Friday, December 3, 2004



Honolulu ready
to flip switch

Santa arrives with a burst of light as the City and County of Honolulu prepares to flip the switch on Honolulu City Lights, the annual event which sees Downtown Honolulu lit up from Richards to South streets.

The theme this year, "20 Years of Sparkle," is reflected in the design of the city's 65-foot Norfolk Pine, decked with 130 jingle bells and 400 musical ornaments. Nicknamed the "Mele Tree," it will "play" Christmas music to put everyone in the holiday mood. The tree was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Weller of Kailua.

Honolulu City Lights

Opening night schedule:
3 p.m.: Food booths open
5 p.m.: Kawaihao Church Service
6 p.m.: Tree lighting ceremony begins and parade starts at River Street, rolling down King Street to Honolulu Hale
7:30 p.m.: Christmas trees and wreaths display opens in the Honolulu Hale courtyard; Santa will be available to hear children's wishes; holiday concert at Sky Gate will feature Jordan Segundo, Henry Kapono, the Liberty Bells, Maila Gibson and All-4-One.

When: The celebration continues nightly through Jan. 2.

Call: 527-5666

Admission: Free; all are encouraged to bring a wrapped toy to the Marine Corps Reserves' "Toys for Tots" donation box which is part of Santa's new sleigh. The toy drive continues through Dec. 17.

If you miss it: HCL opening festivities will be cablecast live starting at 6 p.m. Saturday on Olelo Channel 54. Highlights will be rebroadcast on the station at 8:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, 8 p.m. Christmas Day on Channel 56; 8:30 p.m. Dec. 26 on Channel 53; and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 27 on Channel 54.

Honolulu City Lights begins with the Public Workers Electric Light Parade on King Street, which starts at 6 p.m. at River Street, and arrives at Honolulu Hale at about 6:30 p.m., when all of Downtown simultaneously "lights up."

Among the parade units will be several fire vehicles, a refuse collection truck, an ambulance, the new E-Transit bus, the zoo train, a dump truck and other service vehicles, dressed up for the holidays, of course.

The 63-unit parade includes marching bands from Aiea, Baldwin, Castle, Farrington, Iolani, Kahuku, Kailua, Leilehua, Nanakuli and Waianae high schools, joined by the Royal Hawaiian Band, Holy Family Academy and the Dole Middle School Band.

More than 35 floats will participate in the parade. The Hawaiian Electric Co. float is expected to be spectacular. Santa, riding in a float sponsored by Cutter Chevrolet and Cox Radio Hawaii, will arrive at Sky Gate at about 7:30 p.m. to hear children's Christmas wishes until 9 p.m. Fuji Film Hawaii volunteers will be at the Santa stage to take free photos of children visiting with Santa.

Stay for the annual Tom Moffatt holiday concert at Sky Gate, at 7:30 p.m. The two-hour concert will feature The Liberty Bells, Jordan Segundo, Maila Gibson, Henry Kapono and All-4-One. The Grammy award-winning pop quartet has been producing hits since 1994, including "I Swear," "Beautiful As U," "I Just Wanna Be Your Everything" and "I Can Love You Like That."

Food and beverages, Fuji disposable cameras, commemorative ornaments and event T-shirts will also be sold on the grounds throughout the evening.

What about the parking?

Street closures due to Saturday night's parade may affect traffic in the Chinatown and Downtown areas. It is suggested that motorists bound for Honolulu City Lights arrive well before 5 p.m. Traffic controls will be in place to allow access to parking at Marks Garage, Macy's and the Chinatown Gateway parking lots from Beretania Street for those attending the Jim Nabors' Christmas Concert at Hawaii Theatre or having dinner in the area. Parking is also available in the Smith Beretania Park parking garage.

Bus stops on King Street will be temporary relocated to Hotel Street. Signs at TheBus stops will give relocation information.

At 5:45 p.m., makai-bound traffic on Maunakea Street and Nuuanu Avenue from Beretania Street will be detoured eastbound on to Pauahi Street. Bethel Street will be open for two-way traffic between Pauahi and the Macy's parking lot. If needed, there will be a break in the parade and traffic will be allowed to go makai on Nuuanu Avenue to Nimitz Highway. Smith Street will be closed makai of Pauahi Street. Bishop Street will become two-way between Beretania Street and the Executive Center parking lot.

Street closures

» 11 a.m.: King Street, mauka lane closest to Honolulu Hale -- Coning of the affected lane will be in effect for setting up tree.

» 1:30 p.m.: Barricades will be placed on both sides of King Street from Richards to Punchbowl streets.

» 3 p.m.: Barricades will be placed on both sides of King Street from Punchbowl to South streets.

» 3:30 p.m.: Curb lanes on North King Street between Beretania and River Streets, and Iwilei Road from Kuwili Street to King Street will be closed for parade vehicle staging.

» 4:30 p.m.: Punchbowl Street closed between Beretania and King streets. Traffic will be detoured to Beretania.

» 5:00 p.m.: North King Street closed from Liliha to River streets. Eastbound traffic on King Street detoured to Liliha Street and Dillingham Boulevard. City buses will be detoured to Beretania Street and onto Hotel Street.

» 5:05 p.m.: King Street between Punchbowl and Alapai/South streets closed.

» 5:45 p.m.: Richards, Alakea and River streets mauka of King street along the parade route will begin to be closed at Beretania Street. Bishop will be two-way between Beretania and the Executive Center parking lot driveway.

» Makai-bound traffic on Maunakea will be detoured to Pauahi Street.

» Makai-bound traffic on Nuuanu Avenue will be detoured on to Pauahi Street.

» Bethel Street will become two-way between Pauahi Street and Macy's parking lot entrance.

» Pauahi Street will be closed west of Maunakea Street and east of Bethel Street.

» Kekaulike, Maunakea, Smith and Nuuanu streets makai of King Street will be closed at Nimitz Highway. Bethel will be closed at Merchant. Alakea and Mililani streets will be closed at Queen Street.

» 6 p.m.: King Street from River to Alapai/South streets, closed progressively and will reopen progressively after the parade. Except for King Street from Punchbowl to Alapai/South streets which will remain closed until 9 p.m.

» Note: HPD will allow intermittent traffic flow at Alakea (heading mauka) and King and Nuuanu (heading makai) and King once the parade starts. This procedure was put into effect in 2003 after all Downtown and Chinatown Streets were frozen in 2002, resulting in a massive traffic jam.

Parking prohibitions

NO parking (cars will be towed) from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday from:

» Beretania: River to N. King streets

» River: N. Beretania to Hotel streets

» No parking (cars will be towed) after 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday on the following streets:

» Punchbowl: Beretania to King streets, and King to Queen, Ewa side.

» King: River to South streets, and Kawaiahao to South, makai side

» Kawaihao: Four parking meters closest to King Street.

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