It’s been a tradition in Windward Oahu for more than 20 years. But the Kaneohe BayFest won’t happen this year.
Federal budget cuts have struck again. This time, affecting a well-known community event.
“I’m kind of disappointed in that. I don’t like to hear that,” said Scott Starks, Kailua resident.
“So it’s sad that they’re cancelling it,” said Susan Tessmer Stack, Kaneohe resident.
“I wish they wouldn’t but if they gotta do cuts, they gotta find areas where they can cut,” said Gene Niblett, Kailua resident.
This year’s Bayfest at Marine Corps Base Hawaii will not go on.
The military says the event requires significant resources from numerous departments and Marine Corps Community Services, all of which are affected by potential furloughs.
Officials do not know which positions could be affected.
“And it’s hurting everyone because they just keep giving themselves raises and it’s not really benefiting us,” Tessmer Stack said.
“It’s a tight economy so we have to distribute our tax dollars accordingly,” Niblett said.
Bayfest is usually held over an entire weekend in July and attracts 25,000 people. It features carnivals rides, fireworks and well-known entertainment. It began as a community relations event to thank the military for their service, as well as to welcome residents on base. Money raised goes to improve quality of life for families on base.
“I think it’s something to look forward to. It’s a big moneymaker for the base and for the community,” Tessmer Stack said.
As far as how much money the event brings in, or how much manpower is needed for this event, officials aren’t saying yet. But the military says it will release more information on Tuesday.
“You gotta cut somewhere and that’s a good place to cut is the luxuries instead of the priorities,” Niblett said.