Light displays serious business in Kalaheo

KALAHEO — When the wind blows, usually bone-chillingly cold, the snowman likes to lie down.

So does Santa, and the globe with the elf takes on a proportion other than its globular, spherical form.

Last week, Gwen and Larry Carveiro felt the winds were strong enough to keep them from turning on the lights at their home on Onohi Lane in Kalaheo.

“The wind was so strong last week, we decided to play safe and keep the lights off,” Gwen Carveiro said while making their way to see their grandson play soccer.

The Carveiros are one of the dozen or so households on their cul-de-sac that spends several weeks preparing for the annual holiday season illuminated displays that brighten the dark Kalaheo sky.

Starting around 6 p.m., the Carveiros flick the switch on their holiday lighted displays, to which his neighbors do in kind.

Last night was the first of many, the Carveiros said, that Santa will be on hand nightly from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Christmas Eve.

“Bring your camera,” Gwen Carveiro said. “There will be lots to take pictures of.”

Santa greets people who make their way to the colorful cul-de-sac and aside from the community talk-story, there is always something to nibble on.

Across the road, Juan Lorenzo went so far as to create a “Santa’s Alley” flier, complete with a GPS location so people who miss the 30-foot illuminated star can precisely home in on this year’s railroad theme.

A large illuminated train anchors the main wall of his house, and spiced with illuminated figurines and characters of the season, the railway theme is carried throughout his yard, anchored by an operational train set.

“It has to be really level for it to run properly,” Lorenzo said, pointing out the various shims and leveling devices used to keep the train set on level ground.

Larry Carveiro said this year’s display features the Twin Towers, two lines of light, one red, one green, that spike upwards in the dark to welcome people to Onohi Lane.

The Carveiros started planning their display the day after Christmas last year when they visit many of the stores to shop for closeouts.

Several of this year’s additions came from The Home Depot after Christmas, Gwen said. Other pieces joined the array from Kmart and Wal-Mart, she said.

Normally, the couple start work on the displays from early November, and by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, most of the displays are in place, waiting for the night when the switch is thrown to brighten the Kalaheo sky.

This year, that date was Dec. 2, and holiday light viewers, despite the distraction of the Oregon State versus University of Hawai‘i football game on live television, were treated to home-made bread from Gwen’s ovens.

Taking a break for the game, and one night when gusty winds kept the displays dark, Oniha Lane is open for viewing from the time the sun sets.

Traveling West from Lihu‘e, turn right at the stoplight immediately past Steve’s Mini Mart in Kalaheo and look for the star — it’ll guide you the rest of the way.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or


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