(BIVN) – The 59th Annual Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade was held on Saturday, with more than 1,100 participants and 12,000 spectators.
According to event organizers:
The Waimea Christmas parade is the second oldest in the state and best known for its lighted brigade of trucks of all sizes and shapes – from farm and ranch vehicles to giant construction and hauling rigs, cement mixers, telephone and electric company trucks, twinkling buses and trolleys, and even the festively lit HELCO “Big Ben” Toys for Tots Train.
The parade this year is all about community, spotlighting Waimea’s collective commitment to caring for all—leaving no one out. “Community is our year-round kuleana, but even more so during the holidays,” says Parade Co-Chair Lani Olsen Chong, who coordinates the huge annual event.
It was a perfect night in Waimea full of holiday spirit as 40 floats and 60 trucks turned out for the Christmas parade. The parade’s Grand Marshall was 81-year-old Leningrad Elarionoff, one of Waimea’s most appreciated community volunteers who “lives” the values of “kuleana” year-round. A 27-year Hawai’i County police officer who rose to the rank of Captain and District Commander for North Kohala before retiring in 1994, Leningrad volunteers extensively in the community with Waimea Nature Park, Waimea Trails and Greenways project, served as a member of the Island Burial Council, a cultural advisor to Pohakuloa Training Area, and currently serves on the Country Water Board and as a member of Kahu Ku Mauna, the cultural advisory group to the University of Hawaii regarding the top of Mauna Kea and the telescopes.
He says: “At the age of 81, I now understand the term Aloha ‘Aina, Love of the Land. If we take care of the land, the land will take care of us. The choice is ours.”
Waimea’s annual Christmas parade also serves the community by supporting the Big Island Giving Tree, a non-profit volunteer group that helps ensure that all are remembered during the holidays – keiki to kupuna.