On Saturday, September 29, Partners in Development Foundation participated in the 72nd annual Aloha Festivals floral parade. Several families from our Tūtū and Me and Ka Paʻalana programs came and rode our trolley float down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikīkī.
We designed the float to include our Kai and Friends children’s book characters — marine creatures that fit perfectly with this year’s festival theme: “No Ke Kai Kākou Ē.” A phrase meaning “We Are of the Sea,” the theme celebrated “the seas and oceans that have shaped these islands and the many people who call them home,” according to the Aloha Festivals website.
Our mākua and keiki loved seeing the many colorful and elaborate floats, especially the horses with the costumed paʻu riders at the end of the route. PIDF staff assisted in every aspect of the day to ensure everything ran smoothly for our families, from preparing the float early that morning to the lunch hand-out and clean up that afternoon.
“This is probably the hottest parade we’ve ever done,” said Crystal Mariñas, PIDF’s accounting manager. She was one of several staff in the parade, passing out school supplies and helping to get the crowds going to cheer on the keiki as they sang songs on the trolley. By the end of the three-hour parade everyone was tired, but spirits were high and even Kai and his friends made it to the end.
Kai the ʻOpihi (mollusk), Mele the Crab, Pili the ʻIwa Bird, Noa the Puhi (eel), Holu the Heʻe (octopus), and Moana the Honu (green sea turtle) are all characters in our children’s book series co-authored by our president, Jan Dill. All six characters were featured on our float. In the books each marine creature confronts real life challenges, such as bullying. Each goes to their elders for help and guidance. The stories encourage children and their families to recognize the power and importance of inter-generational wisdom and traditional Hawaiian values.