For 36 years now, Maui has been hosting a World Whale Day Festival. The event has grown over the decades and has been hosted in various locations. The theme of the event however has remained the same!
This year the event will be held at Kihei’s Kalama Park. It is a fitting location, considering you could spot whales off Maui’s southern coastline right from the park. The event will kickoff Saturday, February 13th with a “Parade of Whales” down South Kihei Road. The parade starts at 9:00 am and will feature marching bands, floats, cars, and people in costume. Over the years there have even been celebrities spotted in the parade, such as Jack Hanna.
Once the parade is over, head in to the actual festival to continue the fun. Children under 12 will have free entry, and adults will be charged $5. Once inside, shop through the various merchant booths featuring local artists, photographers, and retailers. Spend some time in Eco Alley learning about various environmental groups around the island the projects they are involved in. Marine naturalists will even be on hand to talk about humpback whales and other marine life found in the Hawaiian waters.
Children will enjoy the “keiki carnival” section of the festival, which features bounce castles, carnival games with a marine theme, face painting, and local treats like shave ice.
After exploring the various booths, you are bound to work up an appetite. Pick up some food tickets and then select which food booth best fits your cravings. In years past there have been booths for Indian food, seafood, local Hawaiian barbecue, vegetarian, custom Maui-made ice cream, cotton candy, and other great options. Definitely plan to grab something from one of the food vendors!
Lastly, be sure to review the entertainment schedule. Each year the Whale Day Festival seems to attract some of Hawaii’s best musicians. Bring your chair and plan to listen to at least two or three different groups. Maui reggae artist Marty Dread usually ends the festival with songs that are bound to get you up on your feet dancing.
[Image Source: World Whale Festival Site]