New attractions, ride added to fair lineup

Annual four-day event begins Thursday

A street party, fried rice competition, the Seven Seas ride that takes riders “over the top” and an interactive Hawaiian culture program are just some of the new attractions at this year’s 95th Maui Fair, which begins Thursday.

And for the foodies: The flying saucer is back after a one-year hiatus.

Being called “Maui Fair Saucers,” the circular-shaped sandwich filled with a hamburger mix will be made by a different group, the Royal Order of Kamehameha Chapter 4, said Maui Fair Managing Director Sherri Grimes. Through the years, various groups, including schools and veterans organizations, made the Hot Pocket-like treats.

The Maui Fair, with a theme this year of “Celebrating the Greatest Things in Life,” will run Thursday through Sunday at the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku.

“The theme says it all on how I feel,” Grimes said. “It’s opened great energy on creating more attractions to our fair.”

The Seven Seas ride is the newest “greatest thing” added to the fair. It is “a spectacular platform ride that whisks riders left to right and over the top in a fast pace motion,” Grimes explained. “As riders crest the top, they experience a free fall sensation.”

Grimes confirmed what longtime residents had observed — that the E.K. Fernandez rides arrived later than usual at the War Memorial fields, with setup beginning last week.

“They were delayed coming from the Big Island, unrelated to what we’ve been working on with shipping,” Grimes said.

In early September, the Maui Fair had to yet sign a contract with E.K. Fernandez. The company had expressed concerns over increased shipping rates that led to the cancellation of the Maui County Carnival in March.

However, company officials said in September that they were speaking to Maui Fair officials and that there would be no problem with the rides.

“(The) E.K. Fernandez crew are very professional and seasoned and they will be able to build all rides, inspect and test prior to the opening of our fair this Thursday,” Grimes said of the later-than-usual arrival.

Other new attractions this year are:

• Maui Fair Street Party at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the main street of the fair that will be filled with entertainers, cartoon characters, jugglers, dancers and stilt-walkers.

• Maui Fire Fighters Fried Rice Competition at 3 p.m. Sunday in the entertainment tent. It will be a benefit for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Patient Transportation Fund, and sample sizes will be available for a donation.

• Pa Hale Hawai’i, which will be presented by Punana Leo o Maui at various times each day of the fair. Activities and events include kapa-making, different types of weaving, make-it-and-take-it crafting and a Hawaiian navigation demonstration. The events will be held in front of War Memorial Gym.

The events arena with local talent will have a new staging venue “sitting under the stars” near the products and services exhibit tent. This arena is in addition to the larger entertainment tent at the food and festival village.

The first “World of JAM Dance Competition,” featuring duo, solo and group competitions, will be held. World of Dance competitors “Blank Canvas” will be making an appearance, Grimes said.

All of these new activities join the traditional fair activities such as agricultural, photo, art, animal husbandry and Orchidland exhibitions; delicious foods made by local nonprofit groups; and entertainment by Willie K, Kalani Pe’a and Da Braddahs.

It will cost more to enter the fair this year due to rising security costs, fair officials said. Tickets at the gate will be $10 for adults and $5 for children 5 to 11 years old Thursday to Saturday. Last year’s prices were $7 and $3, respectively.

Sunday’s entrance fees, which traditionally have been discounted, are the same as last year’s regular prices. On Sunday, the first 2,000 people get in free, courtesy of Fun Factory.

Children 4 years old and under still are free.

The cost of rides will be discounted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and all day Sunday.

Fair hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday; 5 p.m. to midnight Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, go to www.mauifair.com and or see Maui Fair on Facebook.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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