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Friday, November 17, 2017
Contact: Edward Oi, 768-3499

“It’s a Zoo Out There”: Honolulu City Lights returns for 33rd year of holiday cheer

Honolulu – Lions and zebras and giraffes, oh my! Downtown Honolulu will soon be aglow as the 33rd annual Honolulu City Lights goes bright on Saturday, December 2, 2017, featuring the theme, “It’s a Zoo Out There.”

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.

This year’s opening night festivities will feature the unveiling of 56 new animal-themed ornaments adorning the city’s 50-foot holiday tree. The original designs were inspired by the whimsical look of the official 2017 Friends of Honolulu City Lights ornaments, which celebrate the Honolulu Zoo. Inside Honolulu Hale, the holidays get wild as flora and fauna trimmings take center stage in the courtyard, city trees, and community wreath exhibits.

The Honolulu City Lights opening night festivities kick off a monthlong 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., featuring Kathy Muneno as emcee. Polynesian Voyaging Society president and master navigator Nainoa Thompson will ceremoniously illuminate the holiday tree at 6:30 p.m., triggering the corridor of lights and displays down King and Punchbowl streets.

One of the many highlights of the evening is the Public Workers’ Electric Light Parade, which celebrates its 27th 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 Mele Apana will serve as parade hosts.

The opening night also includes a free, star-studded holiday concert near the Sky Gate, featuring 2017 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Male Vocalist of the Year Josh Tatofi and musical entertainment by the Kamehameha Elementary Schools Chorus, Kūpaoa and Mark Yamanaka, and Mailani Makainai.

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.

Food, beverages, and other novelty items will be sold on the grounds throughout the evening. The Friends of Honolulu City Lights will be selling the event’s 2017 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 2, at 6 p.m. on ‘Ōlelo Channel 49. Rebroadcasts will be shown on ‘Ōlelo Channel 53 on the following dates and times:
Wednesday, December 13 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 17 8 a.m.
Sunday, December 24 1:30 p.m.
Monday, December 25 1:30 p.m.
Hawaiian Electric Companies and the Friends of Honolulu City Lights will produce a one-hour parade special to air on Sunday, December 17, at 4 p.m. on KHON2, and at 7 p.m. on its sister station, Hawaii’s CW (Spectrum Digital 93). The rebroadcast will be shown on Saturday, December 23, at 9 p.m. on KHON2, and on Sunday, December 24, at 7 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, 2018, including the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Key event sponsors include First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaiian Electric Companies, Macy’s, DTL, Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, and Cutter Chevrolet-Ford.

For more information, visit

4 p.m.

Food booths and keiki rides open.

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.

Polynesian Voyaging Society president and master navigator Nainoa Thompson will light the city's holiday tree, simultaneously illuminating the downtown Honolulu corridor.

                                                                                                                            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.


Thursday, December 7

6 to 8 p.m.

Toys for Tots Collection featuring the 501st Legion of Imperial Stormtroopers, near front steps of Honolulu Hale.

Friday, December 8

6 to 8 p.m.

DTL Free Photo with Santa Night, Honolulu Hale Courtyard.

Saturday, December 16

7 to 9 p.m.

7-Eleven Hawai'i Free Family Movie Night featuring "Moana," on the Civic Center grounds.

Sunday, December 17

5 to 6 p.m.

Performance by Hālau Hula O Kapunahala O Nu'uanu YMCA, near front steps of Honolulu Hale.

Friday, December 22

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Hawaiian Values Snack Company's Free Milk and Cookies Night, near front steps of Honolulu Hale.

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