This past Saturday night, December 3, Holualoa held its annual Music and Tree Lighting festivities in its tiny downtown located about four miles mauka (that means up the hill!) of Keauhou on Malamahoa Highway. The town is a delight. There are more art galleries lining the street than any other type of business and the town prides itself as being the center of the Kona coffee plantations and farms. If you want a true taste of “old” Hawaii, this is it.
Seeing many of our local friends, it was, to me, an old fashioned block party where everywhere you turn around you are kissing cheeks, hugging and taking pictures. I loved it, because it was a shining evening of, “I belong here…I LIVE here!” (Sometimes, when I say that, I have to do a little happy hula dance and give myself a big shaka!) 😉
After Santa came back from his mile long drive through town, they lit the main Norfolk Pine tree in downtown and a few hundred people clapped and took pics. Santa then went to do his duties of sitting with children and taking pictures. The cool thing was that he was giving away “real” gifts to the kids, too! Another benefit of a small town!
Then the music started in three different venues…slack key, traditional folk singers and musicians, and even some hula. The galleries were blazing brightly and served cookies and hot and cold drinks. Just a very sweet, quaint, and merry event.
The next surprise came when we ventured down to the church with our children. The church grounds had come alive as a free festival and my children tore off and played games with prizes, ate hotdogs and cotton candy, and jumped in a jump house, all for free. To say that this was a treat in Hawaii, is an understatement. My nine year old grew up that night when she was able to say hi to all her school friends, wander around, play games and eat, all without us standing next to her. (which goes to show you how much authority you have when you are holding the wallet!)
We ended the evening with a free showing of “Home Alone” in the Holualoa Theater. We invited our friends to join us and laughed with the dozen or so people in the theater with us and kept the kids out past 10 pm. Through it all, the gallery owners, musicians, shop keepers, and attendees were all so kind and gracious. Once again, I was touched by the Aloha Spirit flowing through the air.