KIHEI - February brings the peak of whale watch season on Maui and with it a jam-packed calendar of events offered by Pacific Whale Foundation, including the signature events of the Maui Whale Festival.
Maui's Parade of Whales on Saturday, Feb. 16, is the official lead off to World Whale Day, Maui's biggest and best-attended whale event and popular community festival.
The month wraps up with the Great Whale Count on Saturday, Feb. 23. This is a citizens' count of whales that can be observed from Maui's shoreline.
Maui's Parade of Whales runs from 9 to 10 a.m. and highlights the theme "Save Our Seas." The parade begins at the corner of South Kihei Road and Alanui Keali'i Drive and moves northward past Kalama Park to Waimaihaihai Street and Kihei Public Library. An announcer will be located at the big whale statue at Kalama Park.
Pacific Whale Foundation invites community groups and organizations, musicians and dance groups to sign up in advance to be part of the parade. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 249-8811, extension 1.
A signature event of the Maui Whale Festival and one of Maui's most popular community events for 33 years, World Whale Day is a free, all-day celebration that honors the humpback whales that come to Maui each winter.
Following the parade, World Whale Day will feature live entertainment on the main stage by top Hawaii recording stars and keiki entertainment on a second stage.
Entertainers will include Ekolu, Kalapana, Willie K, Marty Dread, Erin Smith and the Throwdowns, Manute'a Nui E, The Banana Slug String Band, and KPOA Deejays Alaka'i Paleka, Shane Kahalehau (Hawaiian Home Boy), Sista Val, Kaena Brown and Damien Awai.
The day also features great food by Maui restaurants, a children's carnival, huge Made on Maui artisans fair, environmental displays and more.
World Whale Day will be held at Kalama Park in Kihei (across from Foodland on South Kihei Road) with free shuttle and parking at Hope Chapel and Azeka Place Mauka.