If you grew up on Maui, the Fourth of July is inextricably linked to the Makawao Rodeo and Parade. The holiday and rodeo weekend are still a couple of weeks away, but if you’d like to participate in the 54th annual Makawao Parade, you have only a few days left to apply.
This summer marks the 64th annual rodeo, but only the 54th parade, which means I’m actually older than one of my favorite childhood traditions. I’m not sure if I attended the first parade in 1965, but I do remember going to more than a dozen of them with my mother and aunt, who were born and raised in Makawao. We always viewed the parade from the same vantage point, in front of Ichiki Store, just a couple of doors up Baldwin Avenue from Mom’s childhood home. The Kajiharas, who ran the store, were longtime family friends, and Auntie Kajihara would give me a bag of chips or crack seed and a cold bottle of soda while we waited for the parade to begin.
I still have the snapshot I took of Roman Gabriel beaming down at me from atop his horse. The Los Angeles Rams quarterback and several of his teammates conducted keiki football clinics on Maui in the summers of 1971 and ’72, thanks to Peter Baldwin and Haleakala Dairy. While here, Gabe’s Gang participated in several community events, including the Rodeo Parade. The movie-star-handsome QB looked right at home in his cowboy hat and long-sleeved Western-style shirt emblazoned with the dairy’s Mountain Fresh flower logo in red, blue and gold. He might have been the Grand Marshal that year, or not; regardless, he was definitely the most popular attraction.
This year’s parade theme is “Wild West – Makawao Style” with Wayne Asue as Grand Marshal and longtime youth soccer coach/official Tony Medeiros is a special honoree. 2019 Rodeo Queen Lilyana Namakanaalohawahilani Jaylee Ferguson will be featured along with her court: Princess Eva Hope Jarman, Junior Princess Wytlee-Nora Kaipolani Souza-Lopes, Keiki Prince Zion Kelekona Kuukai Malulani Larson Aquintas, Keiki Princess Aleah Kamalii Souza, Lil’ Mr. Stars and Stripes Nixon Nuese, and Lil’ Miss Red, White & Blue Melia Kamalani Kipi. Of course, the parade also honors our armed forces veterans, and this year, the Pearl Harbor Pacific Fleet Naval Band will participate.
Parade entries will be judged in categories including Best Parade Horse, Best Mounted Rider, Best Mounted Groups (small and large), Best Mounted Keiki, Best Musical Entry, Best Commercial Entry, Best Representation of Theme, Most Patriotic and Most Unusual.
Applications for participation are available at various locations around the island or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Call Duane Hamamura for more information at 268-8729.
Deadline to apply is Saturday; a mandatory meeting for all participants will be held on June 26.
I’m looking forward to serving as mistress of ceremonies again this year, not only for the July 6 parade, but also for the traditional stick horse race, which will precede the parade at 8:30 a.m.
Since Ichiki Store is long gone, and Auntie won’t be there with my pre-parade treats, I’m eagerly anticipating the Makawao History Museum’s Ono Paniolo Pancake Breakfast that morning. Tickets for the pancake and Portuguese sausage platters are only $5 each and are available now, as well as on parade day, at the museum. Pickup will be between 7 and 9 a.m. at Habibi on Maui Restaurant, next to Rodeo General Store. Pancake proceeds will benefit the museum; if you’d like more information, call 572-2482 or email email@example.com.
* Kathy Collins is a radio personality (The Buzz 107.5 FM), storyteller, actress, emcee and freelance writer whose “Sharing Mana’o” column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.