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Maui Whale Festival celebrates 38 years with an exciting lineup of events

By Staff | Dec 28, 2017

KIHEI – Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) has finalized a full schedule of events for Maui Whale Festival 2018. This marks the 38th year that the organization will be honoring Maui’s majestic humpback whales with a series of educational events throughout the month of February.

“Our goal with Maui Whale Festival 2018 is to inspire a deeper connection and sustained commitment to ocean and wildlife conservation,” said Pacific Whale Foundation Founder and Executive Director Greg Kaufman.

All activities held during Maui Whale Festival will support Pacific Whale Foundation’s nonprofit research, education and conservation programs, including research on whales and dolphins; First Responder training to help entangled whales; global advocacy to end whaling worldwide and to promote sustainable ecotourism; citizen-science initiatives such as the Whale & Dolphin Tracker, the Great Whale Count, and marine debris monitoring and removal projects; and marine education and science enrichment for children.

New for Maui Whale Festival is the inaugural Masquerade Gala at King Kamehameha Golf Club on Feb. 17. This benefit will raise funds to support researchers and advocates working to protect five cetacean species nearing extinction: the Vaquita, Chilean Blue Whale, Maui Dolphin, Arabian Sea Humpback Whale, and Hawaiian False Killer Whale.

“We’ve seen the North Pacific humpback whale population flourish from near extinction levels at the time Pacific Whale Foundation was founded to over 23,000 animals estimated today,” said Kaufman. “We now need to apply the same ‘Save the Whales’ call to action towards other cetaceans struggling to survive.”

Other events include a Harbor Party on Feb. 18 at the Maui Harbor Shops in Maalaea. This free event will include live music entertainment by Eric Gilliom, Haiku Hillbillys, Banana Slug String Band, and Deejay Teddy Rux, along with keiki activities, food trucks and a Made on Maui marketplace. There will also be a series of concert cruises featuring Hawaiian musical legends John Cruz, HAPA and Amy Gilliom, as well as a Keiki Concert Cruise with Banana Slug String Band.

Kicking off Maui Whale Festival is one of Maui’s most popular running events, the Run & Walk for Whales, on Feb. 10. The routes will have enhanced safety features and include a variety of distances to encourage participants of all ages and abilities.

On Feb. 16, the World Whale Film Festival returns for its second year at Kaanapali Beach Hotel, featuring screenings and presentations by local and international filmmakers and digital media artists.

Returning for its 29th year is one of the longest-running projects in citizen-science, the Great Whale Count, taking place on Feb. 24. The results of the annual survey of Maui’s humpback whale population are revealed the following day on a special whalewatch ecotour led by the Pacific Whale Foundation research team.

For a full list of events and more information, visit www.MauiWhaleFestival.org.