Three-year-old Mandy Hadden of Aiea said she came to see two things.
"The princesses," she said. "And the horse doodoo."
Unfortunately for Mandy—or perhaps fortunately—there was none of the latter in sight at the corner of South Street and Ala Moana Boulevard where she and her family sat down to watch the 94th annual King Kamehameha Day Floral Parade yesterday.
Mandy was among thousands in attendance for the parade, which this year went the other direction—toward downtown—starting from Fort DeRussy Park in Waikiki and ending with a hoolaulea at ‘Iolani Palace. The parade honors the life of King Kamehameha the Great and his uniting of the Hawaiian Islands in 1810.
Parade watchers filled the sidewalks of the new route and came prepared for the heat with umbrellas, coolers and folding chairs.
Two Moiliili residents brought with them a table dressed with a green linen tablecloth and a mixed set of china for an improvised tea party.
"We did this last year and it was so much fun we did it again," said Kristen Keller, 33. She and friend Tory Laitila both donned stylish straw hats as they sipped tea and ate finger sandwiches in the shade on Punchbowl Street.
The crowd was treated to music, including the Navy Marching Band, the Royal Hawaiian Marching Band, and the Laker Band from Camdenton High School in Missouri. The parade also featured William Aila Sr. as this year’s Pa’u Marshal and Leiala Cook as Pa’u Queen.
Jayce Walker, 22, of Kalihi rode in his first Kamehameha Day Parade as a page for the pa’u riders representing Niihau. Though the long, hot ride from Fort DeRussy to ‘Iolani Palace was a challenge, Walker said the experience was inspiring.
"For me, this is a reminder of how much culture we have and how different we are from everything else," he said.