The Maui Fair managing director said Tuesday that "things are going really well" as preparations continued - including in the Joy Zone with its two new rides - at the War Memorial Complex for the 91st annual event that runs from Thursday to Sunday.
Sherri Grimes, who was busy getting things ready, said fair officials were expecting about the same numbers as last year, 94,000 people, with possibly "a little bump up."
Among favorite rides, such as the Zipper and Music Express, will be two new attractions - the Jungle Twist and Magic Maze. Grimes described the Jungle Twist as a roller coaster that twirls around and will likely draw the intermediate age/teenage crowd. The Magic Maze, for all ages, is a maze that offers surprises but not scary elements.
Ride operator Oliver Silva tightens a turnbuckle on the Fire Ball on Tuesday
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
There are some new food vendors and an exhibition of robotics, she said. A robotics competition, a staple of the fair for several years that attracted teams from across the state, will not be held this year due to scheduling conflicts, she said.
With its beginnings in 1916, Grimes said that the goal has been to retain the family affair that the fair has always been and to "keep the tradition and bring in the new."
The fair kicks off with the Maui Fair Parade on Thursday, beginning at 4:30 p.m. High school bands, Boy and Girl Scouts, big rigs and floats from Maui organizations march and roll from the University of Hawaii Maui College, down Kaahumanu Avenue, turn onto Kanaloa Avenue and end near the baseball stadium.
The two Wailuku-bound lanes of Kaahumanu Avenue from Kahului Beach Road to Kanaloa Avenue will be closed with Paia-bound lanes of Kaahumanu closed from South Papa to Wakea avenues for the parade. All lanes of Kanaloa Avenue will be closed from the intersection of Kaahumanu Avenue to Park Drive at Keopuolani Park.
The road closures will begin at 4:15 p.m. with traffic returning to normal at 6:30 p.m.
The grand marshal of the parade is the Baldwin High robotics team that has captured state titles and competed nationally.
The fair gate schedule is:
* Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m.
* Friday, 5 p.m. to midnight.
* Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight.
* Sunday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The 24th Special Fair for people with disabilities will be held Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There will be entertainment at the fair including Kapena, Da Braddahs and Makaha Sons; food concessions from poi mochi to waffle cake with ice cream; livestock and poultry exhibits; art, horticulture and photo contests and displays; and commercial exhibits and more.
Paid parking is available in lots around the fair. Free park-and-ride shuttle services will run from the county building and Wells Park lots in Wailuku, the UH-Maui College soccer fields on Wahinepio Street and Keopuolani Park in Kahului and the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center at the bus depot location fronting Mina Pharmacy.
The Wailuku and Kahului shuttles run every 10 to 20 minutes; the shuttles run about 30 to 40 minutes from the shopping center.
The Wailuku and Kahului shuttle times are:
* Thursday, after the parade about 6 to 11:30 p.m.
* Friday, 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
* Saturday, 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
* Sunday, 6 to 11:30 p.m.
The Queen Ka'ahumanu Center shuttle times are:
* Friday, 5 to 9 p.m.
* Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
* Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission for Thursday to Saturday is $7 for adults, $3 for children 5 to 11 years old and free for children 4 and younger. On Sunday, prices are $5 for adults, $2 for children 5 to 11 and free for children 4 and younger. The first 2,000 people get in free Sunday in a Fun Factory promotion.
For more information, go to www.mauifair.com, twitter.com/MauiFair or Facebook/MauiFair.
* Lee Imada can be reached at email@example.com.