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Whalers Village to sparkle with island-style fun for the holidays

By Staff | Nov 27, 2014

The Donlon family visits with Santa Claus at Whalers Village.

KAANAPALI – The joy of Christmas in Hawaii thrives in that glorious moment where classic Yuletide tradition meets island-style delight. The perfect example? Santa Claus visits Whalers Village in Kaanapali.

From 3 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 5-6 and 12-13, Santa will greet keiki and pose beachside for free photos – his fur-trimmed red suit accentuated by an idyllic backdrop of sunlit sea and nearby Lanai.

It’s just a taste of the holiday fun decking the halls at Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants throughout the month of December.

Strolling carolers will serenade shoppers from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. from Dec. 14 through 19, and every Saturday evening will feature a Mele Kalikimaka Show at Center Stage.

Live music will fill the air several nights a week, featuring performances by some of Maui’s most popular musicians. Highlights include the husband and wife team Benoit Jazzworks on Dec. 4, 11 and 18; popular island duo Barefoot Minded on Dec. 5, 19 and 26; Maui Brass Ensemble playing holiday favorites on Dec. 9; Island Sounds with Mike Finkiewicz on Dec. 14; the Lahaina rock and roll band Fred’s Garage on Dec. 28; Holiday Cantata on Dec. 23; and Holiday Jazz on Dec. 7 and 24.

Come “Meet the Artists” at Lahaina Arts Society. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local artists will hold demonstrations in LAS’ Banyan Tree Gallery in the Old Lahaina Courthouse. Talk story with photographer John O’Leary on Dec. 2 and sculptor/potter Mary Ann Leigh (whose work is pictured) on Dec. 3-4. Call 661-0111 or visit www. lahainaarts.com for information.

During the day, the stage will sparkle with only-in-Hawaii activities for all ages: hands-on coconut husking demonstrations; arts and crafts featuring Hawaiian artifacts; lei making lessons with flower, ti leaf, haku and wili lei; cultural hula lessons teaching the history of the art form; and hula lessons teaching the ancient dance itself. In the evening, the stage comes alive with a Polynesian Hula Show from 7 to 8 p.m. every Monday in December, and a Hula Show from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Dec. 3, 10 and 17. All activities and shows are free.

And then, of course, there’s the shopping! Whalers Village offers more than 90 outlets, from classic haute couture like Louis Vuitton to island apparel like Honolua Surf Co.; art galleries to made-in-Hawaii gift stores; jewelry boutiques to bath and body shops. From Dec. 5 to 24, Whalers Village will reward shoppers who spend $150 or more with a free gift: a holiday keepsake ornament. These unique ornaments can be picked up at the Marriott Maui Ocean Club kiosk next to Maui Fish & Pasta.

Whalers Village is home to three oceanfront restaurants: Maui Fish & Pasta, Leilani’s on the Beach, and Hula Grill, with tempting menus ranging from Hawaii Regional Cuisine showcasing fresh local ingredients, to classic burgers and fries. Newcomer to Whalers Village Ruby’s Dinette has been drawing happy crowds at its indoor/outdoor location on the lower level. Next door is the Food Court with a delicious selection of pizza and sandwiches, and sprinkled throughout the center are perfect spots to pick up gourmet coffee, sweet treats and ice cream.

As whale season hits its mid-winter peak, the giant creatures can often be seen off the coast of Kaanapali. In fact, the bridge of the Whalers Village Museum is an excellent place to view the ‘Au ‘Au Channel, one of the most populated breeding and calving grounds of North Pacific humpback whales.

Located on the center’s upper level, the museum explores Maui’s seafaring roots and the heyday of whaling (1825-60) through whalers’ eyes. Visitors can learn more by checking out 45-Ton Whale Talks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to noon, and by embarking on a free Marine Mammal Walking Tour (find all ten exhibits throughout Whalers Village and get free entrance into the museum). For more information, visit “http://www.whalersmuseum.com”>www.whalersmuseum.com.

“This is such a magical time of year to be here on Maui,” said Lisa Donlon, marketing manager of Whalers Village. “We welcome everyone to come and enjoy the festivities with us!”

For a complete schedule, visit www.whalersvillage.com.