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LAC appoints group to head Christmas decorations for Front Street

By Staff | Aug 22, 2013

The original wreaths lasted for 25 years.

LAHAINA – Twenty-five years ago, Joan McKelvey, then owner of South Seas Trading Post on Front Street, received a telephone call from Connie Sutherland, then owner of the Whaler Ltd., another Front Street business.

“I just heard the mayor (Hannibal Tavares) is going to close Front Street to rebuild the Kahoma Street Bridge,” said Sutherland.

“He is going to do WHAT?” responded McKelvey. “No way – it will put us all out of business. Let’s get on it, Connie.”

Within five days, a meeting of town businesses was set up in Bob Longhi’s restaurant, and it was agreed to form an organization to be called LahainaTown Action Committee – the name suggested by Ron Kawahara – with the emphasis on ACTION.

McKelvey was elected president and Sutherland vice president, along with a board of eight.

The first order of business was to call a meeting with the mayor and get the closure changed to a temporary bypass of the bridge. It wasn’t easy, McKelvey said, but they did it.

They next decided to dress the town for the holiday season two months away and ordered 40 Christmas wreaths for Front Street. Those same wreaths were still in use until last Christmas, when they finally fell apart.

McKelvey then went to a “go to” lady, a past president of LAC who is famous for getting things done, Fran Mitsumura, Donna Soares of The Wharf Cinema Center, and Sutherland.

Together, the four ladies have formed a committee under LAC to keep the town dressed for Christmas.

Businesses, organizations and residents will be asked to buy a wreath, and there will be public acknowledgment of the donors.

The cost of each wreath is $200 by Sept. 10 and $195 when they are delivered for a total of $395, including freight.

Businesses or individuals may wish to share the cost of a wreath.

And, hopefully, they will last another 25 years, McKelvey said.

Checks should be made out to LAC Christmas Wreath and sent to LahainaTown Action Committee, 648 Wharf St., Lahaina, HI 96761. For credit card purchases, call 667-9175.