LAHAINA - During the 45th annual Sacred Hearts Bazaar this weekend, Joan McKelvey will be honored with the Living Legend Award on Saturday evening for her contributions to the school and community.
Students of today may not know that if McKelvey and other community leaders didn't get involved, Sacred Hearts School may have closed after it burned down on Aug. 18, 1971.
"The fire burned the school down," recalled McKelvey, 91. "The parish priest of the time, in conference in Honolulu, said they decided not to rebuild.
"I thought, 'We are losing the only Catholic school on this side. We have to have one.' "
McKelvey joked that she had an "ulterior motive" - she wanted to send her sons, Angus and Ian, then ages three and two, respectively, to the school located at the corner of Wainee and Dickenson streets.
She went to Maria Lanakila Church and asked to speak to the mother-in-charge of the Missionary Sisters of Faith.
McKelvey was told the mother-in-charge prayed all night.
"When the sister came out, I told her, 'I would like to help you rebuild the school.' She said, 'Oh Dear God, you've answered my prayers!' "
"I never thought of myself as a messenger from God," McKelvey said, laughing.
She said key players in the campaign to rebuild the school were the late Tony Vierra and Joe Pueschel of Pioneer Mill.
They decided that the bazaar would be the first fundraiser.
"We had fundraisers all over," McKelvey said, and pleas for funds went out in letters across the state and country.
The bishop in Honolulu told the group, "If you can raise $120,000 by mid-February, you can have your school," McKelvey remembered, "thinking that we couldn't do it."
In dollar value and purchasing power, that would be like coming up with over $700,000 today.
"So we went to work, and we raised it. And so we got the school," she said.
Pueschel was a big help, leveraging manpower and equipment from nearby Pioneer Mill to build the campus that stands today.
McKelvey said she was surprised when she was told of the Living Legend Award honor. She is retired and enjoys reading books at home.
Bazaar volunteer Joanna Stockham said McKelvey is being honored for her efforts in rebuilding the school and her work in the community, which includes helping to launch LahainaTown Action Committee and Lahaina Arts Society.
The 45th annual Sacred Hearts Bazaar will be held on Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, from 4 to 10 p.m. at the school campus. The event lineup includes old favorites and many fun new activities.
The Food Court will include restaurant-sponsored booths from Leilani's on the Beach, Roundtable Pizza and Paradise Grill, as well as a Kona Ice Shaved Ice Truck.
Fresh hot malasadas will be served all night long, and the Kountry Kitchen will be open with all kinds of local treats, including pickled mango, baked breads, a Sweet Shoppe, fruits and vegetables and much more.
Keiki will enjoy the carnival booths with prizes, face painting and airbrush tattoos, jumpy castles and a big slide. An all-new Braid Bar will give youngsters cool braids and hair feathers.
Adopt-a-Pet is a new activity where keiki can adopt a stuffed animal, decorate its house and accessories, participate in pet care activities and visit with the Maui Humane Society.
The Novelty Store and Magic Ink are keiki favorites, along with fun carnival inflatables.
The Preschool Play Zone, an area for the little ones, will feature an Animal Petting Farm, bouncy house and games just for them.
Fun activities for all ages include Maui Laser Tag, Maui Paint Ball and Maui Spider Jump. A mobile glow stick and toy vendor will provide a lot of Lahaina night fun.
Get your favorite West Maui "celebrities" wet at the new Dunk-a-Bucket booth. School principals, coaches, chefs and favorite members of the community will step forward for this fun reverse dunk tank. Check out Facebook for the lineup.
Adults can escape the crowd into the Wellness Room with a chiropractic adjustment and massage and visit other West Side wellness businesses.
Watch the entertainment from the Beer and Wine Garden sponsored by Kohola Brewery while sipping craft beer.
On Friday night, enjoy shopping with local craft vendors in front of the church and take home a beautiful plant from the plant sale.
Keiki performers will take the stage each night from 4 to 7 p.m., followed by headliners as it gets dark.
Radio emcees Mackie Mac and Kaena Brown, along with Deejays KCK and Big Mike, will keep the night moving.
Friday night headliners include the hula company Manutea Nui'E, 3 Pounds of Kalo, and HHB.
Saturday night will feature "Burn'n Love," Matagi, and Maoli.
See the Sacred Hearts School Bazaar Facebook page for times and details of headliners and keiki performers.
Admission to the event is free; scrips are available to purchase for food and games.