Hawaii’s diverse cultures represented in Pineapple Festival

| May 14, 2010 | 0 Comments
Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division’s Tropic Lightning Band, led by Sgt. 1st Class Troy Swanson, serenades a cheering crowd to a variety of marching tunes during the Wahiawa Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 12.

Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division’s Tropic Lightning Band, led by Sgt. 1st Class Troy Swanson, serenade a cheering crowd to a variety of marching tunes during a Wahiawa parade.

Story and photo by
Kayla Overton
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

WAHIAWA — Along with the sweet and delicious taste of Hawaiian pineapple, diverse local culture and vast history was celebrated during the Wahiawa Pineapple Festival and parade, held here, Saturday.

About 20 civic, municipal, commercial and military organizations marched the parade route along California Avenue from Kaala Elementary School to the Wahiawa District Park.

Even though onlookers along the parade route needed umbrellas, the rain didn’t stop families from coming out and enjoying the day.

“I really enjoy coming to festivals like this. My family and I haven’t lived here in Hawaii long, and we find that events like this are a great opportunity to try new foods, enjoy the day and meet new people,” said Letty Perez, Army spouse.

After the parade, which was led by the 25th Infantry Division color guard, about 1,000 people congregated at the park where the main festival was held.

The Army’s 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th ID, marched the 1.2-mile parade route of the Wahiawa Pineapple Festival and won the award for “Most Exciting Marching Unit.”

The Navy’s marching unit from Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station-Whitmore won the award for “Best Dressed Marching Unit.”

Sponsored by the Wahiawa Historical Society, the festival featured five “villages,” or cultural displays, highlighting the many local cultures’ influences, including Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese, Okinawan and early farming families.

“The villages showcased the history of the different cultures that came here to Wahiawa to find a new life,” said Grace Dixon, Pineapple Festival organizer. “We wanted to not only celebrate the rich history of pineapple plantations, but also wanted to celebrate the people who have made Wahiawa what it is today — and we’ve had a great time doing it.”

Festival goers visited the different villages to obtain information about all the different cultures in Wahiawa, to include music, food, clothing, history and much more.

The festival also included carnival rides, inflatable bouncers, merchants, crafters, farmers and educational and historical booths.

Cultural performances went on throughout the day on the main stage, and the stage lineup included performances by the Wahiawa Middle School Lancer Jazz Band, Japanese Taiko drummers, the Royal Hawaiian Band, Puerto Rican dancers, Hula Halau and many more.

Leilehua High School graduates and community members were also invited to provide oral histories and discuss their grassroots ties to Wahiawa for a documentary.

View more photos at Flickr.

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Category: Community, Community Relations

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