Breathtaking as they breach the surface of the glistening waters off the Maui coastline. Through winter and spring, the majestic humpback whale migrates from their northern home in Alaska to mate, calve and nurse their young. During whale season, guests can witness this magnificent mammal in its natural habitat; more than 12,000 whales migrate to Hawaii every year. The Maui Whale Festival, celebrating its 35th year, is held to honor the fascinating humpback whale as well as raise awareness to the challenges they face. The event is free to the public.
Days of Festivities
The festival’s activities start on Friday evening with “Whales under the Stars” held at Kalama Park. Pacific Whale Foundation’s Founder and Executive Director, Greg Kaufman will lead an interactive presentation that includes stories and insights from his more than 35 years in the field of preservation and ecotourism. Though the event is free, there is limited seating. You can make a reservation or bring your own lawn chair and blanket.
Parade of Whales
Saturday morning begins the festival with the Parade of Whales. At 9am the parade will follow South Kihei Road to Kalahama Park. Comprised of delightful characters and floats, the Parade will also play host to local celebrities and politicians with a surprise Grand Marshall. The parade is announced by local DJs from KPOA and prizes are awarded to participants in several categories.
Whale Day at the Park
This year’s festival will take place at Kalahama Park in Kihei. The day will be filled with live music, traditional performances, a dance party, food booths, local artisans, information kiosks of non-profits looking to protect Maui’s marine life and habitat as well as a carnival for the kiddies. You can also enter the Wild & Wonderful Whale Regatta – a fast-paced race of rubber whales, vying for the finish line.
Pacific Whale Foundation
World Whale Day and the Maui Whale Festival is presented by the Pacific Whale Foundation. The non-profit was founded in 1980 to advocate for whales and other marine life through research, education and awareness. The organization is international and continues its global efforts to protect the ocean wildlife and their natural habitat.
Stay and Play
When planning your trip to attend the festival, discover the best in Maui Vacation Rentals at Kaanapali Alii near Lahaina. The resort boasts accommodations that are nearly 4 times as large as a standard hotel room, a tropical pool and activity center, steps away from Kaanapali Beach and amenities that make your vacation a paradise retreat.