South Kihei Road Closed Saturday for Maui’s Parade of Whales
By Sonia Isotov
Maui motorists are advised that South Kihei Road, beginning at Alanui Keali’i Drive and ending at Waimahaihai Street, will be closed from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 19, for Maui’s Parade of Whales.
The parade is the official launch to the 31st Annual Whale Day Celebration, hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation. The parade route follows South Kihei Road, beginning at Alanui Keali’i Drive, then proceeds north along South Kihei Road past Kalama Park, and ends at the Kihei Public Library on Waimahaihai Street.
The theme of the Whale Day parade is “Be Whale Aware.” Musicians, dancers, floats, costumed characters and a life-sized inflatable whale will be part of the parade. Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa will serve as the Parade Grand Marshal.
The Parade of Whales is the official launch to Whale Day, which takes place at Kalama Park until 6 p.m. Admission is free. Whale Day features a free day-long free concert by top performers from Hawaii, with legendary duo Cecilio and Kapono as the headline act. The all-star lineup also includes performers John Cruz, Anuhea, George Kahumoku, Jr., Marty Dread, The Throwdowns and Gail Swanson who will be appearing with Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers.
Whale Day also includes a “Made on Maui” fair displaying the work of about 100 local artisans, fun-filled children’s activities, silent auction and displays about the environment and whales. The “Curtain of Whales” will be back, featuring 36,000 origami whales, created to raise awareness about the threat of whaling.
Whale Day will feature tantalizing fare served up at the food booths run by popular Maui restaurants including Alexander’s Fish and Chips, Amigo’s, Beach Bums, Down to Earth, Famous Dave’s BBQ, Maui Masala, Mulligan’s on the Blue, Orchid Thai, Shaka Pizza, Sharky’s Family Fun Center and more. Pacific Whale Foundation will also serve hotdogs and a BBQ lunch plate featuring Maui Cattle Co.’s locally raised, all-natural beef. Delicious desserts will be offered by Banyan Tree Deli & Bakery, Cold Stone Creamery, Da Local Banana, Maui Kazowie, Paradise Tropical Ice and Zia Maria Gelato.
A farmer’s market will feature fresh Maui-grown produce from O’o Farms.
The Wild & Wonderful Whale Regatta is an opportunity to win free roundtrip airfare for two between the U.S. Mainland and Maui. Based on the popular “rubber ducky” races found across the U.S., the Wild & Wonderful Whale Regatta features little rubber whales doing the racing.
Eco-Alley offers booths by Maui nonprofits, businesses and government agencies that are working to protect Maui’s environment. You’ll find displays by Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow, Whale Song Project, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Hawaii Nature Center, Marine Mammal Response Team, Community Work Day, Haleakala National Park, Surfrider Foundation – Maui Chapter, Friends of Haleakala, RZ Electric Inc., Hawaiian Skylights and Solar, Maui Ocean Center, Pacifica Indigenous Grandmothers Council and other groups.
Food will be served on the biodegradable and compostable plates, cups and utensils provided by Maui Chemical and Paper. Whale Day sponsors include KAOI, Expedia Local Expert, Tropical Seas and Maui Weekly.
Funds raised through Whale Day will help support marine education programs for Maui schoolchildren.
Free event parking with free shuttle bus service is available from 7:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Hope Chapel, on the corner of the Piilani Highway and Welakahao Street, and also at Azeka Place Mauka Shopping Center (on South Kihei Road, just north of Lipoa Street) by the First Hawaiian Bank.
To learn more about Whale Day, please visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org or call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811 ext. 1.