Honolulu City Lights sports ocean theme
BY STEVEN MARK / firstname.lastname@example.org
There are some new toys for Honolulu’s annual holiday celebration this year, in the form of new, ocean-inspired Christmas ornaments.
Every three years the organizers of Honolulu City Lights come up with a new theme for the presentation of Shaka Santa, Mrs. Claus and their holiday dominion.
HONOLULU CITY LIGHTS
Where: Civic Center
When: Saturday-Jan. 1, 2013
» Parade schedule, Saturday: 6 p.m. start at River Street, down King Street past Honolulu Hale, to Kawaiahao Street. Decorated city vehicles will be on view at Kawaiahao Street until 8:15 p.m.
That cycle turns over this year, and the new theme is “Santa’s Underwater Adventure,” which is kind of a back story to some of the things you’ll see this year.
Festivities begin with the traditional parade on Saturday. The attraction remains on display and open to the public through Jan. 1.
“We have a little story so that people don’t think we’ve lost our minds by having a tree this year that’s all ocean-inspired,” said Carol Costa with the Friends of Honolulu City Lights. Costa, retired Honolulu City and County spokeswoman, has been involved with City Lights since it began under then-Mayor Frank Fasi.
THE STORY, simply put, is that Shaka Santa goes snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and encounters an octopus, and apparently a rather feisty one at that.
An 8-foot purple octopus will occupy the city’s fountain as part of the display. “And if you press a button, it will squirt water out,” Costa said.
New Christmas ornaments based on the aquatic story decorate the city’s 50-foot Norfolk Island pine Christmas tree.
Ornaments based on the City Lights display are also available to the public, and they’re already on sale at Macy’s, First Hawaiian Bank and Aloha Credit Union. Costa said selling the ornaments ensures that the City Lights presentation remains free.
“The ornaments will all be ocean-themed,” she said. “What you’re going to see is all kinds of fish, you’re going to see crabs, you’re going to see sea horses and a whole variety of things that Santa would have seen while he was underwater snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.”
Two 8-foot-tall sea horses have been created for this year’s presentation, which has come a long way since the original City Lights celebration in 1985. That comprised a big tree, decorated with “little, tiny gold balls and some wooden doves and three floodlights,” Costa said. “That’s pretty much it — but it was a big tree.”
The presentation now includes huge holiday-themed statues — Shaka Santa alone weighs 2 tons — as well as the Public Workers Electric Light Parade, a caravan of city vehicles decorated by city employees.
This year’s parade features an Environmental Services truck decorated with characters from “Shark Tale” and “Finding Nemo,” and a Parks and Recreation vehicle featuring a paddler navigating a canoe through a sea of lights and palm trees.
Opening-night entertainment this year is headlined by Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Anuhea and features singer Melveen Leed, comedian Frank De Lima and others.
Visitors who would like family portraits taken with Santa may also want to attend opening-night ceremonies or return in the evening on Dec. 15 or 22. Photos on opening night will be at Mission Memorial Auditorium, and on other nights they will be taken at the gingerbread house.
Opening night festivities:
» 4 p.m. Food and souvenir booths and keiki rides open on Civic Center grounds
» 6 p.m. Tree lighting ceremony on Honolulu Hale stage, includes Melveen Leed singing “Honolulu City Lights”
» 6 p.m. Electric Light Parade leaves Aala Park area and proceeds down King Street to Honolulu Hale
» 6 p.m. Santa meets with island keiki in Mission Memorial Auditorium, adjacent to City Hall
» 6:30 p.m. Display of decorated Christmas trees and wreaths opens in Honolulu Hale Courtyard
» 7:30 p.m. Holiday concert at Sky Gate featuring Melveen Leed, Ballet Hawaii, PAC Kids and Company, Polynesian Cultural Center, Frank DeLima and Anuhea
» Street closures: King Street between Chinatown and downtown will be partially closed at 11 a.m. to prepare for the parade. At 3:30 p.m., curb lanes will close on North King Street between Beretania and River streets and Iwilei Road from Kuwili Street to King Street, and at 4:30 p.m. full street closures in the area will begin, with intermittent traffic flow following along the parade route.