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Maui Friday Town Parties — Third Friday Makawao

December 9, 2012 - Leah Sherman

How it is that it is almost the middle of December? I feel so behind.

On Nov. 16, I had a rare Friday night off. I've been to the First Friday in Wailuku event several times and always find it enjoyable, so I figured I'd see what the county-sponsored Maui Friday Town Parties are like in another part of the island. Makawao is home to the Third Friday event, so I planned — along with my usually-up-for-almost-anything friends M & L — to venture up the hill.

Before leaving home that afternoon, I sensed that things might not be as I hoped. It was chilly even in Kihei. But I threw on some long pants and checked to make sure there was an umbrella in my car before I headed into Kahului for some holiday shopping.

Around 4:45 p.m., I got a text from M saying that her sister-in-law reported it was raining and 65 degrees in Makawao. M, who had planned to bring her 2-year-old along to the festivities, wasn't sure she still wanted to go (completely understandable).

So, I called L's phone and left her a message asking what she wanted to do, because I was not driving to Makawao if I was going to be alone in the rain.

This is turning into a long story, so fast-forward to everyone back on board to go (except the 2-year-old, who stayed home with her father).

Once in Makawao, I parked at the Makawao Hongwanji Mission, which charges $5 for the evening. Free parking is available at the Makawao Base Yard (across from St. Joseph Church), two parking lots on Brewer Road and the municipal parking lot on Makawao Avenue near the library, according to the Maui Friday Town Parties website (see link at right).

The Makawao Third Friday event is held along Baldwin Avenue which, on this particular night, was closed to traffic between Makawao Avenue and the Makawao Steak House. (I'm told that previous Third Fridays have not closed the road. The Wailuku event always closes Market Street between Main and Vineyard street.)

Due to the rain, there were few vendors on the street. But the ones that were there were quality. I warmed up with some hot caramel apple cider and L's husband enjoyed his rib plate — once we found an empty tent for him to stand under while he ate. All of the businesses along Baldwin Avenue were open and at least two offered discounts during the event.

The planned tree-lighting ceremony didn't happen. Nor did bands from two nearby schools perform. There was, however, a small group playing music and hula dancing at the Paia end of the closed road.

In the end, I have to say, “Sorry, Makawao, but the Nov. 16 event disappointed.” I know it was because of the rain and cold. Hopefully I can return sometime when the weather is better.

“Maui Friday Town Parties is an initiative developed by the Maui County Office of Economic Development to showcase our island’s historic towns and celebrate the unique nature of their businesses communities,” according the Maui Friday Town Parties website.

The events are held from 6 to 9 p.m. the first four Fridays of each month — First Friday, Wailuku; Second Friday, Lahaina; Third Friday, Makawao; and, beginning this month, Fourth Friday, Kihei (at Azeka Mauka). Each community really does have a unique personality and, therefore, each event really is different from the others. Check all of them out. I hear that the Lahaina event (held on Front Street) includes a chicken wing-eating contest — yum/fun.


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A hula dancer and band perform in the rain on Baldwin Avenue during the Nov. 16 Third Friday Makawao event.


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