LIHU‘E — The Lights on Rice Parade will be virtual this year on Friday, Dec. 4, and businesses on Rice Street will participate allowing Kaua‘i ‘ohana to view the lights safely by driving or walking through downtown Lihu‘e.
When Dr. Addison Bulosan, president of Rice Street Business Association (RSBA), heard the parade was canceled this year, he reached out to the original creator of the parade, the Rotary Club of Kaua‘i and partnered with the County of Kaua‘i to save Lights on Rice Parade by making it virtual.
They’re calling the efforts “Operation Save The Holidays.”
“They canceled the event, and I reached out to them to brainstorm ways to save the parade,” Bulosan said. “They didn’t have the manpower, so I offered our manpower.”
This parade style was inspired by two ideas Bulosan and the county had earlier this year.
“Months ago, RSBA had to cancel our annual Rice Street Block Party, and Diana Singh from the county suggested an idea of a ‘reverse parade’ in place of it,” Bulosan said. Instead of paraders lining the streets, the businesses would be decorated in celebration.
With the help of the county and sponsors, Christmas lights have been provided for all the businesses on Rice Street, from Bank of Hawai‘i to Ace Hardware. Each business was offered help to light up at no cost.
“We wanted to make sure that every business on Rice Street could participate and not feel pressured to pay for decorations,” Bulosan said. “We got a lot of donors, so it’s a win-win, supporting our community and uplifting everyone’s holiday spirits.”
Businesses on Rice Street will also light up inside for families to view by driving their vehicles down Rice Street or by taking a stroll on the walking paths. Bulosan said no one will be walking in a parade due to safety precautions.
Singh, the county’s business innovation coordinator, explains the importance of enjoying the holidays safely.
“The holidays are approaching, yet it is important to keep our community safe by minimizing gatherings and practicing social distancing,” Singh said. “That means some of our traditions and celebrations will look different this year, but there are still many ways we can enjoy the season.”
She continued: “Thanks to the Rice Street Business Association and their ‘Operation Save the Holidays’ efforts, there are some exciting upcoming events that the community can look forward to.”
Starting this Sunday, Nov. 29, RSBA is also hosting a drive-in Holiday Movie Marathon at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall. The first movie will be “Elf,” then, on Dec. 6 “Christmas Story,” then “Polar Express” on Dec. 19, and finally on Dec. 20, “The Grinch”. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the movies start at 6:30 p.m.
“There are no links to register for the movies,” Bulosan said. “It’s a first-come, first-serve and is free to the public. All they need to do is make a donation to the Hawaiʻi Food Bank Kaua‘i branch when they get to the Convention Hall.”
Bulosan encourages the public to follow RSBA’s Facebook and Instagram @downtownlihue for details on the “Lights on Rice Parade,” virtual time on Dec. 4, and upcoming events.
Sponsoring both events are Kaua’i Visitors Bureau, KIUC (Kauai Island Utility Cooperative), Corteva, Rotary club of Kaua’i, Electricians Inc, County of Kaua’i, the Specific Chiropractic Centers, and individual donors.
Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.