Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele have taken their place in front of Honolulu Hale.
Shaka Santa has been a staple of Honolulu City Lights since 1989. Tutu Mele joined him in 1994.
“Mele’s all decked out for the holidays this year. She’s got on her floral muumuu, her kukui nut lei, her Hawaiian jewelry, and her hibiscus in her hair,” said Sheri Kajiwara, director of the city Department of Customer Services. As for Shaka Santa, “you have to remember now his boots sit next to him, so he carries them but he doesn’t always wear them.”
City crews trucked over the 21-foot figures, along with other large holiday displays, from a storage facility in Pearl City. They traveled with a police escort.
“We’ve got to be really careful to tie them down, strap them down well, because one year, Snowman’s head fell off the trailer and went rolling down the highway,” Kajiwara said. “It was probably a little horrific to a lot of kids, but we put up with some of those things. It’s all part of the process.”
City crews will continue to install festive displays on the Frank F. Fasi Civic Grounds through Thursday, Nov. 30.
The 33rd annual Honolulu City Lights opens Saturday, Dec. 2. This year’s theme is a tribute to Honolulu Zoo.
“If you look at the tree this year, it’s going to focus on the Honolulu Zoo, and the city’s ornament, which we sell, which is our main fundraiser to keep the light shining, is the Honolulu Zoo,” said Kajiwara. “So Santa visits the zoo this year, and yes, we want to bring out all of our animals to pay tribute to the animals of Hawaii.”
Also Tuesday, crews cut down a pine tree that will be installed later this week for the Kapolei City Lights festivities.
The 80-foot pine tree was harvested from a future park site at Aloha Drive and Royal Hawaiian Avenue.
The tree will be installed at Kapolei Hale on Thursday, Nov. 30, at the mauka-side lawn along Uluohia Street.
City crews will adorn the tree in lights and festive decorations over the next couple of weeks to get ready for the annual Kapolei City Lights Celebration, which opens Saturday, Dec. 9.