President Barack Obama spent a few hours of the last day of 2013 at Hanauma Bay before a visit to Island Snow this afternoon.
Shortly before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the president emerged from Island Snow in Kailua holding a cherry and lemon-lime shave ice. His daughters had emerged first with about a dozen other friends and family members and headed to several benches outside the shop.
Obama, leaving Island Snow last, headed in the other direction to greet about three dozen people who were waiting for him in a seating area outside Bob’s Pizzeria. The crowd was behind a railing and a thin red-and-white rope line that was tied between the wall and a bicycle at the end of the seating area. The crowd applauded and cheered as the president approached wearing sunglasses and a navy-and-white striped short-sleeved shirt.
“Oh my goodness,” one woman screamed.
“What’s up buddy,” the president said to the small boys on the far end of the line.
“Mr. President, you’re fantastic,” a woman shouted.
“Hey sweetie, how are you,” the president said to another child.
He engaged in a conversation with another man about the cherry flavor, but their exchange was inaudible beyond the word “cherry.”
The president wished many in the crowd “Happy New Year” and at one point said “I hope you guys have a great 2014.” As a goodbye, Obama gave the crowd the ‘shaka’ sign.
Obama kicked off the day with an hourlong workout at a military base near his rented vacation home in Hawaii. He and first lady Michelle Obama then headed to Hanauma Bay for a midday snorkeling outing on a sun-splashed day on the island of Oahu.
The White House said the president planned to stay at home tonight and ring in the new year with friends and family.
The president has largely stayed out of the spotlight since arriving in Hawaii more than a week ago. He’s spent his days golfing with friends, hiking with his family, and hitting the town for dinner at high-end restaurants he frequents while in his home state.