The popularity of social media has created a phenomenon called the “flash mob” where people are invited to show up at one time and do something fun, sometimes silly, and usually involving dancing and singing en masse.
Tomorrow, as part of Downtown Hilo’s First Friday Red & White Night, the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association invites the public to join the “flash caroling mob” starting at 5 p.m. at Mooheau Bandstand. The mob will wind its way through town caroling past festively decorated windows to Kalakaua Park for a tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m.
“Your gift to downtown this year can be the gift of music and we invite everyone to come, sing along and have some fun while enjoying the Magical Lights of Downtown. Over 50 businesses will be open late and at least half of them are participating in the window display contest that invites everyone to vote on his or her favorite,” said AmeriCorps’ Hilo Improvement Program team leader Lani Thur-Fine.
Some time ago, Hawaiian cultural practitioner, hula dancer and singer songwriter Leilehua Yuen wrote a special carol for the holidays, “It’s Christmas Time in Hilo,” and will be joining the flash caroling mob to share her song with everyone. Copies of lyrics to that song as well as a few others will be available on the DIA website and at the Mooheau Bandstand and Kalakaua Park for groups to sing along. A list of participating businesses and window entries as well as a ballot will be included on the handout.
“In addition to a secret panel of judges, the public can vote for their favorite decorated window to win the People’s Choice Award. By voting they also enter to win prizes themselves,” said Thur-Fine. “We decided to hold Red & White Night on a First Friday because there are several businesses and galleries that have been holding Art Walk events on that day for about a year now.”
There will be plenty going on around town with East Hawaii Cultural Center holding their artists’ reception at 5:30 p.m. and later at 7 p.m. Arval Shipley’s annual performance of “A Christmas Carol” opens in the upstairs theater space. Also at 7 p.m., the Island Dance Academy presents their annual performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Palace Theatre with its holiday festive lobby. At the other end of town, the Mamo Street Night Market sets up in front of One Gallery, Still Life Books and the Hawaiian Force with foods, crafts, gifts and music from 5-9 p.m. and at KTA Super Stores Don Hirota of Meadow Gold Dairies will be passing out free samples of PAVA and eggnog.
Stores entered in the Magical Lights of Downtown Hilo window display contest are busy getting ready and there will definitely be some creative and innovative exhibitions.
“On Waianuenue Avenue, both Yoga Centered and Kathmandu Trading Company will have live window displays that you won’t want to miss,” said Thur-Fine.
And now that Black Friday (or was it Black Thursday?) is over and everyone is tired of the long lines and similar merchandise at the chain retail stores, Red & White Night is the time to support local businesses with their special sales, great promotions and personalized service.
“Tomorrow and every day, Downtown Hilo is a destination beyond shopping. It’s a time for seeing people, meeting friends, and enjoying the holiday spirit. Finding the most unique gifts our town has to offer is a bonus – you’ve done the rest, now do the best!” said Thur-Fine.
Winners of the window display contest and the lucky drawing for People’s Choice voters will be announced on the last day the County of Hawaii hosts “The Magic of the Season” open house, Friday December 21st at the County Building at 7 p.m. The open house runs Monday through Friday December 10th through December 21st from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. with free live music and refreshments each evening. The all-star line-up includes Cyril Pahinui, Mark Yamanaka, Henry Kapono, Darlene Ahuna and Lehua Kalima among others. For more information and a complete schedule of festivities, contact Mayor Billy Kenoi’s office at 961-
We hope that you agree that we closing out a very full and productive year in Downtown Hilo and although not perfect, things are looking pretty good. We’re looking forward to new projects and beginnings for the New Year at the renovated Hilo Information Center and to continuing the work with many partners. We encourage everyone to get involved and keep in touch with what’s going on by reading and passing this column along to others, by visiting our website at www.downtownhilo.com and by contacting the DIA with your questions, suggestions and comments. As a reminder, the other important source of information on proposed and ongoing projects is www.ourdowntownhilo.com, which includes all you need to know about EnVision Downtown Hilo 2025 – A Community Based Vision & Living Action Plan. Go to that site to post projects you think are important to town, and comment on or like projects that are
posted already. Together we can, and together we are making positive changes to the quality of life in our historic Downtown Hilo, that’s all it takes!
Around Downtown is written by Alice Moon, executive director of the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association. Call Moon at 935-8850 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to share news about issues, events and activities.