LAHAINA - Celebrating the completion of the IMAGINE community planning process for the Lahaina Harbor area and commemorating the opening of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) exhibits in the Old Lahaina Courthouse, Lahaina Restoration Foundation will present "Celebrate Historic Lahaina" on Friday, Aug. 23, and Saturday, Aug. 24. The celebration events are free and open to the public.
On Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., the grand opening of the NOAA exhibits and reopening of the Lahaina Heritage Museum will take place in the Old Lahaina Courthouse.
A reception, speeches and blessing ceremony by Kekoa Yap will be followed by tours of the new exhibit and interactive displays.
Features of the new center on both floors of the courthouse include an extensive collection of black and white photos that document early 20th century Lahaina; videos about Hawaiian culture, Hawaii's history and marine topics shown in a new video theater; interactive topographical map of Maui that illuminates key landmarks around the island; a touch screen kiosk with information about the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary; display panels that depict the natural environment of the Hawaiian Islands and protection of marine resources; interpretive panels on the courthouse lanai that cover the historical sites and marine sanctuary within view from it; and a museum exhibit that showcases the significant eras of Lahaina's history, including Ancient Times, Monarchy Period, Whaling/Missionary and Plantation/Tourism, as well as law in Hawaii.
On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public can enjoy a variety of activities between the Old Lahaina Courthouse, Banyan Tree Park, Lahaina Harborfront and Lahaina Library Park.
Under Lahaina's landmark Banyan Tree, an arts and crafts fair will be held along with Hawaiian musical entertainment and art-in-action projects, including a marine mural by Lahaina Arts Association and whale's tail painting by marine sanctuary staff.
A keiki fishing game will be presented by the National Marine Fisheries Service in conjunction with the Hawaii Sanctuary Classic Fishing Contest coordinated by Lahaina Yacht Club and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
On the ocean in front of Lahaina Public Library, Lahaina Yacht Club will host its Junior Sailing Program with nine-foot sailboats and give free sails on its 30-foot sailboat.
The third annual Grom Surf Bash will be held at the makai library lawn with young surfers on the waves of U'o in the harbor surf break. Ancient Hawaiian games will take place on the library lawn, featuring 'ulu maika, konane, spear throwing and more.
Guided walking tours of historic Lahaina will be offered by Lahaina Restoration Foundation. Lahaina's double-hulled sailing canoe, Mo'olele, will be moored near the makai library lawn, and Hui O Wa'a Kaulua will discuss the soon-to-be-completed Mo'okiha O Pi'ilani sailing canoe.
A raised bed, dry lo'i kalo (taro patch) will be installed on the mauka library lawn. Hands-on cultural demonstrations and tastings will be available throughout the day.
Lahaina Restoration Foundation Executive Director Theo Morrison remarked, "These projects are being celebrated together because they both emphasize Hawaiian culture and history, and they represent the culmination of effective community-based planning processes."
Over a decade ago, when the Interpretive Master Plan for the Historic District of the Town of Lahaina was developed by the executive directors of Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Friends of Moku'ula and LahainaTown Action Committee, they recommended the creation of a centralized location where residents and visitors could go for an overview of the extensive history and culture of Lahaina.
With funding from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to assist the federally managed National Marine Sanctuaries with education and outreach programs that promote meaningful opportunities for public interaction with the marine sanctuaries, the NOAA exhibits and new Lahaina Heritage Museum display called "Always Lahaina" have become a reality and will be finished in August.
The IMAGINE community planning project was funded with a grant from the County of Maui Department of Planning. The project's study area at Lahaina Harborfront is from Market Street at the north end, proceeding along the ocean to Canal Street at the south end and along Front Street on the mountain side.
From a nine-month planning process ending on June 30, four areas of focus have come forth: to instill respect for the cultural and historical sites, ease traffic congestion in the area, increase management of the area's resources, and make the area safe for all users.
The purpose behind the "Celebrate Historic Lahaina" events is to bring the community back to the harbor area and bring awareness to its many Hawaiian cultural sites.
These events will serve as a kick-off for the implementation of the IMAGINE project in creating a year-round Native Hawaiian sense of place in the area.
Celebrate Historic Lahaina is produced by Lahaina Restoration Foundation and sponsored by the County of Maui Department of Planning with support and participation by many community groups.
For more information, call the LRF office at 661-3262 or visit www.LahainaRestoration.org.