KIHEI - With a legacy of 37 years of some of Hawaii's most loved hit songs, the legendary Hawaiian band Kalapana is ranked among the best of Hawaii's musicians of all time.
Hailing from Oregon and Oahu, this remarkable seven-piece band will make a rare Maui appearance as the headline act of the 33rd annual World Whale Day celebration on Saturday, Feb. 16. The festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Kalama Park in Kihei. Admission is free.
World Whale Day - Maui's largest and best-attended whale-themed event - is presented by Pacific Whale Foundation and Expedia Local Expert as part of the Maui Whale Festival.
“This is an opportunity to see and hear some of Hawaii’s greatest musicians, all in one place, for free,” said Greg Kaufman, executive director and founder of Pacific Whale Foundation.
With live entertainment throughout the day on two stages, World Whale Day is expected to attract more than 18,000 people this year.
In addition to Kalapana, World Whale Day will feature an all-star lineup of musical entertainment, including Willie K, Ekolu, Marty Dread, Erin Smith and the Throwdowns, plus hula by Manute'a Nui E.
Performing under the title of the KPOA Maui All-Star Band will be Ekolu Kalama, joined by KPOA Deejays and musicians Alaka'i Paleka, Kaena Brown and Shane Kahalehau. KPOA Deejays will also emcee the event throughout the day.
With World Whale Day continuing until 7 p.m., Greg Kaufman, executive director and founder of Pacific Whale Foundation, urges attendees to plan to enjoy supper at the show.
"Some of our best entertainment will take place at dinner time, so bring a blanket, pick up dinner at our food booths and enjoy the sunset as you listen to live music," he said. "Many people bring their beach chairs and make a day of it - they don't want to miss any of the great acts."
A second stage will feature entertainment for keiki, including a performance by the award-winning Banana Slug String Band of Santa Cruz, California, whose music is designed to inspire young people and their families to learn about and care for the ocean.
Kicking-off the World Whale Day festivities is the Parade of Whales at 9 a.m. This colorful parade begins at Alanui Keali'i Drive, proceeds north along South Kihei Road and ends at Kihei Public Library on Waimahaihai Street. The theme is "Save Our Seas." Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa will serve as the parade's official grand marshal.
Whale Day's opening ceremonies immediately follow the parade on the main stage.
Children will enjoy inflatable rides, activities, cotton candy, shave ice and games at the Keiki Carnival area.
Dozens of local artisans, including jewelers, basket makers, potters and more, will display and sell their wares at the Made on Maui Artisans Fair.
World Whale Day's Eco-Alley will feature booths by Maui non-profits, businesses and government agencies that are working to protect the environment, including Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Surfrider Foundation (Maui Chapter), Community Work Day, Sierra Club, West Maui Watershed Partnership, Monk Seal Foundation, Maui Nui Marine Mammal Rescue, South Maui Volunteers and Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii.
Pacific Whale Foundation's tent will feature displays of whale artifacts, information about ongoing whale research and presentations about whales and the ocean throughout the day.
Shoppers will also find great buys on artwork, gift certificates for activities, restaurants, shows, golf and more at the silent auction. The bidding begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m.
World Whale Day offers an array of tantalizing dishes at food booths hosted by popular Maui restaurants and food purveyors.
"Join us for breakfast, lunch, dinner - or all three," said Kaufman. "Just be sure to arrive hungry and to leave room for the shave ice and cotton candy."
Food booths at World Whale Day will be provided by Stella Blues Cafe, Monsoon India, Shaka Pizza and Sandwiches, Porto Mediterranean Grill and Flame-Fired Pizzeria, Down to Earth Natural Foods, Sharkey's, Beach Bum's, Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods, Pupuuli Potatoes, Haiku Falafels, Ola Catering, Maui Kazowie Kettle Corn, Cold Stone Creamery, Shaka Pops, Cheri's Hand Dipped Ice Cream, Paradise Tropical Ice and No Ka Oi Nut Company. There will also be cotton candy, smoothies, shave ice, soda and drinks for sale.
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 on a twisting, turning water course.
World Whale Day is a green event. All food products at World Whale Day will be served on biodegradable and compostable products. In addition, water will be sold in reusable, commemorative "Save the Whales" water bottles. Purchase one for $3 and receive free refills throughout the day from Menehune Water Co., the official water sponsor of World Whale Day. You can also bring your own reusable bottle and obtain ice water refills for $1.
The easiest and most eco-friendly way to attend Whale Day is to take advantage of the Maui Bus. Take the Kihei Islander Bus and get off at Keala Place and South Kihei Road. To view bus schedules, visit www.co.maui.hi.us/index.aspx?NID=1310.
There are also free event parking lots and free shuttle service from two Kihei locations: Hope Chapel at 300 East Welakahao Road and at Azeka Place Mauka by Bank of Hawaii. The free shuttles will run from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Handicapped parking is available at Kalama Park.
Volunteers are needed to help at Whale Day. For information on the event, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org.