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Celebrate Maui’s majestic visitors at 35th World Whale Day

By Staff | Feb 12, 2015

This year’s entertainment slate includes Henry Kapono and Anuhea (above), as well as Willie K, George Kahumoku Jr., Ekolu, Dr. Nat & Rio Ritmo, and Marty Dread.

KIHEI – Maui will honor the majestic marine mammals that migrate here every winter at the 35th annual World Whale Day Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Kalama Park in Kihei from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Presented by Pacific Whale Foundation, World Whale Day is one of the most popular and best-attended events on Maui.

More than 20,000 people are expected to participate in World Whale Day, which kicks off at 9 a.m. with a community Parade of Whales along South Kihei Road from Alanui Ke Alii Drive to Kalama Park.

The colorful parade features costumed sea characters, marching bands, decorated floats, music from the Haiku Hillbillys, and a procession of enthusiastic marchers representing local schools, businesses and activity clubs.

“The Parade of Whales is a great opportunity to connect with the local community in a creative and fun way,” said Parade Coordinator Tami Hamilton.

For a list of parade participants, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org/2015-parade-of-whales.

Following the parade, the festivities continue at Kalama Park with a full day of live music from some of Hawaii’s top recording artists. Performing this year are Henry Kapono, Willie K, Anuhea, George Kahumoku Jr., Ekolu, Dr. Nat & Rio Ritmo, and Marty Dread. There will also be hula and Tahitian dance performances by Manutea Nui E.

“This is the most entertainment you will find in one day on all of Maui,” said Pacific Whale Foundation Founder Greg Kaufman. “Not only does it make for a memorable Valentine’s Day, but it’s a great way to show your love for the whales.”

World Whale Day offers an array of tantalizing dishes from food booths hosted by popular Maui establishments, including Beach Bum’s, Three’s Bar & Grill, Porto Mediterranean Grill & Flame-Fired Pizza, Monsoon India, Java Caf, Cold Stone Creamery, Maui Kazowie Kettle Corn, Hula Dogs, and other local favorites. There will also be cotton candy, shave ice, smoothies, and an assortment of drinks for sale.

World Whale Day is a drug- and alcohol-free event; coolers are not permitted.

The “Made on Maui” Artisan Fair will feature a wide selection of jewelry, pottery, woodwork and other unique, locally-crafted wares. In addition, festival-goers will be able to bid on select items at the Treasure Hunt booth.

“This year, we also have an Online Auction with one-of-a-kind items and once-in-a-lifetime experiences up for bid,” said Events Manager Alison Stewart. “You can support a great cause and find great deals at the same time.” For more information, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org/2015-online-auction.

Kids will have a whale of a time at World Whale Day. There will be a Keiki Carnival area with bouncy castles and inflatable slides, face painting, plus free photo IDs from the Maui Fire Department.

Pacific Whale Foundation’s research, education and conservation teams will offer a variety of hands-on activities to engage and educate whale enthusiasts of all ages.

“The Hawaiian word for humpback whale is kohola,” said Research Scientist Emmanuelle Martinez. “Come to the Kohola Kingdom area at World Whale Day, where you can learn more about these amazing animals in a fun and interactive environment.”

Other offerings at World Whale Day include an Eco-Alley with information and displays from local environmental organizations, agencies and businesses.

Participants can enter the Wild & Wonderful Whale Regatta for a chance to win a free trip for two to Maui. Festival-goers can also take a stroll down PWF’s memory lane in the 35th Anniversary Tent, which will include many notable moments in the organization’s history and the chance to own a limited-edition “Save Those Whales Now” retro T-shirt.

World Whale Day strives to be a green event, using only biodegradable and compostable products at its food booths. Water will be sold in reusable, commemorative “Save the Whales” water bottles. Purchase one for $5 and receive free water refills throughout the day. You can also bring your own reusable bottle and obtain refills for $1.

Free shuttle service to Kalama Park will be available all day from Hope Chapel at 300 East Welakahao Road and from Azeka Place Mauka by Bank of Hawaii. The free shuttles will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The easiest and most eco-friendly way to attend World Whale Day is to take advantage of the Maui Bus. Take the Kihei Islander Bus to Keala Place and South Kihei Road. To view bus schedules, visit mauibus.net/regions /kihei#kihei_islander. Handicapped parking is available at Kalama Park.

World Whale Day is part of the Maui Whale Festival that includes Whales under the Stars on Feb. 13, the Great Whale Count on Feb. 28, VIP Cruises with Greg Kaufman and other special events in honor of Maui’s humpback whales and their ocean habitat. To learn more, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org.