Photo by Faustine Miura
On Dec. 1, the Mililani community held their 33rd annual holiday parade. The parade featured over 1,500 marchers, comprising of groups such as the MHS Marching Band and Color Guard, MHS Army JROTC Unit, local businesses, organizations, community groups and other schools such as Hanalani Schools and Kamalani Academy.
“It’s mostly local people that are from here in Mililani. It’s our companies that are here and our organizations over here. It’s good to see all these other organizations inside this one city all do something together to make it for the community,” said Freshman Malana Chatman-Neuhauser.
The annual holiday parade was founded in 1986 by the Mililani Lions Club. The organization goes through extensive planning with other groups to make sure the Christmas event runs as smoothly as possible. “Some of the Lions have shared experiences of driving a truck through the community sharing candies. The community was smaller then so they drove throughout the community,” said Lions Club Parade Coordinator Roberta Jenkins. “We begin with a debriefing within a month after the parade. We want to address what we can do to improve the parade for the next one. We meet during the summer and begin the permitting process before September.”
The MHS Marching Band and Color Guard and MHS JROTC played a large role in the parade. The simplicity of the event provided a change in pace compared to their latest competitions. “The most difficult part was definitely getting the rookies into it, because they haven’t done a parade since Homecoming, and this is one of their first Christmas parades, so we have to definitely get them ready for it,” said Junior Aaron Puchalski. “It’s just not as serious as other times during the seasons like during competitions, and we get to have fun with it.”
Different types of organizations and companies participated in the parade and were proud to contribute to the event. Despite dealing with some difficult preparations and hardships, the groups enjoyed and were proud of the outcome. “It was a little hectic. We didn’t know how many participants we were going to have. I was hoping for more. But with the kids that came out, it was a great experience and we loved it, and hopefully we’ll come back again next year,” said American Youth Soccer Organization participant Melisa Au.
Chatman-Neuhauser also added, “It was really fun being able to see the different types of people that did come to the parade, and also taking part and probably making a lot of people’s day.”
The parade attracted hundreds of residents hoping to see friends and family members participating. “(I liked) watching the band, and seeing all of the people from the different communities and groups that are part of Mililani,” said spectator Tracey Villeza. Junior Kylie Nitta added, “(I knew) all of the people in marching band, I knew someone in JROTC, and a few people were with the church groups and the dance groups.”
The holiday parade itself has become an event that a lot of people spend with their friends and families. Whether it’s watching the parade or marching in it, members of the community see it as a fun holiday tradition for all ages. “(It was great) seeing all the smiles of people. Not only the walkers, but the people that our kids were high-fiving. Everybody’s joyful and cheering, and it was really good,” said Au. Jenkins added, “(I liked) seeing everyone enjoying the parade. The participants and spectators, sharing stories and memories about prior parades, seeing old friends, making new ones, seeing the different generations enjoying the parade.”
As for the future, community members of Mililani will continue to plan out many other upcoming events for the everyone to enjoy.