Council sets limit on Waikiki parades

Everybody loves a parade… except people stuck in traffic, trapped in the crowds, or struggling to pay the rent. Answering complaints from Waikiki residents and businesses, the Honolulu City Council has set a limit on the number of parades that can be held in the tourist mecca. Waikiki has seen nearly 60 parades and block parties a year, averaging more than one a week, most requiring Kalakaua Avenue to be shut down and requiring extensive traffic and crowd control. The council has passed a bill that will limit parades to 39 per year — 14 annual parades that have been around for 15 years or more receive automatic approval, 15 more parade organizers will be selected each year via lottery, and the mayor will have the discretion to allow as many as ten more. The limit won’t apply to protest marches or other events covered under free speech laws, however. Waikiki residents have complained about the traffic and the noise, and while parades always draw a crowd, they frequently hurt sales for Waikiki businesses. Parade organizers, however, say the events are a draw for tourists, actually drum up business, and add that Waikiki has always been a noisy, festive place. “It’s like living next to the airport and saying it’s too noisy,” long-time parade organizer Nelson Fujio told KHNL. “It’s understood that Kalakaua is a designated parade route.” Fujio, who has served as parade director for the Honolulu Festival and the Pan Pacific Festival, said the inability to guarantee approval may mean some larger, international events will stop coming to Hawaii. The bill now goes to Mayor Mufi Hanneman for consideration.

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