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Festival to benefit Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans

By Staff | Nov 10, 2011

WAILUKU – Four Maui teens are vying for the crown of the 59th Chrysanthemum Festival, which will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku.

The contestants are selling dinner tickets and soliciting donations to Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans, which cosponsors the event with the County of Maui.

The queen will be the contestant who raises the most money for the sponsor’s historical preservation projects (which are done for the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center) and for scholarships given in partnership with Maui AJA Veterans Inc.

The contestants are Alicia Ballesteros of Wailuku, daughter of Oy Wah Cheam and a junior at St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School; Alyssa McAlinden of Wailuku, daughter of Althea Bongolan and Brian McAlinden and a junior at Kamehameha Schools Maui; Lindsey Miyamoto of Kahului, daughter of Dr. Michael and Joyce Miyamoto and a junior at Henry Perrine Baldwin High School; and Aja Muromoto of Makawao, daughter of Thomas and Liane Muromoto and a senior at King Kekaulike High School.

The Chrysanthemum Festival celebrates Japanese culture with entertainment, demonstrations and exhibits. The event includes the coronation of the queen and an optional dinner.

Admission to the festival is free. Tickets for the dinner cost $15. Call Leonard Oka at 249-2163 or 385-7670 for more information about the event, to buy tickets from a particular contestant or to donate in her name.

Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. Dinner will be held at 6 p.m., followed by entertainment and the coronation at 6:45 p.m.

The coronation segment includes a choreographed dance by the court members and their escorts. They are preparing for this performance at weekly sessions with ballroom dance instructors Jeffrey and Lydia Dela Cruz.

Contestants also represent the Sons and Daughters and the NVMC at various events throughout the year.

The annual event was created as the Chrysanthemum Ball, a ballroom-dance affair, by the Maui AJA Veterans as a way to fund its community service in areas such as youth sports and scholarships.