(BIVN) – After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Waimea Fall Festival returned to the Spencer K. Schutte Waimea District Park on Saturday.
“This year’s Waimea Fall Festival is sponsored by Waimea Athletics,” said Melissa Samura, the event and volunteer coordinator. “Waimea Athletics is a nonprofit, community program here in Waimea and one of the things that we like to do is allow sports teams to come out and fundraise for their organizations.”
Samura estimated there was at least 5,000 people at the Waimea District Park for the free event.
“We have lots of local vendors,” Samura said. “We have over 30 informational booths, and local crafters and food vendors as well. And we do have a lot of inflatables that we have here. One of the fundraisers that we’re doing with the inflatable was this for Waimea Athletics.”
“During COVID, we weren’t able to utilize the gym,” Samura said. “So what we did was we donated all of our sports equipment to the community.”
“Now, what we want to do is fundraise so we can buy more and so we can put it back into our gyms for the public to use,” Samura added.
Krystle Umeda, with the Waimea Cowboys, said they try to keep participant registration at a low rate, “because times are hard and we don’t want any kid not able to play because they can’t afford it.”
“Big events like this to make sure that every child – whether they can afford it or not – can play,” Umeda said.
Joining the Thelma Parker Memorial Public Library at the event was Waimea’s 17-year-old speedcubing champion, Matt Inaba. According to festival organizers:
Inaba, a junior at Hawaii Preparatory Academy is the 2022 North American Champion. He currently is ranked sixth in the world and third in the United States for 3×3 Rubik’s Cube average. Inaba, who has competed in 43 competitions to date across the United States and around the world, will be at the library booth in the gym to talk about speedcubing, explain the “science” behind solving the cube, and speed cube with children and families. The first 300 children to visit the library booth will receive a goodie bag with their own cube.
The event also featured a military static display, including the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific’s MV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor. The aircraft was open to the public for tours. The U.S. Army at Pohakuloa Training Area also had a series of exhibits, “including a surprise aircraft display and a brush truck,” organizers said.