Ahh, the Maui County Fair: land of smoke meat plate, chow fun and cotton candy. So I suppose it’s logical that this year the Fair is “partnering” with Sack N Save, Foodland and Maui Soda & Ice Works to give away free admission tickets.
Well, sort of give away. Everyone who buys “two 12-packs of any Coca-Cola product and two 1/2-gallon containers of Roselani Ice Cream,” according to a Sept. 8, 2005 press release, gets “one adult pass to the Fair, absolutely free.”
That’s 24 Cokes and a full gallon of ice cream—enough sugar and fat to pretty much bring down a charging rhino—just to get one free ticket.
Let’s do the math on this one. A 12-pack of Coca-Cola goes for $6.59 (or $5.99 if you buy it at Foodland with your discount Maika’i Card). A half-gallon of Roselani Ice Cream retails for about the same: $6.45 ($5.99 Maika’i). Since you have to buy two of each to get a single free fair ticket, your grand total at the checkout line will be $26.08 ($23.96 Maika’i).
Now compare that to the fact that Maui County Fair tickets sell for a whole three bones if bought before Sept. 22—fools who wait until they get to the gate have to pony up a staggering $3.50 at the gate.
“The Fair has always been about tradition and family values, and we feel these companies share that same philosophy,” said Maui County Fair director Mike Victorino in the release.
Reading that almost makes you forget that more than 20 percent of Hawai’i’s children are obese, according to a 2001 study conducted by the University of Hawai’i and Brigham Young University. Hawai’i’s obesity rate is double the national average.
“It’s not known why kids are relentlessly drawn to soda pop, candy, animal food and junk food, but surely advertising of these items must be part of it,” William Harris, M.D., one of the founders of the Vegetarian Society of Hawai’i, told me a few months ago.
He should know, because in 1993, he wrote a report for the American Vegan Society titled “TANSTAAFSL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.”
“Obesity, a common concern for U.S. high school students, is often the result of consuming animal source foods in a sedentary society,” Harris wrote. “Excessive cholesterol and fat consumption patterns acquired in childhood, lead to adult risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer of the bowel, breast, prostate, and uterus. Animal source protein may be implicated in musculoskeletal disease, genitourinary disease, insulin dependent diabetes, lymphatic cancer, and osteoporosis.”
But hey, we’re talking one free fair ticket here.