LAHAINA - Start with a stack of 3,500 candy canes. Sprinkle in seasonal performances from cultural, community and school groups. Round it all out with the jolly old elf himself, and you've got holiday happenings at Lahaina Cannery Mall.
"We're entering our 25th year as a center, and we relish our role as part of the holiday tradition for many Maui families," said Lynn Okamoto, the mall's general manager. "We see our friends and neighbors out here each December visiting Santa, listening to carols, shopping and wrapping presents. We're part of the extended 'ohana. We've literally had the opportunity to see families grow up here."
An unabashed fan of the holiday season, Okamoto said that even though turning the center into a holiday destination takes a lot of work, the effort is worth it. The 20-foot-tall lighted tree on the front lawn alone takes several hours to erect but always draws friendly honking from passing vehicles on Honoapiilani Highway. Tall as it may be, Okamoto said the tree is just a small part of the holiday festivities that Lahaina Cannery Mall has become known for.
Talk story with Santa at Lahaina Cannery Mall Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 8:30 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., and 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 8-9, 13, 15-16 and 20-23. Holiday photo packages are available from Imaging Plus Hawaii.
"The tree is a nice way to let Maui know we're in the spirit of the season," said Okamoto, "but the whole center has really become known as a gathering place around the holidays, and throughout the year."
As for the 3,500 candy canes, if you've been nice this year, you can get yours direct from St. Nick. He and his helpers are at the air-conditioned shopping center most days until Christmas Eve for photos and last-minute requests.