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Whale Day Celebration to feature stellar entertainment lineup

By Staff | Feb 18, 2010

The Parade of Whales in honor of Maui’s humpback whales includes music, floats, bands, costumed characters, a life-sized humpback whale balloon and much more. The parade will run from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday along South Kihei Road, ending at Kalama Park.

KIHEI — The 30th annual Whale Day Celebration, to be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Kalama Park in Kihei, will feature free performances by a lineup of top entertainers from Hawaii, with legendary duo Cecilio and Kapono as the headline act.

Performers will also include Na Leo Pilimehana, Anuhea, John Cruz with bassist Hutch Hutchinson of Bonnie Raitt’s band, George Kahumoku Jr. and Marty Dread, with KAOI radio star and comedian Augie T. serving as special guest emcee.

“2010 marks the 30th anniversary of Whale Day and Pacific Whale Foundation,” said Events Coordinator Ashley Justice.

“We are so excited to offer such an amazing and diverse roster of entertainers and restaurants this year, and grateful for their enthusiastic support for an event that supports marine education and Maui’s humpback whales.”

Whale Day is a free, all-day celebration in the park, offering the public a unique opportunity to watch performances by top recording artists at no cost, sample offerings from a wide range of popular restaurants, and enjoy a wide range of events, including a Made in Maui vendor fair, children’s activities, an exhibit of 24,000 origami whales, the Parade of Whales, the Wild and Wonderful Whale Regatta, a silent auction, environmental displays and much more.

Cecilio and Kapono headline the Whale Day music lineup. Music legends Cecilio Rodriguez and Henry Kapono have been composing and playing music together in Hawaii and around the world since 1973. Photo by James Garrett.

Cecilio and Kapono, an internationally recognized and multiple award-winning duo, have played innumerable sold-out concerts in Hawaii and shared the stage with such artists as Santana, Peter Frampton and many others. Many of their hit songs have become local standards, well-known and loved by three generations of fans. Their first all-new studio recording in 20 years is now available in stores. For more information on the duo, visit www.ceciliokapono.com.

Na Leo Pilimehana (“Voices blending together in warmth”) is the most award-winning and highest selling female Hawaiian music group in the world. They are the first group from Hawaii to successfully cross the line between Hawaiian music and the adult contemporary music format. Childhood friends Nalani Choy, Lehua Kalima Heine and Angela Morales compose, perform and record their own music and run their own record label. Na Leo has received 22 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for their work. For more information about Na Leo, visit www.naleo.net.

Maui native, songwriter and self-taught guitarist Rylee Anuheake‘alaokalokelani Jenkins’ music blends engaging lyrics with acoustic soul, pop and reggae into a unique style that has earned her a reputation as Hawaii’s newest rising star. Anuhea’s first album released in 2009 has already earned her a nationwide following. For more information on Anuhea, visit www.anuheajams.com.

Trained in musical genres ranging from country to musical theater, Honolulu native John Cruz returned to Hawaii from the East Coast in 1995 and immersed himself in contemporary Hawaiian music. His second album, “One of these Days,” was released in 2007 to critical acclaim and incredible popular success in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific Region. He is the recipient of three Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. In 2009, he performed at the Hawaii State Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. He will perform with Hutch Hutchinson, bass player and vocalist from the Bonnie Raitt Band. For more information on the artists, visit www.johncruz.com and www.bonnieraitt.com/bio_hutch.php.

The winner of four Grammy Awards, George Kahumoku Jr. is one of Hawaii’s best-known performers of slack key guitar music. He has been performing professionally since the age of 12. A respected slack key master, his audiences have included the queen of England, premier of China and prince of Thailand. For more information, visit www.kahumoku.com.

Local reggae star Marty Dread describes his music as “a cross between Maxi Priest and Garnet Silk with a splash of Bob Marley.” Dread has performed around the world with such greats as Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and reggae legend Pato Banton. His work has earned him two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. He also hosts Pacific Whale Foundation’s weekly “Island Music Sunset Cocktail Cruise.” For more information, visit www.martydread.com.

Whale Day will also feature food booths by popular Maui restaurants, including Maui Brewing Co., Beach Bums, Alexander’s Fish and Chips, Shaka Pizza, Longboards of the Maui Marriott, Maui Kazowie, Taqueria Cruz, Maui Masala, Paradise Tropical Ice, Green Onion Cake Co., Maui Oriental Market, Orchid Thai and Zia Maria’s Gelato.

“You can come to Whale Day and enjoy a fantastic brunch or lunch, as well as an early dinner,” said Justice.

“You’ll find everything from keawe-smoked barbecued pulled pork sandwiches to Cajun grilled veggie tacos, from pizza and three-beer chili to chicken tikka masala and sushi. We’ll have classic festival favorites like shave ice, cotton candy and kettle corn, as well as Italian ice, gelato and smoothies. No matter what you’re craving, you’re sure to find it at Whale Day!”

Whale Day will also feature a huge “Made on Maui” fair displaying the work of about 100 local artisans, fun-filled children’s activities, silent auction, the Wild and Wonderful Whale Regatta, skateboarding competition for kids and displays about the environment and whales. The “Curtain of Whales” will be back, featuring 37,000 origami whales created to raise awareness about the threat of whaling.

Whale Day begins with the Parade of Whales at 9 a.m., with Mayor Charmaine Tavares as the grand marshall. The parade follows South Kihei Road, beginning at Alanui Kealii Drive and ending at Kihei Public Library on Waimahaihai Street

For more information, call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811 or visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org.