Honolulu City Lights opening night to kick off 2013 holiday season

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of island residents will join Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell Saturday to welcome the holiday season on Oahu with a tree lighting and electric light parade at the Honolulu Hale Civic Center.

"It's an honor to be a part of this annual holiday tradition," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. "The highlight for me each year is seeing our families and keiki come together and enjoy each other and the beauty of our island home at Honolulu City Lights."

Now in its 29th year, this event marks the beginning of a month-long celebration in Honolulu in which the entire civic block comes alive with glimmering lights and giant holiday characters created by city staff and volunteers.

The kickoff event, which is free to the public, will feature "The Ambassador of Aloha" Danny Kaleikini as the emcee and a performance of "Honolulu City Lights" by the Brothers Cazimero. Mayor Caldwell will also flick on the light switch for the city's 60-foot Norfolk Pine while simultaneously illuminating the entire downtown corridor.

The Public Workers Electric Light parade -- led by more than 50 seasonally decorated city vehicles including fire trucks and buses -- will also showcase 18 high school marching bands. Santa Claus will arrive with the procession and make his way to the Mission Memorial Auditorium to pose for pictures from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Other event activities include keiki rides, an Anime-themed Christmas tree exhibit, wreath contest and holiday concert at Sky Gate -- featuring Henry Kapono, Makua Rothman and other performers.

Although the ceremony starts at 6 p.m., the public is encouraged to arrive as early as 4:30 p.m. to avoid traffic around the area.

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