49th Makawao Rodeo Paniolo Parade

Once again, the small upcountry town of Makawao was host to their world-famous July 4th rodeo and parade.  The event took place from Thursday, July 3rd until Sunday, July 6th and, as always, drew a huge crowd of locals and visitors alike.  I have covered the Friday night bull bash before in my blog (here), so for this entry I’ll talk about the Saturday morning parade and events that followed.

Parade preparation.
Parade preparation.

The theme for this years parade was “Celebrate the Paniolo.”  Unfortunately, I had to look that up after the fact because there was no indication of a theme anywhere before, during, or after the parade.  It may be that I was unaware of a theme because I was not sitting within the fifty-foot radius of the one set of speakers to hear the announcer.

This was the first time that I took a Saturday off to watch the paniolo parade in the morning and enjoy the full day of rodeo events.  Although I suffered a slight farmer’s tan from all the fun in the sun, it was extremely fun and I think I will make that a new tradition.

Some quick observations from the parade:

  • If you want greater amounts of attention from the floats and their participants, stand next to twins.  Everybody came over to the two girls next to us, asked if they were twins, then gave them extra handfuls of candy (which helped us get more too).
Twins and a chicken in a car.  'nuff said.
Twins and a chicken in a car. ’nuff said.
  • No Maui fire department, nor police department was represented, which seemed a bit disappointing.
  • No resort or hotel was represented, which is just sad that such a valuable resource was not used.
  • It is an election year, so there were a bunch of politicians in this parade.  Two jokes I thought of to go with that line:  (1) I had never seen a jackass ride a horse before today. or (2) You could smell their bull-shit over the horse-shit that covered the parade route.
  • If you want to liven things up, include well rehearsed bagpipers.
Piping of the bags.
Piping of the bags.
Maui pipe and drum band.
Maui pipe and drum band.

Before the parade began they had the keiki stick-horse race.  Kids of all size and age ran like lunatics from one end of the parade route, to the other end riding an old-fashioned stick horse.  It was entertaining when they tripped up and cute as heck when the littlest ones would saunter by.

...and they're off!
…and they’re off!

After the kids were awarded their prizes (we noticed they were given pedometers, which was fitting), the parade began.  The flow of decorated and detailed classic cars was wonderful to see.

The leader of the pack.
The leader of the pack.
A traffic jam of great cars.
A traffic jam of great cars.
Who needs a top when you can use a sombrero instead?
Who needs a convertible top when you can use a sombrero instead?

Politicians and their supporters should have been the theme for this year’s parade.  The seemingly endless flow of politicians and their camps was a bit repetitive, but it helped to prolong the length of the parade.  Also, most of them gave out candy or other swag, so that helped bring smiles to people’s faces.  We had Hawai’i Governor Neil Abercrombie in attendance, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, and every other politician that needed to be seen pressing the flesh this election year.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and his wife.
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and his wife.
Colleen Hanabusa's parade float.
Senator Colleen Hanabusa’s parade float.

The paniolo parade’s Grand Marshall was David Freitas, a retired heavy machine operator.  I cannot tell you anymore about the man because that is all I could find out about him via the interwebs and our local newspaper.

Grand Marshall David Freitas.
Grand Marshall David Freitas.

The parade had rodeo queens, princesses, and their junior counterparts all on horseback.  Some of the horses had leis adorning their shoulders that were more beautiful than their riders’ leis.

The horse leis were fantastic.
The horse leis were fantastic.
Beauty was everywhere.
Beauty was everywhere.

The floats that were not associated with politics were few and far between, but they sure were fun.

At ease.
At ease.
Make a basket, get a buck.
Make a basket, get a buck.
A man dressed as an anti-gmo cow, rollerblading.  This entire get-up hurt my head.
A man dressed as an anti-GMO cow, rollerblading. This entire get-up hurt my head.
U S A, U S A!
U S A, U S A!

This was a good idea by the Maui Invasive Species Committee or MISC.  They had a person dressed in a little fire ant costume running along the edges of the parade scaring little kids.  I bet that will be the most effective way to get kids to fear this dangerous invasive insect.  Unfortunately, it may also be the most effective way to scar them for life attending parades.

A big little fire ant.
A big little fire ant.
Go cougars!
Go cougars!

So this guy’s shirt reads:  Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs Italian, the mechanics German, the lovers French and it is all organized by the Swiss.  Hell is where the police are German, the chefs British, the mechanics French, the lovers Swiss and it is all organized by the Italians.

Hands-down, the most patriotic unicycle I have ever seen.
Hands-down, the most patriotic unicycle I have ever seen.

How do you know when the parade is over?  When you see the street sweeper.

The tell-tale sign that the parade is over.
The tell-tale sign that the parade is over.

I was fortunate to attend the parade this year as a spectator, but next year, I may have to get my old pickup truck ready and enter it in the parade.

Vincent Lorusso Written by:

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives. - Jackie Robinson

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *