’s newly appointed member of the State Board of Education, here for a “listening session.”

Hot beverages and simple warm food will be available prior to and throughout the tree lighting and everyone is urged to dress warm.

Waimea’s ‘Giving Season’

There are many ways to participate in, or contribute to Waimea’s 2011 “Giving Season” – from simply donating suggested items, to “adopting” an individual or family, to helping with “Giving Season Work Stations” in Waimea Center beginning on Parade Day Dec. 3, and daily thereafter up to Christmas. Also, small trees with “Giving Season” ornaments will be placed in retail stores and restaurants around town with suggested gifts that can be purchased and delivered to the temporary “Giving Tree” shop in KTA’s Waimea Center.

All donations should be delivered “unwrapped” – please – and “wrappers” are also needed.

Volunteers running this year’s “Giving Season” project assure contributors that items gathered on island will remain here on our island to support the Waimea and North Hawai’i community.

If you know of someone in need, recommendations are welcome and “Giving Season” volunteers will meet with the individual or family. The focus of this program is serving those who are not receiving other types of assistance such as food stamps or subsidized housing or kokua from other agencies or organizations.

To recommend recipients or apply for assistance, or if you are interested in adopting one or more individuals, please contact Gina Lu’uloa (756-3008) or Rhonda Bell (880-1984).

Schools, churches, businesses and clubs interested in lending a hand are asked to contact Rhonda Bell (880-1984) or Nancy Carr Smith (896-2239).

For more information and applications to participate in the 51st Annual Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade – or to arrange for a booth along the parade route (which requires parade committee approval and a contribution to the Giving Season project), go to www.WaimeaTown.org to download information, or contact Lani Olsen-Chong (936-0670) email: lolsen@hawaii.rr.com, or Kalae Kawamura (936-4376) email: k_kawamura92@yahoo.com.

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