Honolulu City Lights, parade planned

The switch is about to be flipped for the annual Honolulu City Lights program.

Today’s “Tree Topping” at Honolulu Hale sets the stage for tomorrow, which will bring the Honolulu City Lights Electric Light Parade and the Opening Night Gala, which will feature tons of live entertainment and food.

Saturday’s festivities begin at 3 p.m., with dozens of food booths from local restaurants and live music on the Municipal Building lawn. Then at 6 p.m., Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris will light the city’s 60-foot Christmas tree, which towers over Mr. and Mrs. Claus fronting Honolulu Hale.

The Electric Light Parade will follow, traveling for the first time through historic Chinatown as it makes its way to the party. City parade coordinator Eddie Oi said this year’s procession is the largest ever since the parade tradition began in 1990.

Parade participants include the city’s Emergency Medical Services Department, the Honolulu Police Department, the Fire Department, lead sponsor Hawaiian Electric Company, Celtic Pipe and Drum, the Royal Hawaiian Band, and school bands from Aiea High, Baldwin High, Castle High, Dole Middle, Farrington High, Holy Family Academy, Iolani High, Kahuku High, Leilehua High, Nanakuli High, Waianae High and Waipahu High round out the 63-unit parade.

Entertainers on tap include Native Blend, Sani (of Ho`onua), Keahiwai, The Honolulu Boy Choir, Jennifer Perri, Dita Holifield, `Ale`a, Foete, Jake Shimabukuro, Sistah Robi and Fiji.

Organizers are quick to warn residents to plan in advance for the heavy traffic congestion in the area. The re-routed parade will also mean closed streets through parts of downtown.

Today, Harris presented Certificates of Merit to two outstanding citizens, Dr. Joe Young of Friends of Chinatown, and Chris Nakashima-Heise, of the Downtown Business Improvement District, for their work in expanding the participation of Honolulu City Lights to include Chinatown merchants and businesses. He also dedicated Honolulu Police Department’s new, state-of-the-art mobile Emergency Command Vehicle.

Honolulu City Lights opening night festivities will be shown Live on Olelo Channel 56 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The Electric Light Parade and highlights of the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Tom Moffatt Concert will be rebroadcast on Sunday, December 15 from 4 to 5 p.m. on KHON Channel 2. And Olelo will rebroadcast the Opening Night festivities (tree lighting, parade and concert) on Christmas Day, December 25, at these times: Channel 52, 9 a.m.; Channel 55, noon; and Channel 56, 6:30 p.m.

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