When I first started learning about this year’s Maui Pride Festival, I was a bit confused about the festivities’ who’s who. For many years, the Pride Festival was organized by Maui Pride, but when the organization became the Maui Equality Coalition last spring, it transitioned to focus on education, prevention, advocacy, collaboration, and community support for Maui’s LGBTQ+ youth and kupuna. Seeing a need to plan and host Pride festivities, the nonprofit Aloha Maui Pride was created to assume the role previously held by Maui Pride.
AMP’s mission is to bring Maui’s LGBTQ+ community and allies together to celebrate and honor the lives of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, non-binary, aikane, mahu wahine, and hahu kane people of any color, race, and national origin.
This year’s Aloha Maui Pride Festival events are taking place around the island of Maui from Thursday until Sunday, October 10-13. The festivities are an exciting range of community activities and celebrations that include dinner shows, a boat party, late night dancing, hiking, youth activities, and the main Pride Festival event at VFW Hall Maui in Kihei.
My quest to learn more about this year’s Aloha Maui Pride Festival began when my friend Tom Lombardo introduced me to Antonia DeBevec, board secretary for Aloha Maui Pride. Tom is the founder of BigTom Presents and the host of this year’s “Love Boat Party.”
Antonia introduced me to a team of AMP members, volunteer coordinators, and party planners for Maui’s 2019 Pride Festival. The group is welcoming and eager to grow awareness for their mission and this year’s festival, themed “A Celebration of Diversity and Inclusivity.” All are invited to attend.
Renee Kruger is an organizer for the Youth Skate Night that’s happening at Kalama Park in Kihei on Friday. The event invites all youth and their families to attend. There’ll be free pizza and refreshments, and members of the Maui Roller Girls team will be on site to contribute to the festivities. Kruger explained to me how important this event is because it builds a safe environment for all youth – whether or not they are LGBTQ+.
“All youth can thrive when they feel supported,” Kruger said. “Parents, schools, and communities can all play a role in helping LGBTQ+ youth feel physically and emotionally safe. Creating a community where LGBTQ+ students feel connected and accepted through school GSA [Gay Straight Alliance] clubs and youth events like this will help demonstrate our community’s commitment to creating safe, inclusive environments for all of our students.”
Kruger is also a board member of the Hawai‘i chapter of GLSEN. Pronounced “glisten,” GLSEN is a national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ+ students. For over 25 years, GLSEN has empowered students to affect change, conducted research, authored developmentally appropriate resources for educators, and worked with partners and decision makers to free LGBTQ+ students from bullying and harassment in schools.
Tom Lombardo has been creating and curating a variety of boat parties on Maui since January, with visiting and local DJs, positive vibes, and a great mix of attendees having fun in a safe atmosphere. He’s hosting “The Love Boat,” a complete fundraiser for Aloha Maui Pride taking place on Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Odyssey.
“The Pacific Whale Foundation has been a strong and supportive ally in providing us with a wonderful vessel for our charters,” said Tom. “The Ocean Odyssey holds almost 150 people, and the staff and crew have been so friendly and welcoming to us and all of our party people. They always seem to be having just as much fun as we are! PWF is one of our biggest sponsors too for this ‘Love Boat’ event, as they offered us a huge discount so that AMP could raise some money while keeping the ticket price affordable. It’s been a wonderful professional relationship with PWF since starting these boat parties last January.”
Jim Doran is the president of Aloha Maui Pride. He’s also organizing the Kanikapila Dinner Show that’s happening at Nalu’s in Kihei on Friday night. The dinner is perfect for community members that want to support this year’s Pride Festival in an intimate environment with a beautiful dinner and live music by Sistah Robi Kahakalau and Anthony Pfluke. He told me that Ron Panzo of Nalu’s has been instrumental in supporting Maui’s Pride Festival this year.
I asked Doran how Maui County has been involved in the festival this year. Although the Mayor’s Office hasn’t yet been involved with the Aloha Maui Pride Organization, the administration’s community liaison, Darlene Endrina, reached out to Aloha Maui Pride to partner with them on National Coming Out Day. Endrina has also been asked to be the mayor’s LGBTQ+ liaison. On Friday, October 11 at 3pm, Mayor Victorino will present a National Coming Out Day Proclamation in the Kalana O Maui (County) Building. The public is invited and asked to meet at the building by 2:45pm.
If you cannot make it to this year’s Pride events, there are still many ways that you can support the mission of Aloha Maui Pride. Throughout the year, the organization has a variety of fundraisers and festivities to enjoy. Maui residents and friends can also support AMP by becoming a corporate sponsor, volunteering at events, making donations (money or in-kind), and by becoming a member of the Aloha Maui Pride organization.
Prospective volunteers of all types can email AlohaMauiVolunteers@gmail.com. For more information, please email info@AlohaMauiPride.org, or visit AlohaMauiPride.org
2019 Aloha Maui Pride Festival Events
THURSDAY OCT. 10
A.M.P. IT UP MUSIC NIGHT – Here’s an amazing dance party with Hawaiian drumsong, chanting, R&B, ballads, and soul music by Nara Boone, Rabbitt, Makamae, John Galvan, and more. The MC for the night is Maui’s own Kathy Collins. 21+. $10 advance tickets online, $15 at the door. 7pm. Diamonds Ice Bar & Grill, (1279 S Kihei Rd. #233); Alohamauipride.org
FRIDAY OCT. 11
NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY– To honor this important day in history, Mayor Victorino will be present a proclamation at his office at 3pm. All that would like to be part of the event should meet at 2:45pm in the lobby of the Kalana O Maui (County) Building. Kalana O Maui Building, (200 S High St. Wailuku); Mauicounty.gov; Alohamauipride.org/pride-festival
KANIKAPILA DINNER SHOW – Attendees can enjoy a three-course dinner (with vegetarian options) and performances by two amazing Hawaiian artists: Sistah Robi Kahakalau and Anthony Pfluke. Tickets are available online. $40/person, includes dinner and show. Drinks will be sold separately. 6:30-9pm. Nalu’s South Shore Grill, (1280 S Kihei Rd.); Nalusmaui.com; Alohamauipride.org/pride-festival
YOUTH SKATE NIGHT – All are invited! Joining in the fun will be three Maui Roller Derby Girls (Pain Gwen, Skarre Bomb, and G.I. Jersey) showing off their skills on wheels! Look for the Pride table outside the rink to register. There’ll also be free pizza from Pizza Madness, snacks, and drinks. All ages are welcome. $5 skate rental (scholarships available). 5:45‐7pm. Kalama Park, (Kihei); Glsen.org/chapters/hawaii
FRIDAY OCT. 12
LA PEROUSE BAY HIKE – Hikers are asked to meet at Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall in Kihei at 8:30am. All will carpool together to the trail. After the hike, everyone will head back (around 12:30pm) to the Pride Festival together. Moderate hike. Go online for more information. Free. La Perouse Bay, (end of Makena Alanui Rd.); Facebook.com/Mauilgbthikinggroup
ALOHA MAUI PRIDE FESTIVAL – This year’s Pride Festival theme is “Diversity & Inclusivity.” Cathy Collins will be the event MC, and DJ Pash Sean and DJ Kurt will be creating the musical soundtrack for celebration! Performers include ManCandy Productions, Kau’i Kruger, the Teohi Nui Dance School, the Hawai’i All Star Cheer Group, and the Full Flava Band. There’ll also be speeches by local celebrities and Maui’s elected representatives. Attendees can also enjoy nonprofit information booths, food vendors, a silent auction, Aloha Maui Pride logo shirts for sale, and fun Pride giveaways! Free. 11am-3pm. VFW Maui, (1136 Uluniu Rd., Kihei); Alohamauipride.org/pride-festival
THE LOVE BOAT – Hosted by BigTom Presents, “The Love Boat” boat party will be on the Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Odyssey. DJ Bradford Lane from Kaua‘i will lay down the tunes, and the cruise includes three drinks and pupus. There’ll be Aloha Maui Pride logo merchandise for sale, special surprises, and giveaways. Attendees are asked to meet at the PWF Ocean Store in Ma‘alaea at 3:45pm to register. The boat will be on the water from 5-8pm. Ma‘alaea Harbor; Alohamauipride.org/pride-festival
MANCANDY PRIDE PARTY– Hosted by ManCandy Productions, enjoy music by DJ Play with Fire Ono, DJ Kurt, and DJ Pash Sean. There’ll also be amazing performances by the lovely Drag Queens between sets. 21+. $10 at the door. Doors open at 8:30pm. Sunsets Bar & Grill, (470 Lipoa Pkwy., Kihei); Facebook.com/mancandypromaui
SATURDAY OCT. 13
PRIDE BEACH BBQ & POTLUCK– Hosted by the Womyn’s Breakfast Club, guests are asked to bring a dish to share and enjoy hamburgers, chicken, or veggie burgers. There’ll be a host of fun family-friendly events like lawn games, pickleball, live music by DJ Kalei, dancing, local vendors, a silent auction, and a rainbow tie-dye station. There’ll also be a closing blessing. BYOB. Open to all LGBTQ+ and their supporters. Free. 12pm-sunset. VFW Maui, (1136 Uluniu Rd., Kihei); Alohamauipride.org/pride-festival
For more information about Aloha Maui Pride, visit Alohamauipride.org
Cover design by Albert Cortez
Images courtesy Aloha Maui Pride