10th year for Solaita Family Christmas light show
More than 100 people of all ages, children at heart and adults alike flocked Saturday night to the Solaita Family compound in Nu'uuli, to witness and be awed by the family's musical Christmas extravaganza light show opening.
Missing from this year's event, which marked the 10-year anniversary, was its founder and organizer Peni "Ben" Solaita, who passed away late in January this year, and during the brief prayer service to open the event, he was remembered.
"He is here in spirt with us," daughter, Soia Solaita Iopu, who is now charged with organizing the Christmas light show, told Samoa News. "This is my father's baby. He did this for the community, especially the children, so they could enjoy Christmas and have the holiday spirit."
She said her father was always looking for something new to be added to the light show.
In fact, it was in 2008 - during a Samoa News interview - that Ben Solaita said that he decided on "new attraction" to be added to the event, by having lights twinkle accompanied by the Christmas music, coordinated through a computer program.
Iopu made sure that this year, there would be another addition to the program - dancing arches and a "Christmas tree line" - which changes colors with the music.
Despite early evening rain, which later diminished, children and their parents along with others, showed up to witness the opening of the annual event, on its 10th anniversary, with more than 60,000 lights on display.
"This my first time to this Christmas show," said a mother from Tafuna, accompanied by her children.
Prior to the start of the first light show at 7:30 p.m, the youth group from the Nu'uuli Methodist Church gave a resounding performance with cheers from the children, who were also well entertained with certain comical actions by one of the group's male performers.
Children and adults were served refreshments, the children received "goodie bags" and there was also a raffle. These are just some of the activities involved in the Christmas light show which runs - every night except Sunday - through Dec. 23.
There are two shows per evening, one at 7:30p.m. and the second show an hour later.
If you are unable to make it to the light shows, the compound is still open in the evening hours so you can see the Christmas lights and take pictures.
Asked about her family's feelings and mood at this time of year with Ben Solaita not around, Iopu said, "I don't think we are feeling the effects, since everyone in my family has been very busy making sure this is a successful show."
"However, when we did the test for the lights on Thursday night, there was a somber mood after the ‘Amazing Grace' song was played," she said. "Family members had teary eyes. Everyone missed my dad and I missed my dad so very much, especially now, when he is usually around giving instructions of what should be done and done right - all to make sure that the community, especially the children, are happy and enjoy the show."