Welcome to a Kauai-Style Holiday Wonderland Inside the Historic County Building. Free!
From the 1st Friday in December through the New Year the Lights in the Historic County Building Park glow every night. The Festival of Lights “Kauai-style” interior display is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 6-8 PM through Christmas Eve with Santa and Mrs. Claus with a final evening the last weekend in December.
The Festival of Lights is sponsored by the County of Kauai, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, HouseMart Ace Hardware and Crafts and The Friends of the Festival of Lights.
It is truly a reflection of Kauai’s Aloha Spirit.
First, a bit of history…
For 18 years Auntie Josie Chansky turned her Kapa’a home into a Holiday Wonderland. What made her house so special was that Josie knew how to turn “trash into treasure”, creating her glorious Folk Art out of what most people throw away…toothpicks, styrofoam cups, flash cubes, bottle caps, egg cartons and more. Lovingly known as “The Christmas House”, it became a Holiday tradition for generations of families.
Joe Chansky died in 1996. In grief from her husband’s passing, Auntie Josie did not have the spirit to continue putting up her display. She planned to sell all her creations at a garage sale…
The Torch is passed…
Elizabeth Freeman had visited the Christmas House many times with her young son. She was saddened that Kauai might lose such a special tradition. Freeman went to the sale. Spending $3,000 she bought everything she could.
She next called former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka to donate Auntie Josie’s decorations to the County. Knowing that Freeman was an artist and designer the Mayor asked, “If we find a special building, will you put them up?” Kauai’s Historic County Building was chosen.
Freeman founded the event in 1997 christening it “THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS”. She has art-directed it and produced the event ever since.
Kaua’i’s Festival of Lights has become an award-winning Kauai Tradition!
Although Freeman’s work has been shown through the Smithsonian and the Museum of Art and Design in New York, it is her annual installation at Kauai’s Historic County Building of which she is most proud. As founder and art director of the Festival of Lights she has showcased Auntie Josie’s wonderful Folk Art as well as designed and overseen the creation of remarkable “Kauai-style” displays and decorations crafted with the help of volunteers to fashion a Holiday Tradition for Kauai uniquely her own.
“The highlight of our Kauai experience. Thank you!”