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Wrapping up September, October

By Staff | Nov 13, 2014

Front Street was jam-packed for the keiki parade and Halloween celebration. PHOTO BY NORM BEZANE.

LAHAINA – It has been an amazing two months on once sleepy Maui with great festivals, an unprecedented election campaign and Kaanapali becoming a more happening place.

It is no longer hard to find things to do beyond the beach. Sometimes, in fact, there are too many event on one night. It is a wonder more newcomers don’t take advantage – even ones who have been here a long time.

The third Lahaina Plantation Days sponsored by Lahaina Restoration Foundation and choreographed by the visionary Theo Morrison and her team was a spectacular success. Theo blushes when praised and always notes it was a team effort by dozens and dozens of volunteers.

Below the restored Pioneer Mill Smokestack, mostly locals and quite a few visitors were treated to an ever-improving photo and artifact display that told a comprehensive story about the old sugar plantation camps and the mill. The event was a great place to see and be seen by the town’s movers and shakers.

Seventeen restaurants, including at least one that was at the old “A Taste of Lahaina,” offered up sushi, burgers, pizza, ice cream, MauiGrown Coffee and much more.

In a refreshing change, KPOA “Morning Goddess” Alaka’i Paleka served as emcee, introducing falsetto master Richard Ho’opi’i and even Elvis of “Burn’n Love,” who regaled a large crowd. County Councilman Don Couch and Sen. Roz Baker, among others, sold tickets, and Councilman Mike White chatted about the election.

At the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, the annual ukelele festival was highlighted by 70 young ukukele players performing with Willie K. The master of ceremonies told the young people that “now you will always be able to say you played with the great Willie K.”

With all this going on, Kaanapali Beach has also become a more lively place. The beach path now has a kind of greenway between the path and sand. Hundreds of new lounge chairs there have been filled to capacity.

Other big changes include the popularity of paddle boarding and surfing. Orange-shirted instructors at the surfing school (with its headquarters at the Marriott) have brought surfing lessons to a new level. Dozens of students can be seen on the waves daily – some impressively riding the surf sometimes almost all the way to the beach.

All of this was topped off the last the day of the month by Halloween. Front Street was jam-packed, and the costumes may have hit a high in creativity. There were still long lines at restaurants at 10 p.m.

Columnist’s Notebook: To see more than a dozen photos of the events mentioned here, go to joysofkaanapali.com.