Friday’s Lights on Rice parade, Christmas craft fair start holiday season in style

LIHUE — Lights are supposed to be kept to a minimum due to the endangered seabird fledging season, said Eileen Winters of the Rotary Club of Kauai and co-chair for the Lights on Rice holiday parade.

“But the parade has an exception,” Winters said Tuesday during a meeting of parade participants. “The fledging season runs through Dec. 15, but the parade will take place Dec. 2 starting at 6:30 p.m.”

Special traffic advisories will be in effect Friday, including the closure of Rice Street from Kapule Highway through Haleko Road. All of the feeder roads into Rice Street along this section will be closed to entry into Rice Street and motorists are asked to make alternative plans from 6 p.m. until the end of the parade, or about 8:30 p.m.

Registration for this year’s parade is closed with more than 60 units already signed up and ready to go, with representation from the North Shore to the Westside.

One group started small, Winters said. “We had a lady who desperately wanted to be in the parade. It started out with just a handful, and it’s grown to about two dozen or more people. They will be playing trash cans — The North Shore Trashcan Drill Team.”

The Lights on Rice holiday parade is the highlight of a trio of annual events — the Kauai Museum annual Christmas Craft Fair, which runs from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and the official turning-on ceremony for the 20th annual Festival of Lights display at the historic County Building.

So get ready to expect a lot of people in Lihue on Friday, Winters said.

“Last year, we had 3,000 people as participants,” Winters said. “This year, we’re expecting visits from some international people, and groups have grown. We definitely will have more than 3,000 people, and that is not counting the spectators along the parade route.”

To alleviate potential traffic problems, the Kukui Grove Center is offering a free shuttle service from the mall to Rice Street from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Friday.

The shuttle leaves from the bus stop area near First Hawaiian Bank with drop-off at the First Hawaiian Bank, Lihue Branch. Return service from Rice Street back to Kukui Grove Center will be from 8 to 8:45 p.m.

At 9 p.m., Kukui Grove will unveil its 2016 Holiday Light Show fronting Starbucks Coffee.

Stacie Chiba-Miguel, the Kukui Grove assistant manager, said the palm tree avenue leading to Long’s Drugs will be closed to vehicular traffic for the event, and motorists are able to use the other entrances to the mall.

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