Last year the Maui Fair got a new name (just the Maui Fair, not Maui County Fair), but almost a century's worth of family fun continued its long tradition.
The 2012 version of Maui's biggest party opens tonight at the War Memorial Complex and runs through Sunday. This will be the 90th edition.
Kicked off by the annual parade at 4:30 this afternoon, the fair traces its roots back to 1918. Ninety-four years later, it's still the biggest family-oriented entertainment of the year.
Originally organized to celebrate what was 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.
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 brought in by E.K. Fernandez, a company that erects and runs today's "Joy Zone."
For everyone, the fair provides a chance to meet seldom-seen friends and enjoy the bustle of crowds. No one worries about rain. The fair is well covered.
The fair is a major fundraiser for more than 60 nonprofit and community groups. The fair runs through Sunday night - the result of hundreds of volunteers working long hours to make sure Maui's biggest party is a roaring success.
See you at the fair!
(Portions of this editorial have appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.