LIHU‘E — There were fewer visitors this year, but that was a boon for local shoppers at the holiday extravaganza Friday that culminated in the Lights on Rice parade, according to Chris Faye of the Kaua‘i Museum.
“I think we have everybody who’s on the island,” he said. “But that was good because in the absence of visitors, a lot of local people are shopping.”
These shoppers perused the 33 vendors at the day-long craft fair and partook in the museum’s bake sale and silent auction.
Kaua‘i Woodturners Club was a new vendor this year. Matt Takata and Nan Sakaguchi were encouraging customers to fill out entry forms that would make them eligible for a drawing of a wooden bowl turned by the new organization.
Formed earlier this year, the group meets to increase the popularity of its common interest of having fun while working on wood projects, according to its Web site.
Takata, the organization’s president, said they meet the first Tuesday of every odd-numbered month where members talk about their projects, and recently agreed to “begin sawdust sessions” where the group meets at someone’s workshop for more interactive participation.
Members of the West Kaua‘i Methodist Church said this year they are having Portuguese bean soup for people who attend the event following work.
Keith Kitamura of the Kapa‘a High School Peer Mediation Group had his students on hand throughout the day, taking advantage of a no-school day to help raise funds for scholarships the group presents to graduating Kapa‘a seniors.
“The traffic was pretty good,” Kitamura said. “I don’t think it was as strong as last year, but it was still pretty good.”
Throughout the day, visitors milled through the various offerings, trying the different local-style offerings by the various organizations and lunch wagons.
Elizabeth Freeman of the Festival of Lights Committee was impressed with not only the quality of work, but the speed at which Kaua‘i High School students completed the Chansky displays inside the Historic County Building.
“At first, the leaders said we were not going to do it because of renovation work in the building,” Freeman said. “I thought I was going to have a rest. But the renovation work was pushed back so we got to work setting it up. The students were amazing in how quickly they got everything together.”
Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. was joined by Kaua‘i County Council Chair Kaipo Asing in doing the honors of opening the displays before adjourning to join the 12th Lights on Rice parade which wrapped up the day-long festivities.
The steam locomotive “Paulo” from Grove Farm Homesteads Museum joined long-time parade favorites and other newcomers to the event.
“He’s 120 years old,” said Scott Johnson, the train’s engineer, adding that this marked Paulo’s first Christmas parade.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.