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Opening Night of the 27th Annual Honolulu City Lights
will focus on this year’s theme: Holoholo Holiday—Just for Fun! 

(Fri., Nov. 25, 2011)—Thousands of island families and visitors will flock to Honolulu Hale  on Saturday, December 3, 2011, to witness the lighting of the City’s 50-foot holiday tree and the popular Public Workers Electric Light Parade.

            The eagerly anticipated holiday celebration, a 27-year tradition in Hawaii that kicks off the holiday season, is presented free by the employees of the City and County of Honolulu, and the Friends of Honolulu City Lights.

            Event sponsors include Hawaiian Electric Company, First Hawaiian Bank, Macy’s, Kraft Foods Hawaii, GEICO, ING Direct, John H. Connors Insurance, Hawaiian Airlines, Papa John’s Pizza, Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, Cox Media Group Honolulu, and Tihati Productions.

            The opening ceremony hosted by Mayor Peter B. Carlisle and featuring special guests will begin at 6 p.m. Those attending the event to view the Electric Light Parade can line King Street from River Street to Honolulu Hale or watch the tree lighting ceremony and parade on a 21-foot screen near the concert stage by the Sky Gate on the municipal grounds. At 6:30 p.m., when the mayor lights the holiday tree and the “corridor of lights” downtown, the parade will proceed past Honolulu Hale.

           More than 30 decorated City vehicles, including fire trucks, TheBus, refuse and police vehicles, and parade sponsor units will be fully “dressed” for the occasion.  Santa will arrive at Mission Memorial Auditorium to hear children’s wishes and pose for pictures. When the parade ends, vehicles will remain so kids can meet the City employees and see their decorated units up close.

            Following the conclusion of the opening ceremony, everyone is invited to the Honolulu Hale Courtyard to view the elaborately decorated Christmas trees created by City employees. Don’t miss the Christmas wreath contest display in the Lane Gallery at the Waikiki end of Honolulu Hale. The annual wreath contest engages the talents and creative participation of the community. 

            On opening night there will be food booths set up near Sky Gate on the municipal grounds selling local style plates, hamburgers, hot dogs, malasadas, poppers and much more.
At 7:30 p.m., popular local entertainers Andy Bumatai, Na Hoku Hanohano award winners, Kapena, Kaukahi, and Barrett & Tara Awai, island contemporary music group Sam Kapu III Trio, the Anguay sisters, ukulele virtuoso Taimane, local recording artist Starr Kalahiki, Ambassadors in Motion, and the New Hope Band & Singers and Halau of New Hope will perform.

            The public is encouraged to arrive early to avoid traffic delays around Honolulu Hale. Parking is available in the civic center parking structure adjacent to City Hall and at various parking garages in the area. Those arriving early can enjoy the keiki rides and food booths while waiting for the tree lighting and parade to start.

            Bring your cameras because the grounds are decorated with larger-than-life outdoor displays, including the 21-foot Shaka Santa. The Friends of Honolulu City Lights will be selling the 2011 “Holoholo Series” ornaments along with past ornaments created since 2000. Look for their booth set up in front of the Mission Memorial Building facing King Street. Event t-shirts will also be sold from this area, as well as glow sticks, blinkies, and other memorabilia.

           Don’t miss seeing the new 12-foot outdoor displays featuring the art work of Summer Fun kids ages 6-13. Five, two-sided cookie displays shaped like Christmas trees, snowmen, stars and gingerbread figures will come alive with the students’ art work.

           The Honolulu City Lights tree lighting ceremony, Electric Light Parade and the holiday concert will be broadcast live on opening night on Olelo, Channel 52 starting at 6 p.m.

       Honolulu City Lights is a month-long holiday celebration, closing Monday, January 2, 2012. There are several special events:

·       The City and the Friends of Honolulu City Lights will present a Family Movie Night near the Sky Gate featuring The Wizard of Oz on Saturday, December 17 at 7 p.m.

·       A Toys for Tots collection drive with Stormtroopers of the 501st Legion is set for Honolulu Hale on Friday, December 16 from 6–8 p.m.

·       Free milk and cookies presented by the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance will be available at Honolulu Hale on Friday, December 16 from 6:30–8:30 p.m.

·       ING DIRECT will offer free hot chocolate from their Café Cruiser at the Fasi Municipal Building on December 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 from 6–9 p.m.

·       After opening night, a different food wagon from Eat the Street will be set up each evening in the flagpole area in front of the Fasi Municipal Building.

            This year’s celebration will also include new streetlight banners on King and Bishop streets. Xtreme Fun will have its keiki rides by Sky Gate on opening night and will offer train rides around the grounds starting Friday, December 9. Kraft Foods Hawaii offers Free Photos with Santa Nights in the Honolulu Hale Courtyard on Saturday, December 17 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. and Thursday, December 22 from 6–8 p.m.