Festival of Lights – A Kaua’i Holiday Tradition

On Friday, December 4th is the opening ceremony of the “Kauai Festival of Lights,” an annual holiday tradition, which takes place at the Historic County Building in Lihue.

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Over 50 years ago, “Auntie” Josie Chansky, an artist born and raised on Kaua’i, would open her home every year to anyone and everyone who wanted to view her extravagant Christmas and holiday decorations. For 18 years on Oahu, and then continuing her tradition on Kauai, Mrs. Chancy’s home became known as “The Christmas House.” 

Following her husband’s death in 1996, out of grief she decided to sell her decorations, and self-created décor, as a way of moving on. That year another artist, Elizabeth Freeman, decided to purchase Josie’s treasures in bulk, and donated them to the County of Kauai. In the true Christmas spirit, Ms. Freeman decided to keep the annual tradition alive by creating the “Kauai Festival of Lights.”



Each year, up to 5,000 people attend the festival. About 35% of the decorations still used are originals from Auntie Josie Chansky, the rest created by Elizabeth Freeman herself.


I hope to see you there this Friday! And just in case you can’t make it, the lights will be lit every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until December 20th from 6-8 pm.


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