BREAKING: 98th Maui Fair postponed to 2023

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The long-awaited 98th Maui Fair, which already had been canceled twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held in 2023, organizers announced Wednesday night.

“While we hoped to hold the 98th Maui Fair in 2022, the Maui Fair Alliance Board reluctantly decided to postpone the fair until 2023,” a news release from the alliance said. “Securing operational commitments from service providers, volunteers and vendors proved too challenging to put on the fair in 2022.”

Fernandez Events, which operates the popular rides in the Joy Zone section of the fair, informed the alliance that it is not doing Neighbor Island fairs this year because of high shipping costs and lingering staff shortages, the alliance said.

“Our hearts are heavy knowing we will not be gathering for our 98th annual celebration this year,” Avery Chumbley, alliance president, said in a news release. “Our highest priority is to hold a fair where guests, participants and our community will be treated to the style and magnitude of past annual fairs.”

The alliance said it met with Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino to discuss possible government assistance and funding. While the mayor was supportive, the available resources aren’t enough to enable the alliance to hold the fair this year.

One of the most popular events on Maui, the fair draws about 90,000 people annually and is a major fundraising opportunity for many local schools, clubs and nonprofits.

Since the first one in 1916, the fair has only been canceled a few times — once during World War I and three times during World War II, Chumbley has previously said.

The fair was postponed in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when gatherings were restricted and many businesses were reeling financially.

Even with the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, organizers canceled the fair for a second year in a row, pointing out the difficulty of enforcing social distancing and concerns of sparking an outbreak.

Since the end of COVID-19 restrictions in late March, some largescale in-person events have started to come back on Maui and across the state.

Oahu, for example, is holding its 50th State Fair at Aloha Stadium from May 27 to July 4.

Maui Fair organizers said they want to be able to bring back the same enjoyment of years past.

“We all want to be able to come together and enjoy each other’s company at a full-sized quality event like the one we experienced in the past and that our community expects from the alliance; unfortunately, the challenges to make that happen this year are just too great to overcome,” said Sherri Grimes, managing director of the fair.

For more information, visit mauifair.com.

Comments and concerns can be shared with Chumbley at abc@aloha.net.


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