VIDEO & PHOTOS: Best Hawai‘i Island Christmas Light Displays!
VIDEO: Punalights, a synchronized light and music show at 15-2053 18th Ave. in Kea‘au. Crystal Richard video, Dec. 15, 2017.
Hawai‘i Island residents are spreading the holiday spirit with some fabulous Christmas light displays. Big Island Now checked out some of the island’s best.
The Oshiro family is celebrating the 10th year of Punalights, a synchronized light and music show at 15-2053 18th Ave. in Kea‘au.
Every year Stanward Oshiro, Puna resident and electrical engineer, invests a great deal of energy, time and money into what has become a holiday favorite among many Hawai‘i Island families.
“It takes me 20, eight-hour days to put up the lights and six hours to program each minute of music,” explained Oshiro.
This year’s show runs about 25 minutes long, but Oshiro said he adds songs as month progresses, which extends the show time.
His planning begins in the summer months, building begins in September and October and the first light installations begin Nov. 1, he said.
“Most people don’t realize the amount of time and effort that goes into producing a light show,” Oshiro said.
He said that in addition to community and neighborhood support, “Luckily, my wife and family supports this strange hobby of Christmas lights.”
“I spend all of my free time in November and December on my light show. Even during December, I am synchronizing new content as soon as I get home from work. I also do the same after the light show is over. Even when the light show season is done, I still am working on stuff for next season.”
As of last year, Oshiro no longer uses traditional Christmas light strings. Instead he uses a mixture of incandescent and commercial-grade LED lights.
This year, Oshiro brought back a crowd favorite, simulated fireworks using lights. But this year, like the rest of the show, they are created entirely out of pixels.
Local deejays also joined in, creating humorous announcements for the synchronized lights.
Not only does creating the show take a lot of time and dedication, but so does providing viewing space for the community.
Oshiro said that back in 2011, he bulldozed his lot to create more parking, making room for about 20 cars at any one time.
“Another critical component to all of this is doing traffic control during the light show, especially since we live on a dead end,” said Oshiro. “My neighbors and my family come out to direct traffic.”
He also pointed out that during peak nights, usually weekends and when school is out for the year, patience is important because wait times can get pretty long.
Punalights accepts canned food donations for The Food Basket Inc., Hawai‘i Island Food Bank. Oshiro pointed out that the donations are optional. Last year they collected 896 pounds of food and $1,443.60.
In addition to the Punalights show, listed below are some of the best Christmas light displays on island.
- Life Care Center of Hilo: 944 W. Kawailani St. Light display viewing from 6 to 10 p.m.
- Puainako/Anela Street: Christmas inflatables display on Puainako Street. Cross street Anela.
- Awapuhi Street: A neighborhood not to miss. Multiple houses with light displays and one house with synchronized light show. Turn left on Awapuhi Street from Kawailani Street
- Kukuau/Mohouli: Christmas light display on Kukuau just before cross street Mohouli.
- Awele Place: From Kawailani, turn onto Kikaha Street and continue to Awele Place. Synchronized light and music show.
- Waianuhea and Kanoelehua: Holiday lights on Kanoelehua Avenue and Waianuhea Street.
- Punalights: 15-2053 18th Ave., Kea‘au, 7 to 9 p.m. every night during December. Tune to 106.7 FM for synchronized music and light show.
- Kea‘au Loop: 12-foot-tall Santa arch and Christmas display.
Kīlauea Military Camp: Volcanoes National Park, KMC Holiday Decorating Challenge, dusk to 10 p.m.
- Christmas lights display on Hawai‘i Belt Road (190) also known as “the high road.” The house is located on the makai side.
Town Christmas Tree, Parker School: 65-1224 Lindsey Road in Waimea.