Pacific Whale Foundation entered into a new grant partnership with County of Maui, Office of Economic Development, and the Friday Town Party program to recognize this month’s Maui Whale Festival, which replaces Maui’s long running Whale Day festivites. This year’s event, designated “Kīhei 4th Friday Celebrates Maui Whale Festival,” is scheduled for Friday, February 22, 2019 from 6-9pm at Azeka Mauka. The festival is free and open to the public.
Maui Whale Festival, historically known Whale Day, was typically celebrated in late April on Earth Day. The event, dating back to 1980, was initially held in a parking lot in central Kīhei. From sunrise to sunset, Maui residents and visitors celebrated the work of local environmentalist groups, live entertainment, food booths and family-friendly activities. Over time, a Run & Walk for Whales and conservation rally were included, earning the event a mayoral proclamation that encouraged all citizens to support and participate in programs that seek to protect whales.
“In time, Whale Day grew beyond Pacific Whale Foundation’s wildest dreams, from 2,000 participants in its 10th year to 20,000 in its 37th, eventually requiring all of Kalama Park in Kīhei,” said Acting Executive Director Kristie Wrigglesworth. “Today, Maui Whale Festival is offered in February, peak humpback whale season, in Wailuku Town, Kīhei, Lahaina and Ma‘alaea with major activities occurring on a weekly basis that allow residents and visitors many more opportunities for engagement. Stay tuned for updates regarding next year’s festivities, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary!”
The February 22 event feature live music along with free ocean themed fun for all ages, ‘ono food, more than 45 local vendors, keiki activities and eco programs.
“We are thrilled to have three of Hawaii’s top artists perform for the community: Anuhea, Kimié Miner, and Paula Fuga,” said Marketing & Development Director Kelly McHugh, “My friend Kaimana Brummel put us in touch when I let her know about the cause, and Anuhea’s management team curated an incredible lineup of fierce women!”
Maui-raised Anuhea said she is excited to use her platform as a local musician to take on an active role in teaching and advocating for Pacific Whale Foundation and its efforts. “I want to help malama our Hawai‘i shorelines from debris that get swept into the ocean, I want to educate Hawai‘i residents on how we can be involved with conserving our precious natural resources, and I want to teach tourists and visitors about just how precious our ocean is, and how our actions can impact the water,” Anuhea said. “I want to perpetuate the education of not just our youth, but also adults, kupuna and the entire community. Now more than ever before, it is vital for our community to get involved and be aware of our environment, to make changes to ensure the health and wellbeing of our whales and ocean animals.”
Kīhei 4th Friday Celebrates Maui Whale Festival will be a zero-waste event, with food vendors agreeing to be plastic free and to use compostable products for this special occasion. Maui Huliau Foundation will host several waste stations on-site and will separate and compost all qualifying material off-site. Individuals showing their reusable products, like water containers, straws, or utensils, to PWF Ocean Store booth staff will be entered to win an eco prize pack.
“Living in Hawai‘i, we have an obligation to preserve this gorgeous place that we call home,” Anuhea said. “The earth is changing, and if we’re not careful, the ocean that we grew up playing in might be gone. I want to learn as much as I can about conservation, and protecting our shorelines, oceans and of course our whales and ocean animals, and teach others everything I’ve learned so we can continue to pass down the beauty that we grew up with, to our children, and for generations to come. Because of this, I am proud to be a Pacific Whale Foundation Ocean Ambassador!”
Additional performances by Andrew and Jay Molina will be at the food court and the Banana Slug String Band will be entertaining children in the Keiki Zone. This award-winning band has been playing music for children for more than 30 years in 40 states and five countries. With guitars, voices, crazy characters, and an extraordinary ability to connect with children, they change the world, one child at a time. Keiki will also enjoy playing ocean related games, getting their face painted, doing the spider jump, and sifting through sand to discover the buried fossils of Maui’s ocean creatures, hosted by 4 Kids Quick Science, and even get to take their find home.
In addition to a number of local vendor booths and food offerings, there will also be eco-vendor booths where guests can learn what partnering non-profit groups are doing to create a healthy island ecosystem.