KIHEI - Maui visitors and residents will be celebrating and honoring the presence of the whales off the coast of Maui at the 34th annual World Whale Day Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Kalama Park on South Kihei Road.
World Whale Day is hosted by the nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation. More than 20,000 people attended last year. The event starts at 9 a.m. and continues until 7 p.m. Admission is free.
Mick Fleetwood, cofounder and drummer of the superstar band Fleetwood Mac, will be taking the stage at World Whale Day as a guest performer with the R.E. Metoyer Blues, Rock and Soul Revue. He will also be the grand marshal in the Parade of Whales, which kicks off the World Whale Day festivities at 9 a.m. along South Kihei Road.
The Parade of Whales will kickoff the World Whale Day festivities at 9 a.m. along South Kihei Road.
This colorful parade begins at Alanui Keali'i Drive, proceeds north along South Kihei Road and ends at Kihei Public Library on Waimahaihai Street. Maui's Parade of Whales features costumed sea characters, floats of all shapes and sizes created by local organizations, the Seabury Hall Marching Band and the Haiku Hillbilllys. Parade VIPs include Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, Sen. Roz Baker and Maui County Councilmembers Gladys Baisa, Don Couch, Don Guzman and Mike Victorino. The theme is "Be Whale Aware."
KPOA Deejays Alaka'i and Ke'evan will be located near the whale sculpture on South Kihei Road and will be announcing the parade acts.
Immediately after the Parade of Whales, World Whale Day offers a full day of free live entertainment by some of Hawaii's top recording stars, plus hula, great food by local restaurants, a carnival for children, displays about whales and Maui's environment, and a huge "Made on Maui" artisans' fair.
In addition to Fleetwood and the R.E Metoyer Blues, Rock and Soul Revue, performers at World Whale Day will include Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner John Cruz, four-time Grammy Award winner George Kahumoku Jr., Anuhea, Ekolu, Marty Dread, Na Hoa and the Tahitian hula group Manute'a Nui E.
World Whale Day offers an array of tantalizing dishes at food booths hosted by popular Maui restaurants and food purveyors. "Arrive hungry and enjoy a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal from our many food vendors," said Alison Stewart, events manager at Pacific Whale Foundation. "By purchasing food at World Whale Day, you help to keep this a free community event."
Food booths at World Whale Day will be provided by Fleetwood's on Front St., Three's Bar and Grill, Monsoon India, Beach Bum's, Stella Blues Caf, Fat Daddy's Smokehouse, Hula Dogs, Java Caf, Life Foods, Porto Mediterranean Grill and Pizzeria, Ola Catering, Maui Kazowie Kettle Corn, Cold Stone Creamery, Shaka Pops and Paradise Tropical Ice. There will also be cotton candy, smoothies, shave ice, soda and drinks for sale.
Mick Fleetwood will be available to sign autographs at the Fleetwood's on Front St. booth at noon.
World Whale Day is a drug- and alcohol-free event. Coolers are not permitted.
The event's Eco-Alley features booths by Maui non-profits, businesses and government agencies that are working to protect the environment, including West Maui Mountains Watershed Project, Monk Seal Foundation, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Coalition for a Tobacco-free Hawaii, Malama Maui Nui, Surfrider Foundation, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, NOAA Fisheries Maui Marine Mammal Response Program, Sierra Club Maui, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, Maui Tomorrow Foundation, CCI Greenheart, Community Work Day, Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve /Department of Aquatics, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission and Sustainable Living Institute Maui Community Garden at the University of Hawaii Maui College.
Pacific Whale Foundation's research, education and conservation teams will offer hands-on whale-themed activities, displays of whale artifacts and information about ongoing whale research, marine conservation issues and educational programs for the public.
The Made on Maui Artisans' Fair will feature the work of more than 80 local craftspeople, including jewelers, basket makers, potters and more. Shoppers will also find great buys on artwork, gift certificates for activities, restaurants, shows, golf and more at the silent auction. The bidding begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m.
The Wild & Wonderful Whale Regatta offers attendees an opportunity to win free roundtrip airfare for two between the U.S. Mainland and Maui. Based on the popular "rubber ducky" races found across the U.S., the Wild & Wonderful Whale Regatta features little rubber whales on a twisting, turning water course.
World Whale Day is a green event. All food products at World Whale Day will be served on biodegradable and compostable products. In addition, water will be sold in reusable, commemorative "Save the Whales" water bottles. The water will be provided by Menehune Water, the official water sponsor for World Whale Day. Purchase one for $3 and receive free filtered water refills throughout the day. You can also bring your own reusable bottle and obtain refills for $1.
The easiest and most eco-friendly way to attend Whale Day is to take advantage of the Maui Bus. Take the Kihei Islander Bus and get off at Keala Place and South Kihei Road. To view bus schedules, visit www.co.maui.hi.us/ index.aspx?NID=1310. There are also free event parking lots and free shuttle service from two Kihei locations: Hope Chapel at 300 East Welakahao Road and at Azeka Place Mauka by Bank of Hawaii. The free shuttles will run from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Handicapped parking is available at Kalama Park. There will also be a third shuttle bus stop at the gravel parking lot next to the ABC Store at the corner of Alanui Ke Alii Drive and South Kihei Road across from Kamaole Beach Park I.
World Whale Day is presented by Pacific Whale Foundation. Additional major sponsors include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Maui Office of Economic Development, Expedia Local Expert, KPOA and Pacific Radio Group, Maui Weekly, First Wind, Menehune Water Co. and the County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation.
Whale Day is part of the Maui Whale Festival, a celebration of Maui's humpback whales that runs from February through March. To learn more, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org.
Volunteers are needed to help at World Whale Day. For information on assisting at the event, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org.