96th Maui Fair starts tomorrow

The tradition of family fun continues this weekend at the 96th Maui Fair at the War Memorial Complex.

The theme of this year’s fair is “Celebrating the Good Ol’ Days.” It will run from Thursday through Sunday.

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

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.

There are Livestock and Poultry Exhibits, a Chili Contest and Fried Rice Challenge presented by Maui Firefighters, a Baby of the Year Contest, and a Horticulture Exhibit. On Friday night at 10 p.m., there will be a Karaoke Showdown; Saturday night at 10 p.m., there will be a Breakdance Competition.

Additionally, this year there will be daily Maui Street Fair parties Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

There is daily entertainment. Perennial favorite Willie K will be the final act Sunday night performing from 9:30-10:30 p.m.

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. This year there will be new E. K. Fernandez rides in the fair’s Joy Zone.

The fair is a major fund-raiser 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.