LIHU‘E — One of the Kaua‘i firefighters volunteering to string lights in the monkeypod trees said the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center inmates will be disappointed this year.
“This is one of the events they get to come and work on refurbishing the trees and creating new decorations for new themes,” the fireman said. “This year, we’re not doing anything inside the County Building. Everything is outside.”
Elizabeth Freeman, the Festival of Lights founder, confirmed that the Festival of Lights will be limited to outdoor viewing because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Yes. For 2020, the Festival of Lights will once again illuminate the Historic County Building park,” Freeman said. “We will make the park more dazzling than ever. We will not be putting the displays inside the Historic County Building this year, as there is no way to safely social distance.”
Instead, the displays will include four trees inside the building, to be viewed from the outside.
“Two will be at the bottom of the stairs, and two will go close to the front doors,” Freeman said. “These will look sparkly when seen from outside, and will make the interior of the County Building festive for those who are working inside.
Crews from the Kaua‘i Fire Department, Scott Otto from the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, Jason Visitacion from Spectrum, and Glenn Santos and Tovi Boiser from HawaiianTel utilized the Genies provided by Guy Higa of Service Rentals and Ken Reichert of Toolmaster in getting strings of lights from HouseMart/Ace Hardware into the tree boughs.
“We are adding snowfall/meteor lights to many more trees,” Freeman said. “And, we have gotten some other fun things just for the kids. This is our 24th year doing this. Can you imagine? Nearly a quarter of a century.”
Lunches for the volunteers have been provided by generous community groups like Mark’s Place caring for the teams on Monday. Duke’s made lunch on Tuesday, followed by the Kaua‘i Beer Company on Wednesday. Keoki’s Paradise feeds the Thursday crew, and Subway Sandwiches in Lihu‘e will take care of the Saturday lunches.
“According to Elizabeth, we will be helping her Saturday in bringing four trees to fluff up and decorate, starting at 10 a.m. near the fire department entrance of Pi‘ikoi Building,” said Janice Bond, president of the East Kaua‘i Lions Club. “This is all she plans to do this year to celebrate Christmas.”
Freeman said everything should be ready by the time the turkeys hit the ovens for Thanksgiving.
“This is new for 2020,” Freeman said. “We will turn on the lights early. We turn them on at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. That gives families a safe and dazzling destination to see the lights, which make everyone happy. The lights stay on until New Year’s Day.”