Festival prepares to pull switch

LIHUE — Recycling is not a new word, said Elizabeth Freeman. It was in use 50 years ago when Josie Chansky started her Christmas folk art displays.

Freeman, the organizer of the Festival of Lights, started work on preparing the displays for this year’s exhibit which opens Dec. 5 in the lobby of the historic County Building and runs through Christmas.

“To think that today is National Recycling Day, and watching the beauty of the work being done by these students, is an amazing feeling,” Freeman said. “2014 is a special milestone year for the Festival of Lights. Auntie Josie opened her home for 18 years, and since 1997, I have been art-directing and coordinating the Festival of Lights for 18 years with the help of some truly talented and wonderful volunteers.”

On Saturday, students from the Kauai High School Academy of Hospitality and Tourism spent their morning creating sea life for the special featured tree, Lure of the Sea, with decorations from recycled plastic and aluminum inspired by creatures found in oceans, tidepools and reefs.

“I’m running two things at once,” Freeman said. “On one side, we have the students creating new art, and on the other side, Manu Fonua and the volunteers from the Kauai Community Correctional Center Life Time Stance are refurbishing some of the trees for this year.”

Freeman said next Saturday, the students from Kapaa High School Interact Club will be coming in to work on decorations.

“This is my first time working with the Festival,” said Ashley Galiza, an AOHT student. “It’s actually fun getting to be creative.”

Work on installing the lights starts Monday when crews from the Kauai Fire Department, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Hawaiian Telcom and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative descend on the lawn of the historic County Building.

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