It's the time of year when the humpback whales are filling the seas around Maui with their haunting underwater songs and their dramatic, high-energy behaviors. Continuing through March 31, the 2014 Maui Whale Festival that began on Saturday, Feb. 1, with the Run and Walk for the Whales, will celebrate the presence of the whales off Maui and raise public awareness about the need to protect these endangered marine mammals and their ocean habitats. The festival is organized and hosted by the nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation. Complete information about the festival can be found at www.mauiwhalefestival.org.
On Friday, Feb. 14, Pacific Whale Foundation will present "Whales Under the Stars," a free talk and multimedia presentation by whale research pioneer, activist and author Greg Kaufman, the founder and executive director of Pacific Whale Foundation. The talk will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Kalama Park's ball field. Folding chairs will be available or bring your own lawn chair and picnic blanket. Admission is free.
Maui's Parade of Whales will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, along South Kihei Road from Alanui Keali'i Drive to Waimaihaihai Street. Legendary rock icon Mick Fleetwood, cofounder and drummer of Fleetwood Mac, will be the parade's grand marshal, accompanied by colorful floats, dancers, march-ers, musicians and more.
Immediately following the parade, the 34th Annual World Whale Day Celebration will begin at 10 a.m. and continue through 7 p.m. This free community event features a special guest performance by Fleetwood and the R.T. Metoyer Blues, Rock and Soul Revue plus entertainment by John Cruz, Anuhea, Na Hoa, Marty Dread, Ekolu, George Kahumoku Jr., Dr. Nat and Rio Ritmo and Manute'a Nui E.
World Whale Day also includes a children's carnival, huge "Made on Maui" artisans fair, food booths, environmental displays and more.
The County of Maui Office of Parks and Recreation, County of Maui Office of Economic Development, First Wind, Hawai'i Tourism Authority, Menehune Water, Pacific Radio Group and the Maui Weekly are the event sponsors.