95th Maui Fair begins Thursday

The tradition of family fun continues this weekend at the 95th Maui Fair at the War Memorial Complex.

The theme of this year’s fair is “Celebrating the Greatest Things in Life.”

Kicked off by the annual parade Thursday afternoon at 4:30, the fair is still the biggest family oriented entertainment of the year. The parade will begin at UH-Maui College, proceed up Kaahumanu Avenue, turn right on to Kanaloa Avenue and end at War Memorial Stadium parking lot.

Originally organized to celebrate what were then Maui’s main businesses, agriculture and ranching, the fair has always been a private, nonprofit event. In the early years, at the old fairgrounds on Puunene Avenue, it was the center of the state’s horse racing with owners, riders and high rollers coming from around the state.

Despite fears as late as last month that shipping costs might keep the E.K. Fernandez rides from being at this year’s fair, that obstacle has been overcome and the rides are here.

There are Livestock and Poultry Exhibits, a Chili Contest presented by Maui Firefighters, a Baby of the Year Contest, a Pie Baking Contest and a Horticulture Exhibit. Additionally, this year there will be daily Maui Street Fair parties Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5:30 p.m. On Sunday, Maui Firefighters will sponsor a Fried Rice Cooking Contest at 3:30 p.m.

There is daily entertainment. Among those appearing this year are Willie K, Kalani Pe’a and Da Braddahs.

Kamaaina love the fair for its food, exhibitions, entertainment and the midway with its old-fashioned games of chance. For newcomers, the fair is an opportunity to sample island lifestyle and culture. For keiki, the fair is all about the rides. The keiki and many of the adults can’t wait to hit the rides in the “Joy Zone.”

The fair is a major fundraiser for more than 60 nonprofit and community groups. The fair runs from Thursday through Sunday night — the result of hundreds of volunteers working long hours to make sure Maui’s biggest party is a roaring success. 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.

See you at the fair!

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.