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25 Years of Magic for Honolulu City Lights

            (Wednesday, December 1, 2009) – Honolulu City Lights is Hawaii’s premier holiday event and while the theme is 25 Years of Magic, the celebration is also significant because of new green initiatives.  This is the 25th anniversary of Honolulu City Lights and opening festivities will be held on Saturday, December 5, 2009, 6 p.m. at Honolulu Hale.

“Due to rising energy costs, the City is focusing on conserving to stabilize our displays and focus on green alternatives,” said Mayor Mufi Hannemann. “We are moving towards reusing, redesigning and refurbishing displays rather than building them from scratch.”


            The City’s elves used to work until 4 a.m. to ensure that all of the lights come on at the right time.  Now, instead of using street light controllers to regulate the lights, they use solid state microprocessors to do the job.  This will be the first year that highly efficient and brighter LED bulbs are used on the main City Christmas tree.


            A traditional highlight is the popular Public Workers Electric Light Parade.  Dozens of decorated vehicles and high school marching bands from around the island will participate in the parade that begins in Chinatown at 6 p.m.  The grand marshall is Richard M. Rosenblum, president of the Hawaiian Electric Company.  The HECO float also follows the City’s “green” lead as it will debut Santa’s Renewable Beach House, featuring solar-electric photovoltaic panels and a solar clothes drier for Santa’s board shorts.


            Entertainment is a big draw during Honolulu City Lights, and this year’s opening night includes the sweet sounds of Raiatea Helm during the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m.  The Silver Jubilee Celebration holiday concert follows the parade at 7:30 p.m. and features the U.S. Air Force Band, Maunalua, Amy Hanaialii, the DeLima Ohana and A Touch of Gold.


            The Honolulu City Lights tree lighting ceremony, parade and concert highlights will be cablecast live on Channel 52 on Saturday, December 5, from 6 to 10 p.m.  Hawaii News Now weatherman Guy Hagi and his wife Kim Gennaula will emcee the tree lighting ceremony and Hawaii News Now anchors Tannya Joaquin and Stephanie Lum will host the 2009 Electric Light Parade.


            Opening night celebrations also signal the start of public access into Honolulu Hale for the colorful City employees' decorated Christmas tree exhibits, wreath displays, gingerbread houses and nightly visits with Santa.  The festivities continue nightly through Friday, January 1 and the trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses may be viewed from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, including holidays and weekends.


            In celebration of 25 years of this popular, highly anticipated event, a photo display was created to show the beginning of Honolulu City Lights and how it has transformed over the years.  There is also a search for a lucky winner of the “Were You There Contest,” to light the City tree with Mayor Hannemann.


            The Saturday, December 5, 2009 program includes:


            4:00 p.m.         Food booths and keiki rides (Sky Gate)


            5:00 p.m.         Kawaiahao Church Music concert


            6:00 p.m.         Tree-lighting ceremony begins (Honolulu Hale)

                                    Raiatea Helm, special guest performance


                                    Electric Light Parade begins at River Street and proceeds on King Street,                                      arriving at Honolulu Hale at 6:30 p.m.


            6:30 p.m.         Mayor Hannemann and First Lady light the tree with the winner of the                                                 “Were You There on December 12, 1985?” contest


                                    Public Workers Electric Light Parade arrives at Honolulu Hale


                                    Christmas tree exhibit, wreath displays and gingerbread houses

                                    (Honolulu Hale)


            7:30 p.m.         Honolulu City Lights Jubilee Celebration Holiday Concert

                                    (Sky Gate area)

                                    A Touch of Gold, Amy Hanaialii, Maunalua, and the Delima Ohana


            This month-long holiday event is made possible by several sponsors:  First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaiian Electric Company, Macy’s, John H. Connors Insurance, Hawaiian Airlines, FUJIFILM Hawaii, GEICO, Papa John’s Pizza, ING Direct, Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, Cox Radio and Tom Moffatt Productions.


            For a list of 25th Anniversary events log on to: or  For more information on Honolulu City Lights 25th Anniversary, contact Executive Director Joan Manke at 768-3710.





Joan Manke, 768-3710

Bill Brennan, 768-6928