Christmas stop at Nawiliwili a holiday reminder

NAWILIWILI — Kaua‘i’s holiday elves made a brief appearance in the hot Nawiliwili sun, Wednesday.

The elves were joined by Aunty Josie Chansky and Elizabeth Freeman, Festival of Lights board member, as they escaped the outside heat to enjoy the air conditioned offices of the Young Brothers Nawiliwili Port where the group accepted a grant from the Young Brothers Community Advisory Board for $1,000 for its community outreach and education program.

According to a press release from the Festival of Lights, work for the holiday lighting display at the historic County Building is a year-round job.

Students from the Kaua‘i High School Academy of Hospitality and Tourism embrace the “Santa’s Gone Kauaian” theme and, with the help of the YB CAB grant, get materials for the project which, this year, celebrates its 12th year in Lihu‘e.

“This is the heart of the Festival of Lights’ ‘Community Outreach and Education’ program,” said Freeman in the release.

The Kaua‘i High School AOHT students are joined by other student volunteers from the Kapa‘a High School Interact Club, the Kaua‘i High School Japanese Club, the Hanalei Canoe Club and many local artisans in putting together the luminary display which stays on for the public to enjoy through the holiday season.

Participants from the Lifetime Stand at the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center also lend their talent with constructing, crafting and setting lights to the new displays, the release states.

“We often have upwards of 75 volunteers working on the sparkling creations that grace the interior of the historic County Buiding each year,” Freeman said. “The gorgeous results of this creative collaboration can be seen starting Dec. 5.”

Joining the lighting ceremony which kicks off the display, the Kaua‘i Museum hosts its day-long Christmas craft fair featuring local entertainment and food as well as a wide variety of gift ideas from a juried vendor listing. The highlight of the evening is the Lights on Rice holiday parade which follows the lighting ceremony.

At the heart of the Festival of Lights, Chansky’s quiet demeanor radiates when she sees the appreciation that viewers get from viewing the displays.

A longtime tradition of driving through neighborhoods to view light displays set up by residents had people streaming through the Chansky residence on Kawaihau Road each year.

Her talent of turning trash into treasure utilizing items such as soda cans, bottle caps, egg cartons and styrofoam cups into amazing displays centers around the Christmas holiday.

The Chansky display remains the centerpiece of the holiday lighting display and is now joined by the Santa Gone Kauaian themed pieces.

In addition to the YB CAB grant, the Festival of Lights is sponsored by the County of Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and the Friends of the Festival of Lights.

For more information, call Freeman at 828-0014.

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