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Opening Night Glistens with "Island Holiday Traditions"

for the 26th annual event


            (Mon., Nov. 29, 2010)Join Mayor Peter B. Carlisle and an estimated 45,000 island residents and visitors, who are expected to flock to the grounds of Honolulu Hale (city hall) on Saturday, December 4, to witness the lighting of the City's 55-foot Norfolk pine and the popular Public Workers Electric Parade, now an island tradition and part of the spectacular 26th annual Honolulu City Lights.


            The eagerly anticipated annual event kicks off the holiday season on Oahu and is presented free of charge by the City and County of Honolulu and the Friends of Honolulu City Lights. 


            The Honolulu City Lights opening night festivities have become one of the most well-attended holiday events in town for both visitors and locals.  "I'm excited to experience this event for the first time as mayor, and am looking forward to seeing the entire island coming out and sharing in this holiday celebration," said Mayor Carlisle.


            The event sponsors who make this impressive production possible include First Hawaiian Bank, Macy's, Hawaiian Electric Company, Kraft Foods in Hawaii, John H. Connors Insurance, GEICO, Hawaiian Airlines, ING DIRECT, Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, Cox Media Group Hawaii,  Papa John's Pizza and Tihati Productions.


            Opening ceremonies at Honolulu Hale begin at 6 p.m, hosted by Mayor Carlisle and special guests.  Also at 6 p.m., the Public Workers Electric Light Parade begins its march down King Street from Aala Park to City Hall.  When the mayor lights the City tree at 6:30 pm, he will simultaneously light up the entire downtown corridor as the Electric Light Parade passes Honolulu Hale.


            More than 40 uniquely decorated City vehicles, including fire trucks, TheBus, refuse vehicles, emergency medical services cushmans, the HPD mobile command vehicle, and parade sponsor units and mascots will be "fully dressed" for the occasion, with 14 high school marching bands rounding out the dazzling 54-unit procession. 


            Among the sponsor units will be the Macy's contingent holding for the first time two huge (12' and 17') "star" balloons. Other sponsor favorites include GEICO's gecko, Hawaiian Electric's elaborate parade vehicle, Hawaiian Airlines float, and the crowd-pleasing Kraft characters and clowns.


            Santa is expected to arrive in a float created by Parade Man Nelson Fujio.  Old Saint Nick will disembark at City Hall and walk to the Mission Memorial Auditorium to hear children's wishes and pose for free 8" x 10" photos, compliments of FUJIFILM Hawaii. 


            After the parade, everyone is welcome to come into the Honolulu Hale courtyard to view the elaborately decorated Christmas trees, uniquely created by City employees, each one expressing the holidays through the eyes of a keiki.


A must-see added attraction is the 25th annual Christmas wreath contest display, set up in Lane Gallery at the Waikiki end of Honolulu Hale.   The wreath contest is a popular component of Honolulu City Lights that engages the talents and creativity of the community.


            Large crowds are again anticipated for the holiday concert at Sky Gate, which begins at 7:30 p.m.  Featured performers include Kapono, Afatia, Mailani, Jordan Segundo, Ciana Pelekai, the nine-year old sensation from America's Got Talent, and four young teens who call themselves EMKE.  The two-hour free concert produced by Cha Thompson and Tihati Productions, begins at 7:30 and ends after 9:30 p.m.


            Food and beverages, commemorative ornaments, event t-shirts and holiday note cards, and other novelty items will be sold on the grounds throughout the evening.  Several food booths will be accessible near Sky Gate on the Honolulu Hale grounds from 4 p.m., selling refreshments, plate dinners and snacks, so people are encouraged to come early, find a good parking space and enjoy a relaxing dinner before the festivities begin.  The event also offers rides for the keiki beginning at

4 p.m. near Sky Gate.


            The Honolulu City Lights festivities, including the tree lighting ceremony, parade and concert will be cablecast LIVE on Saturday, December 4, from 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Olelo

Channel 52.  A one-hour parade special will also be aired on KITV-4 from 7 to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 24, with a re-broadcast on Christmas morning at 8 a.m. 


            For the first time, the tree light ceremony and parade can also be viewed live on the city's 24-foot screen, which will be set up near the Fasi Municipal Building on the civic center grounds.  Families can find a comfortable area, relax and watch the entire ceremony in comfort.


            The public is encouraged to arrive early to avoid heavy traffic around Honolulu Hale, which may start as early at 4:00 pm due to the parade staging.  Parking is available in the civic center municipal parking garage off Alapai or Beretania streets, the state's Kalanimoku Building and at various parking lots in the surrounding area.  Both King and Punchbowl Streets will be blocked off from 5 p.m.  Motorists are advised to allow time for delays when traveling in the area and to take alternate routes during this time.


            The celebration continues with the Christmas Tree Exhibit and Holiday Wreath display inside Honolulu Hale throughout the month of December, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, including weekends and holidays.