27th Annual Honolulu City Lights
By Caroline Wright
If the first thing you think of when you hear the words “Honolulu City Lights” is Keola Beamer’s tune of the same name, give yourself bonus points for having plenty of local groove. After you attend the Honolulu City Lights festival, an annual month-long holiday celebration in paradise, you’ll have a new frame of reference.
With good reasons to stop by again and again, all month long, you can experience the delight of a Christmas-decorated tropical paradise, and the magical blend of Hawaiian “Shaka Santa” and Mrs. Claus, decked out with surfboards and shave ice, as Christmas snowmen and penguins and elves mix with Hawaii’s turtles and palm trees.
This year’s theme is “Holoholo Holiday—Just for Fun!” There’s no admission fee, and free parking is available after 6:00 p.m. at the Civic Center (accessible from Alapai or Beretania streets). Almost a hundred thousand people are expected to attend over the month. Opening night will be busy, but if you come on a weeknight, you’ll enjoy a relaxing family experience without having to fight the crowds.
The festivities kick off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 4 with food booths and rides for the kids. There’s a sacred music concert at Kawaiahao Church at 5:00, and tree lighting at 6:00. Immediately following the tree lighting, an electric light parade will proceed from Aala Park to Honolulu Hale along King Street, with Santa Claus bringing up the rear. Santa will be available for pictures after the parade, but he’ll have to compete with live entertainment from Andy Bumatai, Na Hoku Hanohano winners Kapena, Kaukahi, and Barrett & Tara Awai, among many other local artists, in a concert that will swing until 10 p.m.
But December 4 is just the kickoff for this month-long celebration. Later highlights include train rides for the kids starting on Friday, Dec. 9; free milk and cookies and a Toys for Tots collection drive with the Stormtroopers of the 501st Legion (great for Star Wars fans!) on Friday, Dec. 16 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.; and a free screening of The Wizard of Oz on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. (including free photos with Santa starting at about 5:30 p.m.)
Free hot chocolate will be available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between Dec. 8-Dec. 23 from 6-9 p.m. Every night between Dec. 4-Dec. 25, food trucks from Eat the Street will sell a variety of the best island fare.
|Date(s)/Time:||Sunday, Dec. 4 through Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011|
|Who Will Love This:
Families, children, anyone with Christmas spirit
Mayor’s Office of Culture and The Arts—Event Page
Article about Honolulu City Lights
Event Facebook Page
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