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Lights Fest Needs Lots Of Helpers

A Hawaiian Hale ornament. Ron Kosen photo

It’s always heartening to hear the personal stories behind the island’s modern traditions, especially from those who are passionate and excited about the end result. That’s the kind of energy that radiates when speaking with Festival of Lights coordinator and art directorElizabeth Freeman, this week’s cover story subject.

Freeman, who donated the majority of the event’s historical ornaments, for the past 15 years has helped make walking through the lights and into Kaua’i Historic County Building a chickenskin moment. Mahalo, Elizabeth, for your volunteerism. This year’s festival will continue with its crowd pleasers, including Christmas folk art, and a tree made of 7,500 green toothpicks by the late Auntie JosieChansky, and plenty of localized references, including the surfing Santa pulled by roosters instead of reindeer, and the SPAM can tree. The opening ceremony will feature music by the Chorale,with Mrs. Claus arriving in a 1912 carriage.

The Lighting Countdown will be from 6 to 6:30 p.m. this Friday followed by the Lights on Rice Parade. Free and open to the public, the Festival of Lights will remain open from 6 to 8 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 24. Freeman did ask me to thank, on her behalf, many of those who have con- tributed their time, money and energy to the festival over the years, and since Kaua’i Kine is where I usually laud that sort of thing, here goes: Kudos to Sally Kimura, Sue Dixon, Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. and Pat Griffen, the latter two of whom helped arrange docents for this year’s event. In addition, Duke’s Canoe Club, Keoki’s Paradise, Mark’s Place, Kaua’i Marriott Resort and Spa, Kaua’i Beach Resort, Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa, Subway Lihu’e and Kaua’i Pasta for donating meals to volunteers, Ibaan Table Rentals for donating the tables used in “Santa’s workshop” in the Piikoi Building, and volunteers from Lihu’e Fire Department, Hawaiian Telcom, Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative, Oceanic Cable, Toolmaster, Service Rentals, Ace Hardware, Kaua’i Chorale, E. T. Services (sound and light- ing), Kaua’i High Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, Kaua’i High Japanese Club, Kapa’a Middle School Choir, Kapa’a Interact Club, Mokihana Club, Delta Kappa Gamma Club, Lihu’e Business Association, Hanalei Canoe Club, Kilauea Senior Center, the Lifetime Stance Program at Kaua’i Community Correctional Facility and photographers Jim Shea, Tim DeLaVega and Ron Kosen, who have all con- tributed their work over many years …

The Cane Train display. Jim Shead photo

Finishing up those Thanksgiving leftovers will give you all the more calories to burn training for next year’s Sept. 2 Kaua’i Marathon, which currently is offering kama’aina and active mil- itary rates through Dec. 15 (The half-marathon entry is $40, full marathon entry is $60). Roughly 10 months away, one could theoretically complete the “from couch potato to marathon” training model and fare well.

In researching the amount of time the average person trains for their first marathon, I ran across some of the other hurdles people face to participate in marathons in places such as New York, which has a lottery system (it does guarantee entry for charities, however). So thank your lucky stars you live Kaua’i, where to run in the marathon all you have to do is register and run.

As in previous years, the event offers the four- person marathon relay, marathon and half- marathon distances, which are certified by USA Track & Field and Association (USATF) of International Marathoners and Distance Racers (AIMS). Go to thekauaimarathon.com for the entry form and mail to: The Kaua’i Marathon, PO Box 573, Koloa, HI 96756. All entries must be postmarked by Dec. 15, 2011 …

Brenda Jose of Waimea Project Grad wanted me to publicly laud her fellow Project Grad chairwomen, Darnelle Aquino and Cassie Camara, who serve Kaua’i High School and Kapa’a High School’s graduating seniors, respec- tively. Together with Renee Gaspar, Waimea Project Grad’s chairwoman for the Class of 2012, Aquino and Camara collaborate on ideas and resources to execute successful, safe events for local youths. Fundraising is a huge aspect of the event’s suc- cess. While the cost per student is $150-$200, they only pay $25 out-of-pocket thanks to those efforts. For a donor letter for the Waimea effort, email waimeapg2011@gmail.co m …

The Kaua‘i Marathon takes runners through iconic scenery. Robin Jumper photo

Author Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi will sign copies of her The Hawaii Book of Rice: Tales, Trivia and 101 Great Recipes Nov. 30, 4 to 6 p.m., at The Shops at Kukuiula. Her previous work was The Hawaii Beer Book

A new book by Kaua’i resident Joann Lordahl,

Princess Ruth: Love & Tragedy, can be purchased online at joannlordahl.com. Self-published, Lordahl’s most recent novel focuses on high chiefess Ruth Ke’elikolani and is about renewed love on Kaua’i. Spanning several themes, the book includes a chronology of Hawaiian lineage, including Princess Ruth. Cost is $17.95 …

Kaua’i Planning & Action Alliance will meet from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Dec. 1 at Kaua’i Community College, OCET Building, Room 106. CEO Diane Zachary says the recent edition of Measuring What Matters for Kaua’i – Community Indicators Report by Kaua’i Planning & Action Alliance, will be discussed, looking at the island’s quality of life and sustainability through 50 indicators. Department of Education Complex Area superintendent Bill Arakaki will give an overview of an initiative titled, “Cradle to Career.” Free to the public, regis- tration is appreciated: Go to https://www.kauainet- work.org/event-registration/ or call 632-2005 …

I’d be remiss not to mention recently spotting Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Levin in Hanalei, enjoying a little respite on the island’s North Shore and boasting a pleasantly big tummy bump (not him, her). Downey will be heading around the world to pro- mote his latest movie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows