Event organizers getting creative when it comes to setting up holiday events amid COVID-19


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Holidays in Hawaii are always a big event, but this year it will be a much different experience. From a drive-thru show to a virtual celebration, many event organizers have had to think outside of the box to bring the Christmas cheer after a long, challenging eight months under the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A tunnel of dazzling lights is one of the features of “Show Aloha Land” light show at Aloha Stadium.

The man who created it says after the Honolulu Christmas Lights and other community events were cancelled, he had to do something to bring the Christmas spirit.

“You know COVID has taken so much from us. And I just felt that I’m not going to let COVID take Christmas away from us,” said Michael Gangloff.

The show is a mile-long drive-thru with more than one million lights and 400 motifs, and there will also be a 50-foot tall Christmas tree to greet people at the end, but it is still being built.

Work began two weeks ago at the Aloha Stadium, and will be completed by Nov. 25. The show is scheduled to open on Nov. 27. For more information you can visit this website.  

“All I want to see is smiles on the kid’s face, that’s all I want to see,” said Gangloff.

“The way I designed it is, I went back to when I was 7-years-old looking at Papkolea, looking at the light show in the community areas… I just took myself back to try to recreate that.”

Michael Gangloff, Show Aloha Land Creator

He said all the sales will be going to his non-profit to start a program called “Aging in Place.” It is supposed to help fund the installation of hand rails and ramps to help senior mobility in their homes.

A few miles away there is another popular event, the Waikele Christmas Light Show. While there would usually be lights up in the neighborhood starting in November testing the lights, the streets remain undecorated this year.

“We made a decision to cancel. It was a tough decision, but we had to balance what’s good about the event and what’s good for the people of Hawaii,” said Keith Yoshida, Waikele Christmas Lights.

Yoshida said they are continuing the spirit of the event by taking it online. They are asking people from all over who have been to the lights to share their experiences with them on social media.

“Maybe everyone can help out and spread the joy of Christmas by sharing their videos and their photos and experience at Waikele lights from prior years, and that might be kind of interesting to see how it has evolved over the years to see, you know, how it’s changed.”

Keith Yoshida, Waikele Christmas Lights

While this year they will be putting up modest Christmas light decorations, Yoshida said in 2021, it will be bigger and better.

“We have more on more synchronized lights. We have a couple of bigger displays to showcase. The challenge is trying to figure out where, where can we put it,” said Yoshida.

To find out more on their event, you can visit the Waikele Christmas Lights Facebook page.

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