Kauai Festival of Lights

4396 Rice Street
Lihue, HI 96766

I’m an artist and designer and a resident of Kauai. I founded the Festival of Lights in 1997 and have art-directed and produced the event with a small army of volunteers ever since.

Auntie Josie loved the Festival of Lights!

cropped-auntiejosie-santa-1800.jpgUntil her death in 2009 Auntie Josie was there every evening we were open greeting old friends and making new ones.

Kaua'i Festival of Lights - Aunt JosieWanting Josie’s contribution to the community to be recognized , in 2006 of arranged for her to be honored with a Certificate from the State Legislature and a Proclamation from the County of Kauai.

But Auntie Josie’s decorations only filled a quarter of the space inside the Historic County Building…

Kauai Festival of Lights imageIn the earliest years my goal was to design a way to showcase Auntie Jose’s fragile decorations…some over 50 years old! However, recognizing that they only filled a small portions of the 2 story interior space, I began to imagine how I could transform the both the interior and exterior environments and create a world of magical beauty for children and families. I began by designing displays and feature trees with the theme “Santa’s Gone Kauaiian”. I had to look at the space with fresh eyes finding nooks and crannies turning them into featured destinations…like the nondescript areas on either side of the stairway which became “Santa’s Cane Train Village” on one side and “Surfin’ Santa” on the other.

With the help of the talented Teens from Kauai High and Kapa’a High, dedicated Artisans and the support of volunteers from the Kauai Community Correctional Center my vision has become a reality.

As well, I made sure that The Park in front of the Historic County Building was filled with dazzling lights. And thanks to the Kauai Fire Department, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Hawaiian Telcom and Kauai Island Utility Company, Service Rentals, and Toolmaster the Park becomes a magical destination each December!!!!

The Architecture of Light and Aloha

I call my Vision for the Festival of Lights “The Architecture of Light and Aloha.” Trained in art and design, my passion is working with light and space both big and small from the entire two story interior to the tiniest detail on a tree. I see my art as creating a transformative experience for those who step with the cocoon of magical light.
Kaua'i Festival of LIghts image
Elizabeth Freeman and Tevita “Manu” Fonua, Park and Interior Lights Coordinator.  Manu has worked closely with Elizabeth since 1997.

Freeman’s Festival of Lights has become an award-winning Kauai Tradition!

Although my work has been shown through the Smithsonian and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, it is my annual installation at Kauai’s Historic County Building of which I am most proud. As founder and art director of the Festival of Lights I have 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 my own.

Images provided by AmericanTowns.com, Ticketmaster
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