A classic affair

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy ruled the news. The price of a first-class stamp was 4 cents. Kodak debuted its instamatic camera. “Beverly Hillbillies” was No.1 on television.

It was also the year that Sheraton Maui Resort opened on Kaanapali Beach near Pu’u Keka’a or Black Rock, offering room rates for $15; and when the first Mainland commercial flight to Maui brought movie stars such as Bing Crosby and sports greats like Sam Snead to the island aboard a United Airlines Mark IV DC-8 jet.

From 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11, the resort will be Celebrating 50 Classic Years at Sheraton Maui with a big blast from the island past.

Yes, a special four-course vintage meal will be offered at $19.63 per person, and it includes tax and gratuity.

“Maui Classic Cruisers will display ’60s cars, Tori Richards will do a fashion show, and Leo Kani will perform,” says Alexis Eaton, the resort’s public relations manager. “His dad, Danny Kapoi Jr., performed in the Discovery Room back in the day. It’s now the presidential, or Ali’i suite.”

The party will be set up on the oceanfront lawn with sunset and island views.

“You can see all of the classic cars, talk to the owners, the band will be playing onstage, and I’ll prepare the various courses,” says Greg Gaspar, executive chef, who worked there in the early ’80s as a fledgling young culinarian.

Begin with chilled fresh papaya wrapped in prosciutto, cherry tomatoes stuffed with Maine bay shrimp, spicy-ahi-poke won tons, and tako poke mixed with Maui onion and Kamuela tomatoes.

The next course is Waipoli greens with grilled Big Island hearts of palm, drizzled in passion fruit vinaigrette.

“We’ll offer two proteins for the entree,” says Gaspar. “We’re honoring the classics, but adding a modern twist.”

Sink your teeth into the Hawaii Rancher’s grilled rib-eye steak with Ali’i mushrooms; and savor the Tahitian pepper-spiced pan-roasted Pacific salmon.

Dessert will be Fuji-apple fruit tarts with melted Vermont cheddar cheese, Hawaiian sweet-bread pudding with chocolate sauce, and assorted anniversary petit fours set out on each table.

As you enjoy the family-style meal, watch the cliff-diving ceremony that’s been around for decades at the resort that underwent a $160 million renovation.

“It’s really a throwback evening. We want everyone to celebrate our rich history here at the resort.”

In addition to the feast, there will be a cash bar with fun drinks such as the signature Makana, packed with Okolehau Rum from Haleakala Distillers and other liqueurs. It’s a take on the Bali Hai.

There will also be a full cash bar with mai tais, beer, wine and anything your retro heart desires.

“The entire Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa ‘ohana is enthused about celebrating our golden anniversary,” says Tetsuji Yamazaki, general manager. “Come and celebrate the legend!”

Seating is limited. Anniversary room rates are available. For tickets, call reservations at (808) 921-4600.