Among the parade standouts this year will be the Environmental Services unit decorated with handpainted characters from "A Shark's Tale" and "Finding Nemo," Parks and Recreation featuring a paddler navigating a 20-foot canoe in a sea of lights and palm trees and the Handi-Van transformed into an X?Box 360 with life-size characters from the popular video games.
Watch for the spectacular Santa float created by Parade Man Nelson Fujio. Island families and visitors are welcome to visit with the city employees who have decorated their work vehicles for an hour after the parade ends. King Street will be closed between Punchbowl and Alapai/South streets from 4:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Because there’s such a large crowd lining King Street, an 11-foot screen will be set up near the Honolulu Hale stage so families can sit and watch the parade live from that vantage point.
Others are welcome to come inside the Honolulu Hale Courtyard at 6:30 p.m. to see the decorated Christmas trees made by City employees. Talented and creative members of the community will showcase their holiday wreaths in the Lane Gallery.
Children should look for the new Christmas coloring book with a recycling theme under the Environmental Services tree, which is one of 22 in the courtyard.
Santa can be found in the Mission Memorial Auditorium adjacent to Honolulu Hale. For those children visiting with Santa between 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., Hawaiian Telcom will be there to take free photos to mark the occasion. After 9 p.m., parents should use their own cameras to take photos with Santa.
You won’t want to miss the 7:30 p.m. holiday concert presented by Tihati Productions on a stage near Sky Gate. This year’s line-up includes Melveen Leed, Frank DeLima, Anuhea, Ballet Hawaii, PAC Kids and Company, the Polynesian Cultural Center.
There will be food booths in the area selling everything from hamburgers and hot dogs to Greek and Thai food. The Friends of Honolulu City Lights will have a booth fronting King Street selling their signature ornaments. This year’s ornaments and a souvenir t-shirt celebrate Santa’s Underwater Adventure theme.
The key sponsors of the 2012 Honolulu City Lights celebration include: First Hawaiian Bank, Macy’s, Hawaiian Electric Company, Kraft Foods Hawaii, John H. Connors Insurance, Hawaiian Airlines, Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, Cox Media Group, Leonard’s Bakery, Polynesian Cultural Center, Papa John’s Pizza and Tihati Productions.
Although the opening ceremonies start at 6:00 p.m., families are encouraged to come early to avoid the expected heavy traffic. Parking is available in the Civic Center Parking Structure (enter off Beretania Street) and at various parking garages in the area. At 4:00 p.m., food booths and keiki rides will open. Look for a special pirate ride this year.