Shining the Holiday Spirit: Monthlong ‘Honolulu City Lights’ to brighten Saturday

| December 2, 2016 | 0 Comments
Each department of the City and County of Honolulu fundraises and decorates its own tree for free public display inside Honolulu Hale Courtyard.

Each department of the City and County of Honolulu fundraises and decorates its own tree for free public display inside Honolulu Hale Courtyard.

Electric Light Parade begins at 6 p.m.

Christine Cabalo
Staff Writer
HONOLULU — Start the holiday season off brightly by basking in the Honolulu City Lights coordinated by the City and County of Honolulu.

The annual event is a free display of holiday exhibits with evening lights, kicking off with a full program starting Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.

Among the opening night events will be the Electric Light Parade put on by the city’s public workers, with lighted floats, marchers and decorated city vehicles driving down to Honolulu Hale from the parade start point in Chinatown.

Crowds wait in line to get their photo taken with Santa and view several Christmas trees on display inside Honolulu Hale.

Crowds wait in line to get their photo taken with Santa and view several Christmas trees on display inside Honolulu Hale.

The decorations remain up through New Year’s Day, with free entry to the public, with the lighted displays running from sunset to 11 p.m., nightly.

Expect a crowd
“Opening night is our busiest night, and we anticipate more than 20,000 people,” said Sheri Kajiwara, Honolulu City Lights coordinator. “Most people come to opening night, so they can also see our Electric Light Parade. You can see the parade for blocks.”

Kajiwara said people camp out along the parade route and around Frank Fasi Civic Grounds as early as 10 a.m. on the day of the opening to land a spot near Honolulu Hale. However, Kajiwara said the public can stand anywhere along the route outside of the safety barricades to see the parade.

She recommends standing along the King Street side of Tamarind Park in downtown Honolulu for a clear, comfortable view.

The city first started the event 32 years ago, rotating between several displays throughout the years. Among the returning displays are the giant toy wooden blocks spelling Mele Kalikimaka and Hauoli Makahiki Hou, the Hawaiian phrases for Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Another favorite decoration, a 40-foot display of Santa and Mrs. Claus in aloha attire, will appear again at one of the historic fountains in front of Honolulu Hale.

Opening night will also feature several performances from local musicians and students in the Kamehameha Elementary School Choir.

Several students from Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School will also be appearing at opening night to light the city’s 55-foot Christmas tree. Helping the children will be University of Hawaii head football coach Nick Rolovich. The students were chosen by luck of the draw and represent various grades, said Jan Iwase, principal of Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School.

Visitors stand in front of the lighted 55-foot Christmas tree in front of Honolulu Hale as part of the annual Honolulu City Lights display that runs through Jan. 1, 2017.

Visitors stand in front of the lighted 55-foot Christmas tree in front of Honolulu Hale as part of the annual Honolulu City Lights display that runs through Jan. 1, 2017.

“I’ve talked to several of the parents, and everyone (is) excited for the event,” Iwase said. “Many haven’t attended the opening night to Honolulu City Lights before, and they’re happy to be able to attend.”

Kajiwara said the holiday effort takes a lot of volunteer work from city employees and help from sponsors to keep the event free to the public.

“The whole idea is this is the City and County’s gift from city employees to residents,” Kajiwara said. “Even down to the trees on display in Honolulu Hale, they are all from a department with the city. Each department does the fundraising (itself), creates the decorations for (the) trees on their own time as a gift to the public.”

Online
For more details, visit www.honolulucitylights.org/.

Opening Night Schedule
Festivities for the annual Honolulu City Lights start Dec. 3 from 4-11 p.m. Check out the schedule below. Entry is free, with food and other entertainment available for purchase.
4 p.m.: Vendors will be open with food and souvenir booths. Paid keiki rides open at Sky Gate, the 24-foot high sculpture on the lawn of the Frank Fasi Civic Grounds.
6 p.m.: The Tree Lighting Ceremony begins at Honolulu Hale and the Electric Light Parade of Honolulu public workers start from River and King streets in Chinatown.
The parade route follows King Street to Honolulu Hale.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell will lead the official tree lighting ceremony, with a special performance by the Kamehameha Elementary School Children’s Choir.
6:30 p.m.: The city’s 55-foot tree will be lit by several students from Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School and University of Hawaii head football coach Nick Rolovich.
The Electric Light Parade is scheduled to arrive at Honolulu Hale. Crowds will be able to see floats up close along the street from their arrival to 8:30 p.m.
Also open to the public will be the decorated tree exhibit from each department of the city, and Santa’s gingerbread house and enchanted forest display in the courtyard. Entries from the public for the annual wreath contest will be exhibited in the Lane Gallery.
7:30 p.m.: The annual holiday concert is also scheduled to start at the Sky Gate stage on the Frank Fasi Civic Grounds. Performers featured are Halau Hula Olana, Blayne Asing, Mailani Makainai and Sean Naauao.
Parking: Free parking is available in the Frank Fasi Civic Center Parking Structure starting at 4 p.m. for opening night, with the entrance located on Beretania Street.
Paid parking will also be available in downtown Honolulu and Chinatown at the Smith Beretania park and Hale Pauhi parking garages.

Keiki rides, food vendors and other entertainment is available opening night at Honolulu City Lights.

Keiki rides, food vendors and other entertainment is available opening night at Honolulu City Lights.

Special Holiday Events from the City and County of Honolulu
Enjoy the events below.

Honolulu Hale
Honolulu Hale Courtyard
530 S. King St.
Visit with Santa, nightly, Dec.
4-23, for free.

Free Photos with Santa
Dec. 9, 16, 23
Honolulu Hale Courtyard
530 S. King St.
Come down to meet Santa and receive a free photo from 7-9 p.m. Photos are made available with help from various corporate sponsors of Honolulu City Lights.

Kapolei City Lights
Dec. 10, 5-10 p.m.
Kapolei Hale
Celebrate the holidays with city officials in Kapolei. Watch the Electric Light Parade head along Kapolei Parkway. Enjoy Santa’s village, food, entertainment and more.

Mele Kalikimaka Marketplace
•Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
•Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Neal Blaisdell Center
333 Ward Ave.
Enjoy crafts, local products, holiday pop-up shops and native Hawaiian art available during the two-day holiday festival. Support the Friends of Honolulu City Lights by visiting their booth and seeing (buying) this year’s unique Christmas ornament.
Sales go to support Honolulu City Lights in the future. The ornament for 2016 commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Free Family Movie Night
Saturday, Dec. 17, 7-9 p.m.
Frank Fasi Civic
Center Grounds
530 S. King St.
Enjoy a night out with a free outdoor movie appropriate for the whole family.

Holiday Hula
Sunday, Dec. 18, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Honolulu Hale
530 S. King St.
See a free hourlong hula performance by Hula Hui O Kapunahala O Nu‘uanu YMCA.

Free Milk and Cookies Night
Friday, Dec. 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Honolulu Hale
530 S. King St.
Have a snack of free milk and cookies on the front steps of Honolulu Hale, just in time for Christmas.

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