Volunteers take down Festival of Lights decorations

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A worker aboard the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative truck unwraps wiring from around one of the palm trees Friday at the Historic County Building on Rice Street in Lihu‘e.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Tevita “Manu” Fonua undoes wiring from the Festival of Lights display on the front lanai of the Historic County Building on Rice Street in Lihu‘e Friday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kesomi Fonua helps bring down the star Friday with the help of a volunteer crew aboard the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative truck at the Historic County Building on Rice Street in Lihu‘e.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative lineman unwraps strands of lights from a palm tree Friday as the Festival of Lights wraps up its 2020 presentation.

What goes up must come down, said Elizabeth Freeman, founder of the Festival of Lights Friday at the Historic County Building.

Volunteer workers from the Kaua‘i Fire Department, HawaiianTelcom, Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative and more were involved in dismantling this year’s Festival of Lights displays that graced the front of the Historic County Building and overflowed onto the lawn fronting Rice Street.

“This year, record numbers of people made walking in the Historic County Building park a safe destination during the holidays,” Freeman said. “As always, the lights brightened up the season and made the community happy.”

Safety and health guidelines and rules severely curtailed the Festival of Lights, limiting the displays to the front lanai of the Historic County Building, and displays spread out over the building lawn.

The elaborate indoor folk-art displays, most created by the late Josie Chansky, and the themed folk art using recycled materials created by high-school students directed by Freeman were absent, and the visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus were limited to the Santa Bubble created atop the stairs leading to the Historic County Building.

“We could do face-mask removal,” said Freeman who served as the “photo elf.” “When the keiki turned around for photos, they were more than the six feet social distance, and I was back beyond the six-feet separation. It was a novel solution. Santa didn’t even get wet when the rains came.”

The lights were turned on at sunset from Thanksgiving and religiously burned through New Year’s night, having a turn in the morning hours to greet motorists arriving to work in Lihu‘e.

“We are indebted to all the businesses and individuals that make the Festival of Lights possible each year,” Freeman said.

“We truly could not do this without their help and support, and there are the countless numbers of families who were able to have a brighter holidays and relief from the worries of the pandemic.”

Some of those sponsors include Timbers Resort and PepsiCo, that provided lunches for all of the volunteers Friday, along with Guy Higa and Service Rentals &Supplies for the use of the Genies that were used to install and take down the lighting, and Ken Reichert of Toolmaster for the use of a flatbed truck used to transport the displays to and from storage.

Freeman said the lights and decorations will be placed back in storage until November, when everything gets unpacked and readied for the 2021 Festival of Lights.

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Dennis Fujimoto, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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