IRS Snafu Cancels 2015 Pineapple Parade And Festival

T-shirts like this one from the now-cancelled 2015 festival are still for sale. Photo from Grace Dixon.

T-shirts like this one from the now-cancelled 2015 festival are still for sale. Photo from Grace Dixon.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Wahiawa Pineapple Festival 2015 has been cancelled. We thought long and hard before coming to this decision, but cirumstances dictated this course of action. We hope that you will continue your support of the next Festival. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.”

So read the May 6 online message from Wahiawa Historical Society. The nonprofit organization had to cancel the parade and festival just days before the May 9 event (and after the Central Oahu Voice story went to press and reached area mailboxes).

“We had serious problems at the last minute,” admitted festival co-chairman Bob Lormand. “It was a scuffle with the IRS, and so far they’ve won.”

Apparently a routine renewal form required of all nonprofits was not filed with the IRS, Lormand said.

“If you don’t file for three years in a row, your nonprofit status gets revoked.” He added, however, that the IRS also must send a notice of violation. “But we got nothing.”

So WHS was unable to reserve the district park or find a co-sponsor in time.

All donations were returned, and co-chairwoman Alesia Au had to cancel the entertainment she’d booked for the event. Marching bands,vendors and all parade participants had to be notified. And the souvenir T-shirts?

Well …

“I have $3,000 worth of very beautiful T-shirts that carry a date that will live in infamy,” said Grace Dixon, who helped on the parade and T-shirts. Now she’s into sales mode, trying to recoup the historical society’s investment in shirts and caps, which all display the 2015 theme of ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.’

“I’m still optimistic,” Dixon said, though very disappointed that the town would miss “the best parade we’ve ever had.”

The shirts come in two colors and designs, and various sizes, with the suggested price of $25, $20 and $15 (caps).

Look for them at the farmers market at Wahiawa Hongwanji (open from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays), on consignment at Foster Botanical Garden, or by calling Dixon at 621-0043.

“Maybe the shirts will be a collector’s item,” Lormand suggested.