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  • 34th Annual Honolulu City Lights


Downtown Honolulu will soon be aglow as the 34th annual Honolulu City Lights goes bright on Saturday, December 1.

The eagerly anticipated event, presented each year by the City and County of Honolulu and the Friends of Honolulu City Lights, has become a beloved island tradition for thousands of residents and visitors, marking the start of the holiday season. The opening night festivities kick off a month-long celebration of dazzling lights and displays, family-friendly activities and merry fun on the Frank F. Fasi Civic Center Grounds.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell will lead the official tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. Then at 6:30 p.m., he will ceremoniously illuminate the city's 50-foot tree, triggering the lights and displays that adorn the city grounds.

One of the many highlights of the evening is the Public Workers' Electric Light Parade, which celebrates its 28th year as part of Honolulu City Lights. A dazzling procession of festooned city vehicles and school marching bands will travel from Chinatown through King Street, led by the parade's crowd-favorite mascot, the dancing "City Lights." Shannon Scott and Pashyn Santos will serve as parade hosts.

The opening night also includes a free, star-studded holiday concert near the Sky Gate, featuring multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner Nathan Aweau, ‘ukulele virtuoso Taimane, Aaron Night and the Kamehameha Elementary Schools Chorus.

The public is encouraged to come early to take advantage of the free parking that is available in the city's municipal lot, with entry from the left lane of Beretania Street just past Alapa‘i Street.

New this year is the Honolulu City Lights block party, featuring more than a dozen food booths located along the Diamond Head-side of Punchbowl Street. Keiki rides and novelty items will also be available for purchase on the grounds throughout the evening. The Friends of Honolulu City Lights will be selling the event's 2018 holiday T-shirt and Christmas ornaments. Sales of these collectible items go toward ensuring that Honolulu City Lights remains free to the public.

The opening night festivities, including the tree lighting ceremony, parade and concert, will be cablecast LIVE on Saturday, December 1, at 6 p.m. on ‘Ōlelo Channel 53. Rebroadcasts will be shown on the channel on the following dates and times:

  • Sunday, December 16 at 8 p.m.
  • Monday, December 17 at 4 p.m.
  • Monday, December 24 at 10:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 25 at 3:30 p.m.

Hawaiian Electric Company and the Friends of Honolulu City Lights will produce a one-hour parade special to air on Saturday, December 22, at 7 p.m. on KHON2, and on Sunday, December 23, at 6 p.m. on its sister station, Hawai‘i's CW (Spectrum Digital 93). The rebroadcast will be shown on Sunday, December 23, at 4 p.m. on KHON2, and on Tuesday, December 25, at 9 p.m. on CW.

The celebration continues throughout the month of December featuring several special events to delight island families. Honolulu City Lights will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and will run through January 1, 2019, including the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

Key event sponsors include First Hawaiian Bank, Macy's, Hawaiian Electric, ‘Ōlelo Community Media, DTL, Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, Cutter Ford/Chevrolet, Hawaiian Airlines, AARP Hawai‘i, Leonard's, 7-Eleven Hawai‘i and Summit Media.

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4 p.m. Keiki rides and souvenir booths open. More than a dozen food booths will open at the Honolulu City Lights block party, which will run until 10 p.m.

6 p.m. Mayor Kirk Caldwell's tree lighting ceremony begins on the steps of Honolulu Hale.

The Public Workers' Electric Light Parade departs ‘A‘ala Park and proceeds down King Street to Honolulu Hale.

6:30 p.m. Mayor Caldwell will light the city's holiday tree, simultaneously illuminating the Civic Center Grounds.

The Honolulu Hale Courtyard will be opened, unveiling the beautifully-decorated Christmas trees display, all created by city employees, and the public wreath contest exhibit featuring talented local artisans, presented in the Lane Gallery.

The Public Workers' Electric Light Parade will reach Honolulu Hale after traveling through Chinatown and downtown.

7:30 p.m. Holiday concert gets underway near the Sky Gate, sponsored by Summit Media.

Santa will visit with children in the Mission Memorial Auditorium until 9 p.m., with picture taking sponsored by Hawaiian Telcom.

All floats and decorated city vehicles will be parked between Honolulu Hale and Alapa‘i/South streets, allowing keiki and families to enjoy the floats up close and meet the city workers until 8:30 p.m.

11 p.m. Courtyard closes.


Wednesday, December 5

6 to 8 p.m. Toys for Tots Collection featuring the 501st Legion of Imperial Stormtroopers, near front steps of Honolulu Hale.

Saturday, December 15

7 to 9 p.m. 7-Eleven Hawai‘i Free Family Movie Night featuring "Despicable Me" on the Civic Center grounds.

Saturday, December 22

6 to 8 p.m. Hawaiian Values Snack Company's Free Milk and Cookies Night, near front steps of Honolulu Hale.

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