Categorized | Entertainment, News

2013 ‘Family Fourth’ at Waikoloa Beach Resort

Keiki exit the Zoo Choo Train (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Roya Sabri)

Keiki exit the Zoo Choo Train (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Roya Sabri)

Roya Sabri | Hawaii 24/7 Reporter

The Waikoloa Beach Resort celebrated “Family Fourth of July” with families vacationing, staycationing or just visiting for the day.

At the Queens’ Shops, volunteers painted flags on cute cheeks and children played with clowns, ate free popcorn

Volunteers with the Special Olympics sell script for games and the Zoo Choo Train (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Roya Sabri)

Volunteers with the Special Olympics sell script for games and the Zoo Choo Train (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Roya Sabri)

and cotton candy, and played carnival games. A “Zoo Choo Train” chugged through along the sidewalk with keiki packed inside. Proceeds of ticket and water sales and donations went to Special Olympics West Hawaii.

Across the street, at the Kings’ Shops, a netted box crammed with 7,000 tagged rubber ducks hovered over the water.

Somewhere in the collection, 50 ducks would race to the end of the triangular track winners of the 22nd annual Great Waikoloa Rubber Duckie Race.

At 3 p.m., the ducks were blown across the water. The first duck floated through the finish hole at 11 minutes.

The grand prize included two nights in the Royal Suite at Waikoloa Beach Marriot Resort & Spa, Four Rounds of Golf from Waikoloa Golf, $200 Kings’ Shops Shopping Spree, $100 Shopping Certificate from Waikoloa Village Market, $200 gift certificate from Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill, and a hand painted silk scarf from Martin & MacArthur.

Planning for the event started in January. Becky Ryan, marketing manager for Kings’ Shops, said much of the work required knocking on doors and making calls to ask for donations to construct the impressive list of prizes.

Ducks have raced on the calm Kings’ pond from the Kings’ Shops’ first Fourth of July event.

It was the first shopping center on the Kohala Coast; it had a lake; and the management had a relationship with the United Cerebral Palsy of Hawaii.

The event fit the venue. Plus, people finally had a lively spectacle to watch on the pond.

The Kings’ Shops followed the model of other rubber duckie races across the United States, including Oahu’s race on the Ala Wai canal.

What makes the Great Waikoloa race unique are its themes each year. Previous years have had surfing and “Boot Scootin & Boogie” themes. Ryan said the challenge is each theme has to have a matching duck.

She said, “People are collecting them.” A new duck added to the collection has become an Independence Day highlight for many.

This year’s theme was Hawaii Five-0, inspired by the work of first responders.

A signed script and autographed photo from the show were secured as one of the prizes.

Those who were honored included Capt. Sean Sommers, Capt. Brett Matsuda and Capt. Gifford Matsuoka of the South Kohala Fire Station, Officer Kyle Hirayama, Field Operations, Area II of the South Kohala Patrol, Sgt. James Correa, Field Operations, Area I of the South Hilo Patrol, and Rita Hirai, Director of Safety for Ocean Sports.

One of the honorees, Correa, was recognized for his leadership of the Hawaii Police Department East Hawaii Task Force during a manhunt of two escaped inmates in December 2012. He took 12-15 hour days to secure the criminals.

Correa said, “One motivation was hearing about the school lock downs that were happening. I do it for my children.”

After the honoring and a moment of silence for the 19 Prescott, Ariz. “hot shot” fire fighters who died June 30 in the deadliest single day for fire fighters since Sept. 11, the tone of the ceremony rebounded from solemn to light-hearted for award announcements.

The tone, however, was different from most award ceremonies. Out of the thousands of ducks that raced that

Honoring first responders at the Kings' Shops (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Roya Sabri)

Honoring first responders at the Kings’ Shops (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Roya Sabri)

day, only a couple hundred owners returned to listen to the results. In a room full of losers, people were more anxious than celebrating.

Finally, an unexpected cheer from the audience cracked the layer of anxiety as the second place duck was announced.

Despite the flash and appeal of the prizes, the cause is what motivates most to adopt ducks.

Ryan said this is a great event for a family Fourth of July because children are safe. Waikoloa has everything: games, food, music, beach and fireworks. But one of the best things about the event, Ryan said, is that “you feel like you are giving back.”

— For a full list of prize winners, visit: www.kingsshops.com/index.php/p…

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