Ed Kawamura Sr. is the grand marshal of the annual Lights on Rice holiday parade when the caravan starts moving at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
“This is the first time the parade will have a grand marshal,” said Eileen Winters of the Rotary Club of Kauai, the parade’s host. “In more than 20 years, the parade has never had a grand marshal. This year, Ed Kawamura becomes the first grand marshal for the parade.”
Kawamura is no stranger to the festive light parade that will feature more than 60 units — no, the Kauai Classic Cars count as one unit, not the number of cars — and more than 3,000 people participating in the parade that will light up Lihue with the spirit of the season.
Winters said the only requirement is the people need to be lit — brilliantly lit! “Everyone wants to be in the parade,” Winters said. “We’ve cut off the deadline and people are still calling.”
The Lights on Rice parade is just one of three things that night that fuel the holiday spirit in Lihue.
“People start setting out chairs from Thursday night,” said Lyah Kama-Drake, Kauai Museum education outreach director. “By Friday morning, there are chairs everywhere, and the yellow caution tape, too, that saves space.”
The Kauai Museum hosts its annual Christmas craft fair from 9:30 a.m., and at the Historic County Building the Festival of Lights will be in full swing.
“The craft fair is perfect for shopping for the holidays with its variety of crafters and items in the gift shop,” Kama-Drake said. “And, we will also have food trucks to keep people fed throughout the day. The event is a good place to find something to do after getting your parking space and wait for the parade to start.”
To help people with parking, Kukui Grove Center will be running a shuttle bus to First Hawaiian Bank’s Rice Street branch and back to the bus stop fronting the First Hawaiian Bank Kukui Grove branch. The service is free and will operate through the parade.
The Kauai Chorale will offer holiday caroling outside the Historic County Building, leading to the countdown with Santa and Mrs. Claus for the lights on the lawn of the Historic County Building to ignite, triggering the parade’s start.